'Snow White and the Huntsman': Are Fake Little People Just Blackface?

People who’ve attended screenings of Snow White and the Huntsman have come away hideously disappointed. Once again, great trailer raised expectations way, way too high. (If this is going to happen with Prometheus, just kill me now and leave me at the side of the road.) But here’s a question: is it also racist?

The dwarves are completely cranky-little-people-by-the-number and feel lifted from the LOTR movies. I understand, sort of, that if you want to make this a realistic/fantasy film (that new genre) you can’t have a character named Sneezy. But on the other hand, I can’t get over that we’re watching Snow White and there’s not a character named Sneezy. You’ve got the best monikered buddy team in fairy tale history and if you’re going to throw that away, you better have something good to replace it with, which this film doesn’t…. The dwarves are all played by great actors, with Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins et al’s heads superimposed onto dwarvish bodies…. In the LOTR movies, it’s perfectly fair and fine to superimpose Andy Serkis’ head onto Golem’s body, because there aren’t a lot of golem SAG members out there, so that’s what you got to do. But as we know from TLC, there are in fact little people on this planet. Some of whom are seeking out careers as working actors. It’s always great to see Bob Hoskins in a film, but in the end how is having him play a little person through the magic of visual effects any different than having a white actor play an African-American part in blackface and take a part away from a black actor? They couldn’t even give one of the dwarf roles to an actual little person?