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When I was a little girl, Sleeping Beauty was my all time favorite
Disney film. I was so in love with this story, it's crazy how many
times I wore out the VHS. But growing up, I lost touch with the story,
but I recently bought the DVD and re-watched the film and you know
what? I'm still in love with this movie. I really miss these old Disney
movies where the animation was so bright and beautiful, the characters
were so lovable, and the story was so magical. I'm not bashing Disney
films from today, just I'm sure we could all relate on this subject
where the older Disney films just had a certain charm about it.
Sleeping Beauty is just a timeless story and has so much wonderful
romance, I guess since I'm a girl, I just couldn't help but still be in
love with this beautiful story.
Princess Aurora is born and is the future queen of her land, three fairy's, Flora, Merryweather, and Fauna bless her with three gifts: beauty and song, right as Merryweather is about to bless Aurora, the evil witch, Maleficent, comes in and curses Aurora that she shall touch a spinning wheel by her 16th birthday and die! Merryweather changes it to where she won't die, but sleep and could only be woke up by the kiss of true love. The fairy's wish to keep this from happening still, so they take Aurora and raise her as their own. One day Aurora on her 16th birthday goes out in the forest and meets the charming and handsome Prince Phillipe, but she doesn't know he's a prince and she doesn't know he's fhe man she's actually betrothed too. She is told by the fairy's that she can never see him again and that she's a princess; later that night the curse happens! Now the fairy's need Phillipe to save Aurora before it's too late.
Everything about Sleeping Beauty is just a perfect Disney film and I can't wait until to show this to my future kids one day. I know that their generation is going to have just the CGI animation, so it's good that at least we still have these films, they're treasures. The voices, the animation, the story, Sleeping Beauty is the most romantic fairy tale that anyone could easily fall in love with. If you are a Disney fan, this is a must see, it's a great family film or if you're just a film buff in general, I'm a grown up and I still tear up when I watch Sleeping Beauty.
I grew up in the Disney era where "Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast,"
"Aladdin" and "The Lion King" reigned supreme among me and my elementary
school pals (and to this day, if you ask one of my peers what their favorite
Disney movie is, it's probably one of those or one of the Disney-Pixar
But one Disney film has always remained my utter favorite and that is, indeed, "Sleeping Beauty."
Like most children, I grew up watching Disney movies -- everything from animated films like "Snow White" to "Lady and the Tramp," the semi-animated like "Mary Poppins" and "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," and the non-animated such as "The Parent Trap" and "Old Yeller." But "Sleeping Beauty" remains my favorite animated movie and you'd better believe at seventeen years of age, I'm still watching it. I cannot believe how the animation has been knocked in some reviews -- it's beautiful! They captured the medieval period so well and even the people look like, well, people. The score is beautiful and the songs "I Wonder" and "Once Upon a Dream" are sung wonderfully by Mary Costa. What a voice! Aurora is by far one of the prettiest Disney princesses (one thing that initially drew me to the movie as a child), following the formula with those trademark doe-eyes that Disney bestows upon all of their princesses and heroines. Prince Phillip actually does more than just show up to sing a song and say one line, a welcome change that answers the age old question, "What does she see in him anyway?" The three fairies are delightful (I always wanted to be Fauna!) and funny. And of course, there's the quintessential villain -- Maleficent. She scared me when I was younger and when I view the film now, no wonder. (For the longest time, I was also scared of Eleanor Audley period, but she's truly a marvelous actress.) And when Phillip kills her -- yeah, you'd better believe that's some scary business.
The story is beautiful and funny, the animation is divine, the music ethereal, and the voice talents extraordinary. This is a personal favorite and it comes highly recommended!
