Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sleeping Beauty {1959}

{Animated Disney Film #16 of 53}

While I remember watching Sleeping Beauty as a kid, it's not one of those Disney movies that I watched over and over again. Instead, it's one that I think I came to appreciate more as I got older (except for one little thing...more on that later :).

Sleeping Beauty just has a really medieval, classic fairy tale feel about it. It's one of the few classic Disney movies that doesn't feel modern in any way to me. And I think it's meant to be that way. The music is adapted from Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty ballet (so it doesn't feel modern in the least), and the whole look of the film was inspired by medieval art.

For me, personally, Sleeping Beauty probably makes it into my top five favorite classic Disney films (I'm considering "classics" as those made between the 30s and the 70s). As far as the traditional fairy tale stories go, I like it more than Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but a little less than Cinderella.

Okay, my thoughts for this one are pretty random (as usual), so I'll just jump in. First of all, one of the most tragic moments in the whole movie is the scene where the king is burning all of the spinning wheels. As the owner of a spinning wheel myself, I was all, "No! Don't burn them!" :) Seriously, though, that seems like a really impractical thing to do. {You guys know I'm partial to any story involving spinning wheels or spindles or the like. And in honor of that aspect of this story, I was spinning yarn on my wheel while watching the movie. I usually knit while watching movies or TV, but I figured in this case spinning would be more appropriate...}

One of my favorite scenes is when the three fairies are preparing for Briar Rose/Aurora's birthday while she's out in the forest. I love watching them try to bake and sew without magic. It's hilarious! (I love how Fauna puts the frosting and candles on the cake before actually baking it.) It does make you wonder how they survived those sixteen years, though. Surely cooking or sewing skills were required at some point...

I think that Sleeping Beauty is one of the most gorgeous Disney movies. A perfect example of this is the whole Once Upon a Dream scene in the forest. The forest background, with the detailed trees and all of the unusual geometric shapes in the bushes (they look like trimmed topiary), the colors of everything...wow. It's so visually stunning. According to the DVD special features, that one scene took over a year to finish and cost the studio over $10,000. (This movie in general was the most expensive one Disney had ever made at the time. And it wasn't actually that successful at the box office at first, so it was hard to cover all of the costs...the company had to lay off lots of artists the following year because of financial difficulties.)

Speaking of that scene, I really like Prince Philip's horse, Samson. I like to think that Samson paved the way for memorable horse characters in modern Disney movies. Like Maximus in Tangled and the Prince Hans' horse and Sven (technically a reindeer but he acts really similar to Maximus!) in Frozen. :)

And still speaking of that scene...this is my only issue with this movie. Prince Philip and Aurora "fall in love" way too fast. I know this is a fairy tale. It's an animated movie. It's not real life. But it still bugs me! :) At least Cinderella and her prince danced and talked for a couple of hours at the ball before deciding they loved each other. But these two...nope. They've known each other for approx. ten seconds, and then they're holding hands. Then they're standing against a tree, looking out over the kingdom, and the prince has got his arms wrapped around her. And he's all, "Who are you? What's your name?" Hello!! You should probably have found that out before! (Now that I think of it, doesn't it happen this quick in Snow White, too? I don't know. It just bothers me more in this movie for some reason.)

The scene where the curse is finally fulfilled is so creepy. I remember thinking that as a kid, and I still think so. :) The part when Aurora is left alone and Maleficent lures her into the fireplace-turned-passageway. And that eerie music is playing and Aurora's skin looks green. Ew.

(By the way, why exactly does Maleficent hate Aurora so much? She can't be that upset just because she wasn't invited to the birth celebration. Is she holding a grudge against the parents? Is she just so evil that she can't stand the sight of any happiness? I hope we'll find out more about this backstory in Disney's upcoming Maleficent film.)

This was the first time I had noticed how strong the good versus evil theme is in this movie. I mean, the good fairies give Prince Philip the Shield of Virtue and the Sword of Truth! And there's constantly talk of good triumphing over evil and true love conquering all.

As for the ending, the battle between the prince and Maleficent wasn't nearly as long and epic as it seemed to be when I was little...but I still enjoy it. :) I just love the part where the thorns grow up around the castle and when Maleficent transforms into a dragon.

I really do love Sleeping Beauty. It's a gorgeous movie with a uniquely old-fashioned look about it, compared to most Disney classics. I would love it even more if I could suspend my disbelief at the whole "love at first sight" part. Ha. :) And I'm really, really excited about the film Maleficent coming out later this year! Have you guys heard the super-creepy version of Once Upon a Dream from the film trailer? I usually don't like it when modern singers attempt classic Disney songs, but this is amazing.

Up next on the list is 101 Dalmatians and the infamous Cruella De Vil!

How about you? Do you like Sleeping Beauty? Are you excited for Maleficent?


  1. I love this movie! For some reason the love-at-first sight never bothered me in this one...it's pretty much the only movie that can get away with that :) Maybe because I just love the Once Upon a Dream sequence so much...

    The fairies always crack me up- probably because they remind me of my mom, sister and I. I'm definitely Fauna and my sister is totally Merriweather, heehee. :)

    1. Merriweather is probably my favorite fairy! :) I love how she's so no-nonsense and honest.

  2. I love reading your posts about classic Disney movies!

    I haven't seen this one in years. I watched it a lot when I was little, but I was never as fond of it as I was of, say, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. But I'd love to watch it again now, and see what I think of it. Especially as Maleficent is coming out soon.

    You say you love stories involving spinning wheels? Have you read "East" by Edith Pattou? It's a fairytale retelling (of East of the Sun, West of the Moon) and involves a spinning wheel. It's a really great book :)

    1. Thanks! :) I love writing them! Yes, I read East last year (I think?) and really, really enjoyed it.

  3. It's been eons since I watched this - or any Disney classic, though as you mention, I remember that scene with the fairies prepping for Aurora's birthday. It was cute as I recall. Nowadays I'm just too busy gushing over the newbies - Tangled, Frozen, etc. ;)

    Seeing the new Disney Maleficent movie though is high on my priority list. It looks quite magnificent so hopefully it'll live up to fans standards. Great review!

    1. I hope Maleficent will be amazing. :) The only thing I worry about is that there seems to be a battle scene in the trailer. And I'm a little sick of battle scenes in movies that don't need them! So I'm curious (and a little worried) to see how that works out...

  4. This film definitely grew on me as I got older too. And I adore Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather! They're the cause of the goofy smile that pops onto my face every single time I come across "tsp" in a recipe. :) I'm very curious to see what Disney does with Maleficent - I hope it's great! :)

    1. I love the "tsp" part, too. :) And I also hope Maleficent will be awesome!


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