Sleeping Beauty

The initial plan was to review both the princess and the movie, but now I’m three movies behind… Let’s start catching up with the most recent watch. In Sleeping Beauty the evil fairy is upset about not getting invited to Princess Aurora’s birthday party, so she curses her to prick her finger on a spindle of a spinning wheel and die. The good fairies change the spell from death to sleep, and take the baby princess away from the palace to be safe. Aurora grows up, and unsurprisingly pricks her finger despite all the precautions. Luckily she has a prince for a boyfriend, who can break the spell with a love’s first kiss.

Review contains spoilers in case you somehow don’t know what happens in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Screen shots from Disney Wiki and Google.

sleepignBeautyThatsBecauseItsOnYouDear

When I first saw this a few years ago, I expected the titular princess to be the heroine. Then I waited for the whole movie for her to do something interesting, but that never happened, so in the end I was left with a passive damsel and I missed everything else about the movie. After the disastrous first viewing I promptly put the film at the bottom of my Disney movies top list, even under Dinosaur, Chicken Little and Brother Bear, because the uselessness of Aurora really annoyed me and I felt betrayed by the advertising which had presented Aurora as the lead.

My expectations for the second viewing were not high, but this time I was prepared. Since I knew from the start to treat Aurora as a walking prop I was able to pay more attention to the other characters, which turned out to be surprisingly fun. In the end I even enjoyed some parts of the movie, but the most prominent feeling was still general boredom. But I guess that’s still a step up from infernal hatred.

I already ranted over 2000 words about Aurora, so let’s just say that her performance didn’t impress me. The fairy godmothers, on the other hand, were great. They were hearwarmingly fussy old ladies, and they had great dialogue. Their total inability to understand Aurora at times was also pretty funny in a twisted way. If the fairies are supposed to be the main characters and not Aurora, that’s some serious Girl Power in this movie! They initiate all the actions at the good guys’ part, they’re the ones to think of and carry out the plan to protect Aurora, and even in the prince’s final battle against the evil sorceress they do almost all the work, the prince just swings the sword (given by the fairies) a few times.

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The villain was great as well. Great design, great animation, great voice acting, great personality, and so on. She really had the control of the situation, and she knew it. She also had a deliciously simple motivation, we have so many power hungry jerks that something as dumb as being offended at getting snubbed from a baby’s party is at least different.

One bothersome thing was the ongoing stupidity on the good guy’s part. The fairies reveal their location by starting to use their magic just on the last day before the timeline for the curse was over, and then they make the brilliant decision to leave Aurora alone. Shouldn’t they have been extra cautious since it was the day when the curse could come true? And why was it absolutely necessary to get Aurora back to the castle on that day rather than keeping her safe and hidden for one more day, and postpone the big welcoming party by one day? I guess it can be explained by the curse, so that whatever they were planning was doomed to fail, but it’s still jarring to watch their stupidity.

The film had great art, the backgrounds were amazing. The film really managed to give a true fairytale vibe. I also really liked how the folds in the long flowy clothes were drawn. The music side on the other hand didn’t exactly convince me; I can’t remember any of the background music, and the songs were pretty jarring and old-fashioned.

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Overall the film had many surprisingly good points, but unfortunately the bad ones were bad enough to seriously harm the viewing experience. Whenever the focus was only on the fairies I had fun, but any time they talked too much about Aurora, or when they were absent, or Prince Boring was on screen were dreadfully boring and I kept checking the clock.

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One Response to “Sleeping Beauty”

  1. Sara Says:

    I almost entirely agree with you on your review. One thing I have to point out is that (in my opinion) you’re underestimating the score. It is one of the best ones out there and it’s based on the legendary ballet “Sleeping Beauty” by Tsaikovski. Especially in the battle scene and the magical house scene you can hear it really well.
    I know you’re more of an artist and wouldn’t probably pay attention to something like that but I just wanted to point out that I disagree of your opinion. About the songs though… Yeah, they are pretty boring.

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