...which is that it may have been designed more for an adult audience than a children's. At any rate it was way ahead of its time in 1959. "Sleeping Beauty" was one of the movies I watched as a child, and its grandness overwhelmed me even at the age of ten. I couldn't be happier to see it finally in the DVD format. But watch closely; you'll notice many subtle, sophisticated things which other viewers have touched on in earlier reviews. The animation is almost surreal-- so incredibly lifelike that it abandons its cute, 'Disneyesque' pretensions from previous fairy tales. There are no talking mice, dogs or cats anywhere to be seen. Here the animals are silent, as animals are supposed to be. (I love the sequence with the forest animals as they are awakened by the singing of the barefoot princess and join up with her, like multiple chaperons, in harmonious whistles.) Even the fairy godmothers- who may initially appear as sugary stereotypes- spend so much time bickering (well, two of them do anyway) that you get to identify them as thoroughly fleshed out personalities. The adaptation of the original Perrault fairy tale is also impressive. An ingenious move was to have the prince and princess meet in the forest *first* and fall in love- unaware that they are already engaged to be married. Someone mentioned the chilling sequence which shows the princess, cloaked in an eerie green pallor, actually being lured to the fateful spinning wheel. So dark, so frightening- when was the last time you saw something like this in a Disney fairy tale? And then immediately afterwords is a cleansing sequence of unmatched beauty showing the fairies sailing through the sky like fireflies, magically dusting the rest of the castle to sleep. It is, of course, only matched by the film's finale which shows storm clouds, lightning, a forest of thorns, and a flame-spewing dragon-- all seamlessly bringing the story to a 75-minute conclusion. It stands, in my opinion, as Disney's masterpiece.
In its scale, beauty, and dramatic power, Sleeping Beauty stands as (I think at least) the pinnacle of Disney's animated features. While in terms of cultural significance, it holds a second tiara to Snow White and Fantasia, it is set apart by its richly detailed, groundbreaking expressionistic design. The Disney animators had decidedly moved away from the European storybook feel of its 30's and 40's triumphs with Alice in Wonderland (1951) and Lady and the Tramp (1955), yet it was Sleeping Beauty that was the most radical departure. With its $6 million budget, the film has an epic sweep and scope never before achieved in animation. From the crowds of celebrators in the beginning to the tremendous size of King Richard's throne room, it achieves a tremendous feel of space and depth pioneered by the multi-plane work in Snow White and Fantasia. The film shows many other applications of the lessoned learned from the great experiment of Fantasia, particularly the remarkable scene of the three fairies bestowing their gifts on the infant princess. The camera pans up and off into dreamy, surreal vignettes slightly reminiscent of Fantasia's "Toccata in Fugue" segment. Its one of animation's finest moments. Yet what surely is the most memorable element of this film in the eyes of many viewers is its villain, the Marc Davis creation, Maleficent. Voiced by longtime Disney staple Eleanor Audley, she is easily Disney's most overtly evil villain. Davis' brilliant streamlined design exudes of an infernal elegance (complete with demonic horns). She carries a royal nobility that only adds to her ambiguous, sinister nature as well as to her dramatic presence. She slanders and cackles and proclaims her evil decrees with such bile and disgust it's almost overwhelming. In the final conflict between Prince Phillip, she cries out in utter fury, "Now shall you deal with me, o prince, and all the powers of hell!" Lightning cracks, smoke gathers and Maleficent rises, now changed into a fire-breathing dragon. It is one of Disney's most daring moments and very well one of its finest. Sleeping Beauty is a masterpiece, a tremendous artistic triumph from one of Hollywood's most successful and prolific studios. Its artistry, dramatic power, and compelling performances stand it along side the great American films of the decade, which is a fact not stated often enough.
