It’s time for another one of Disney’s big classic films. Sleeping Beauty may not have the same legacy that other titles like Cinerella and Snow White have achieved, but it’s still fairly big so it’s about time that I reviewed it. It’s a decent film considering its style, but it didn’t do any wonders for me. It’s a pleasant film to watch, but you start to wonder how a Shonen version of this film would play out.
The film starts out with a happy celebration as the King and Queen realize that Aurora is going to rule over the Kingdom. They invite three little fairies to come and present Aurora with magical gifts. One of them gives her beauty and another one gives her the ability to sing. The third one is about to give out another great gift when Maleficent breaks in and curses Aurora. The girl shall die when she pricks her finger on a spindle. This seems to be inevitable, but the fairies wish to stop this. Will they be able to alter destiny or has the evils sorceress really won!?
The film isn’t very long so by the time the sequence is done, you can divide the rest of the film into two parts. Pre Aurora slumber and Post Aurora slumber. The fairies have a decent plan when they decide to hide Aurora in the forest, but you also don’t see it working for very long since it’s hard to hide one’s magical presence. Aurora grows up oblivious to her fate and she has to spend her days in solitude with the fairies. Things get complicated when a prince steps into the picture.
This film has a rather classic romance, which works better than the kind that we get nowadays. The Prince isn’t rude or trying to rush the romance and the heroine helps to take things slowly, but it’s still rather unnecessary. The story of Sleeping Beauty would be much more exciting and breath taking if they had decided to just be friends and then they have to team up to beat the curse. Does that not sound exciting!? Still, the romance wasn’t very bad and it’s not played up as much as you may think considering that this is one of the classic Disney princess stories. The film’s length helps to an extent as well.
Aurora is a decent protagonist, but I can’t say that she was an exceptional one. She’s fairly polite and she listens to the fairy’s advice not to just go off with a strange man, but she does listen to the tug of romance enough to tell the Prince where she lives. Also, she does start to grumble about being treated as a child since she can’t meet anyone, but she should just be happy that she has such a comfortable life. I didn’t really think that there was anything to be upset about. Her strength of will was a little weak since she couldn’t snap the mind control, but I suppose that the rest of the characters wouldn’t have fared much better.
The Prince (He does have a real name by the way) is basically your average prince. He doesn’t have any real character development to speak of. He’s a hero who likes the main heroine and decides that he won’t go through the pre arranged marriage since it’s not true love. He’s a fearless leader who is also a good fighter and he basically has no negatives. He’s no match for the goblins though so you may start to doubt the hype during some of the scenes, but he always means well. The only thing that you can really use against him is that he seems to be a very shallow individual as far as looks are concerned since he falls for Aurora instantly. Some could argue that it was the singing voice, but it’s debatable. Either way, I think the whole love at first sight thing was used way too much in the old films.
The animation is pretty classic and it holds up well. It’s a little too dated to look very flashy and intense like you might see in modern anime films, but I’ll easily take it over some of the animated films that we’ve been getting recently. (The CG-I film about the Boxcar Trolls comes to mind) If there are any animation errors, I didn’t notice any and that’s the important part. We also had more action than the typical, retro Disney film so that helped the animation to show its mettle.
The soundtrack is more on the unremarkable side. There aren’t any memorable tunes as it’s all classical piano and violin music. So, the danger theme is fairly predictable as well as the violin strums when the villain appears and so on. Back then, it felt like a lot of the films had the same soundtrack and that very well may have been the case. Music simply wasn’t as unique back then.
Maleficent is the main villain and I’m sure that we are all aware of the new film that she has gotten. Her minions are pretty bad, which is sad for her, but she makes for a pretty good villain. She can actually fight, which is a plus and she is feared across the kingdom. Her true form is fairly powerful and I’m a sucker for a good energy blast. She is probably the best Disney villain from the old days and it’s not a stretch to say that she is better than Aurora and the Prince. Best character? I would say so!
The three fairies weren’t my favorite characters since they talk a great game, but they can never back it up. Fauna and Flora are particularly annoying at times as they are completely terrified of Malificent and they try to do things the hard way. Working without using their powers is simply not the best way to go. I thought that Merryweather was easily the best member of the trio. She actually fought back against Maleficent’s forces and she was the first one to decide that using their wands would be the right move. She also lets her feelings run wild a little more than the others so you’ll see her back up as she talks about how she’ll beat up Maleficent. (It reminds me of my dog as he strikes fear into burglars from afar!) Merryweather is also the only character who stands up to Flora as she decides that blue is the right color and she sticks to that theory throughout the whole film. It was good to see her secure many of the wins.
The two Kings are mostly pretty sad since they did the whole “arranged marriage” decision. It’s never in a person’s best interest to be a part of such an old fashioned tradition and the Kings should know better. I do think that the fat King was better than the skinny King because he could actually fight. He really intimidated the other King and he wasn’t about to back down. The fish battle is something that you’re not going to forget anytime soon.
Overall, Sleeping Beauty is a decent film, but it’s not really my style. It’s sort of like Frozen, but without the action and less developed characters. The film is barely over an hour, which certainly contributes to this problem. A little more action may have helped to raise this film to a six, but I didn’t feel like it earned that last point. It was close to be sure, but it just needed another good character or fight to help it rise up. There aren’t a whole lot of negatives and the brief romance is really the only thing that would drag it down….or is there another negative? There actually is when you consider the fate of the evil bird. It wasn’t a very nice thing for Merryweather to have done and I thought that they could only use magic that helps people? I guess that was just more fake hype because an energy blast doesn’t fall into that category. The film didn’t really need that bit of animal violence although I was okay with the final battle because they didn’t go the generic “Off with its head” route that most films decide to do nowadays. A center stab is perfectly legitimate and it’s easier to watch. If you want to see a classic romance story with a nice princess and a dashing prince, then this is definitely your scene. If you want something like that, but with a little action..check out Frozen! (Although I’m sure that you already let it go after watching it a few times by this point)