Sleeping Beauty - Disney Films Project
I bet you thought we forgot all about our Disney Films Project, but it's been in the back of our minds for quite some time. We may have gotten distracted by Star Wars, the holidays, schoolwork, and other such things...but we are still devoted to seeing this project through to the end!
I've always enjoyed this movie and I remember seeing it as a young child so I have some nostalgia associated it with it. When I viewed it for this project, I was amazed at how beautiful the film really is. When I mentioned that to Alex, he informed me that this is widely considered to be one of the great masterpieces of all animation and that is was so expensive to make that it nearly bankrupted the studio. Perhaps it was because we have a nice big screen to watch the most restored and up to date copy of this film on, but it was just incredible. The story is not the strong point of this film, the artwork is. That said, I do still like the story even though it's basic. Aurora is not my favorite princess as her character isn't developed much, but I've always loved the fairies, especially the "rebel" Merriweather.
I debated between giving this 8 or 9 Mickeys (out of 10) but I feel like I must award 9 for the sheer beauty of this film.
Second opinion with Alex
First, this movie gets an A for ART, because there's so much of it being shown off. From the quaint woodland cottage, to the imposing rock of Maleficent's castle, the film feels like it should be it's own exhibition. And all of this from a student of Mary Blair, one Eyvind Earle, who impressed Walt with his ideas and style.
Aurora seems flat. That is, the princess. Briar Rose does not seem flat, and in fact seems to have moments of personality that we don't often catch. (Note that as the faeries send her out for berries, she gets this sly "What are you up to?" grin. Phillip also shows personality. The reason this isn't noted more?
Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather invest most of our attention, evoking more feelings of motherhood than the actual mother of the princess. In fact, watching the film and noting their musings on having to give her up soon really evokes the image of anyone who expects their young to fly the coop.
(Note: The dress is better in blue.)
Maleficent, on the other hand, evokes an evil that not only transcends the film, but also the entire rest of the Disney Villains. She effortlessly hypnotizes the princess, spawns an entire forest of thorns, and even transforms into a huge dragon! But it's not just that which makes her stand out.
She knows about the actions to counteract her spell. In fact, she even addresses Phillip with them, all while showing her meaning through visions.
Yes, she has the prince captive, but she intends to let him go. After many, many years, during which time he will be old, weak, and ready to die.
We don't see all of the vision, but I can only assume that Maleficent goes so far as to show the prince dying on his way to save the princess.
Now that's evil.
And she's not just doing this out of spite. She wants the prince to know exactly what she intends for him, and does so under the guise of delivering good news.
Which she is. She's just doing it in a way that ensures that it crushes him.
Between these personalities, it's easily explained why Aurora and Phillip seem so flat. The supporting characters are better than they have any right to be.But this works in the films favor, making it memorable.
I would give this the highest score possible, but I feel that this isn't the best constructed movie Disney has ever made. So I actually give this film 8 out of 10 Mickeys. Not perfect, but so close as to be notable in any library.
a note about Riley
If you've been reading along with all of our reviews, you will wonder where Riley's viewpoint is? She is departing to serve a church mission for 18 months so we are proceeding without her. Alex and I will be finishing this project together and continuing on with the review posts.