Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Sleeping Beauty (1959) - ★★★★½

Director: Clyde Geronimi
Writers: Charles Perrault (Story), Erdman Penner (Adaptation)
Voices by: Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Mary Costa, Bill Shirley, Barbara Luddy, Barbara Jo Allen

Sleeping Beauty is the first film on my Movie Blogathon list. I didn't think it possible, but I liked this movie better than I did as a child. Mainly because of how kick-ass the villain Maleficent (Eleanor Audley) is. Even today that woman's voice gives me chills! Anyway... I really loved this movie. The songs, the animation, the story, the characters, everything gets to me. It stirs so many feelings, so many memories, I think nostalgia is one of the best things about this movie. Looking at this from an outsiders point of view, I'd still call it a near-perfect film. The animation may not live up to today's standards, but I still prefer it to most Disney movies post 1970.

The story is as follows - A kingdom is celebrating the birth of Princess Aurora. Three fairies bestow upon her the gifts of beauty and song. Then: BAM! Maleficent crashes the party like a wicked bitch. She's offended at not receiving an invite, so she curses Aurora: on her sixteenth birthday she will touch a... um.. what do you call these things... a sewing spinning wheel? Oh well that'll do. Yes, she will touch a sewing spinning wheel and die. DAH DAH DUM! So to counteract this heinous curse, the third fairy bestows upon her a weaker counter-spell: IF she indeed touches this sewing wheel, it will make her sleep until her true loves first kiss. To protect Aurora, the three fairies stop using magic and raise the girl in a cottage somewhere in the woods. BUT DID THEIR PLAN WORK??? You'll have to wait and see!

Just Maleficent being a cold hearted bitch.
I'm just gonna skip right to the point: Maleficent is one bad ass villain! I still have to revisit the other Disney movies, but man will she be hard to beat! The animation itself is terrifying, with big yellow eyes and a tall, demon like shaped body and head. As of right now, she's my favorite Disney villain of all time. She's just pure evil, I love it! Not to mention, the music that plays when she's around still gives me goosebumps.

You know what else I love about this movie? I know you I walked with you once upoooon a dreeeam! I know every word to that darn song! It's so darn catchy! Even though there aren't as many brilliant songs in this movie as there usually are in Disney movies, Once Upon a Dream is up there with the very best. I still laugh and grin like an idiot when she's dancing with the woodland animals.

Shake that thang Aurora! You go gurl!
Maleficent may be my favorite character in the film, but Merryweather the blue fairy isn't far behind. She's big, she's sassy and she provides many of the laughs in the film. I love seeing the fairies perform their magic, which looks absolutely stunning. I really do miss the way they used to animate their movies, with beautiful paintings and hand drawn images. Even though computer animation looks good, it will never compare to the beauty of the old days.

If there's one drawback to the film, it would be this... I wasn't a huge fan of the banter between the two kings. I'm nitpicking I know, but I have to be tough when it comes to Disney movies. I want my marathon to be meticulous and unbiased, so there you have it. This movie loses half a star because the banter between the kings just wasn't necessary. It didn't really have an impact on the film, so it wasn't bad, but it wasn't needed. Hmm... what else can I nitpick? Well, Princess Aurora didn't have much of a personality. I mean, she's only 16 and she sleeps for half the movie so that's to be expected. As beautiful and awesome as she is, she isn't as memorable as Cinderella or Bell from Beauty and the Beast.

This Dragon nearly made me wet myself when I was five.
Nitpicking aside, I think everything else is perfect. It's an old, beautiful fairytale that is adapted almost perfectly to screen here. While other Disney films won't be as impressive to me as an adult, my opinion has only gotten better on Sleeping Beauty. I loved, loved, loved this movie! And I honestly would rank it up there as one of Disney's best!

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