Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sleeping Beauty (1959)



“In a faraway land, long ago, there lived a King and his fair Queen. Many years they had longed for a child, and finally their wish was granted. A daughter was born, and they called her Aurora. Yes, they named her after the dawn, for she filled their lives with sunshine. Then a great holiday was proclaimed throughout the land, so that all of high or low estate could pay homage to the infant Princess. And our story begins on that most joyful day...”

            My first review of a Disney animated movie! I have debated over the years whether to review Disney movies but I finally broke down because who does not love Disney movies? Unless you have no soul or were majorly deprived as a child you will have grown up watching all the classic Disney movies. One of my all-time favorite Disney movies is Sleeping Beauty. I have always loved it but watching it tonight by myself on quite a large TV I realized just how truly brilliant and beautiful Sleeping Beauty is.
            For those of you that may be unfamiliar with the story of Sleeping Beauty it begins with the birth of Princess Aurora to King Stefan and his queen. The kingdom rejoices in happiness at the princess’s arrival. Stefan and the queen hold a great gathering for the people of their kingdom to celebrate Aurora’s birth. One of the invitees is King Hubert and his son Prince Phillip. Hubert and Stefan have already made an agreement that Phillip and Aurora will marry each other someday to unite the kingdoms.
            There good fairies Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather make a grand entrance to the celebration. Flora grants Aurora the gift of beauty and Fauna grants the gift of song. Before Merriweather can grant her gift the evil Maleficent makes an unwelcomed entrance. Annoyed that she was not invited to the gathering she puts a curse on Aurora that when she turns sixteen she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die. After the curse has been placed Maleficent disappears. Since Merriweather had yet to grant her gift she bestows that should Aurora prick her finger she will just sleep until she is awaken by true love’s first kiss.
            As an extra precaution Stefan and the queen agree to the fairies raising Aurora as Briar Rose in the woods until she is sixteen and also burn all the spinning wheels in the kingdom.
            Sixteen years pass and Rose is a beautiful young woman. Like most Disney princesses she yearns for something more in life. She has not been able to speak to anyone is she was to come across them for fear of being found out and Maleficent being informed. While in the forest one day she meets a handsome young man. The young man is Prince Phillip. Of course they fall in love and want to be together.
            As Rose is out in the forest the fairies try desperately to create a dress and a birthday cake for her. Without their magic nothing turns out right. Flora agrees to shut the windows and doors and use their magic. She gets into a little scuffle with Merriweather about the color of the dress. As they fight over the colors, the colors from their winds escape out the fireplace. For the past sixteen years Maleficent has also been looking for Aurora. Her sidekick bird finds the house in the woods with the colors escaping.
            When Rose returns she is told that she is to be brought back to her parents and set to marry someone. Obviously she does not know that she is to be married to Phillip. Distraught the fairies return Aurora to her castle home. Before she can see her parents again Aurora is lured away by Maleficent and pricks her finger on a spinning wheel. As per Merriweather’s gift Rose just falls asleep. The fairies figure out that Phillip is Aurora’s true love. He has unfortunately been captured by Maleficent. Of course the fairies rescue him and he defeats Maleficent.
            And like all Disney movies the prince and princess live happily ever after.
            There is not one thing about Sleeping Beauty I do not like. Everything about it is so beautiful and perfect. The music score and the songs are brilliant. Maleficent’s motif is one of the most perfect character motifs. It is so perfect because it is haunting and jarring. Once Upon a Dream may be one of my favorite songs from a Disney movie ever. From having watched this movie over the years I never really took notice of the animation. All the characters are so well made. For some reason I took notice of how the characters moved against the very still backgrounds and that contrast was very interesting to me. The colors in the movie also captured my interest. A lot of them were electric colors such as blue and pink and red. They were so vivid the colors in much of the clothes and the décor.
         I think one of the reasons why I fell in love with Sleeping Beauty all over again like I did is because of all the computer animated movies coming out today. From what I can see it seems that hand drawn animation in major Disney movies either does not exist or it does in a small capacity. I was blown away by the talent needed to create every detail in Sleeping Beauty and it was all done by several hands. 

            If you have never seen Sleeping Beauty what on earth are you waiting for?! If you have seen Sleeping Beauty I can only hope you love it as much as I do and that it brings fond memories of watching it when you were a kid as it does for me.