"Sleeping Beauty" was envisioned by the great Walt Disney as his
masterpiece--the feature-length cartoon par excellence. And, in many
ways, it is. The then-record budget (six million dollars) was the
largest ever for an animated motion picture. The widescreen Technirama
70 process had never been used for an animated feature. The six-track
magnetic stereo sound was a step upward from the "Fantasound" system
employed in "Fantasia" (1940). Also new and trend-setting was the style
of the animation--a more realistic, geometric design which,
surprisingly left many critics and audiences cold. The extra expense
needed to showcase the widescreen film properly, together with the
lukewarm reviews, prevented "Sleeping Beauty" from turning a profit at
the box office when it was released (with much fanfare) in 1959. But
time has been kind to the film, subsequent reissues have finally put it
in the profit margin, and both viewers and critics are appreciating it
for the beautiful fantasy it has always been. However, like it's
predecessor "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937) which was Disney's
first fairy tale, as well as his first full-length film, this screen
adaptation of "Sleeping Beauty" strays from it's origins. While the
Charles Perrault version of the tale is given as the source, there are
The original story is as follows: When a baby girl is born to a King and Queen, they invite seven (or, in the Grimm version, twelve) Fairies to the christening. Uninvited is an evil fairy, who shows up anyway, and curses the child with death on her 16th birthday. Although a good fairy is able to alter the spell, the princess is doomed to sleep (along with the court) for 100 years. Despite the precautions taken, the curse is fulfilled (accidentally, in most versions of the story) and the princess does indeed sleep for a century, after which a prince awakens her. Understandably, Disney's telling departs from Perrault here as well, because in Perrault's version, the King and Queen are the sole members of the court who do not succumb to the sleeping spell, and, eventually die of old age. The Disney version of the tale whittles the number of good fairies down to three, giving them the appearance and personalities of elderly women. Meanwhile, the evil fairy, dubbed Maleficent, is a cold, flamboyant villainess who, for better or worse, overshadows everyone else in the film (but then, the villain always does). Disney's retelling also dispenses with the Heroine's 100 year sleep which lasts merely one night. There is much emphasis put on the three fairies who secretly, in the guise of peasants, raise the baby princess Aurora, (whom they dub "Briar Rose" interestingly, the name given the Princess in the Grimm retelling) and, unwittingly make it possible for Maleficent to execute her curse. Also new, is the introduction at the beginning of the film of Prince Phillip, who is immediately betrothed to Aurora. The climatic battle he has with the evil fairy, here transformed into a dragon, has become one of the most memorable parts of the film, though it was purely the scriptwriter's invention. In the end, however, it is best to appreciate the film as a stand-alone creation, rather than a faithful adaptation of a classic story.
Indeed, as some latter-day critics have pointed out, "Sleeping Beauty" has been embraced by the young and old audiences who find in it many of the same sword and sorcery elements in films like "Legend" and "Excalibur". And every penny of it's then-unprecedented budget is on the screen. One marvels at the intricate design of the animation, all accomplished well before the advent of computers, which the Technirama screen showcases to full effect. The voice talent is perfect. Mary Costa, who went on to an estimable opera career, is a lovely and expressive Aurora, while Bill Shirley is an ingratiating Prince Phillip. Eleanor Audley (so deliciously cold as the stepmother in Disney's "Cinderella") is the embodiment of majestic evil as Maleficent. Verna Felton (the Fairy Godmother in Disney's "Cinderella"), Barbara Jo Allen and Barbara Luddy are the delightful (and all too human) fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. Aurora's father, King Stefan, is voiced by Taylor Holmes, with Bill Thompson as Phillip's father King Hubert. A word should also be said for Candy Candido, who provided the sounds made by Maleficent's goons. The Tchaykovsky ballet score provides both the background music and melodies used for the new songs. All this blends perfectly in an epic adventure/fantasy seldom experienced on screen, and one with enough heart to capture the most cynical viewer.
The Special Edition DVD, released in 2003, and currently out of print, is another example of what a "Special Edition" truly encompasses, including a fully restored widescreen print of the film, a new 5.1 stereo mix which fully showcases the Academy Award nominated score, as well as many bonus features with appeal to all ages (including a widescreen/fullscreen comparison which should be the last word on that subject). Also included are several complimentary historical shorts like the Academy Award winning "Grand Canyon" which accompanied "Sleeping Beauty" on it's initial release. Trailers, games, interviews with Mary Costa and surviving animators, vintage featurettes which delve into the making of the film, and last, but not least, footage of Disney himself, complete the dazzling package. Finally awakened from her long slumber, and more refreshingly lovely than ever, "Sleeping Beauty" is a film (and DVD) for the ages.
Simplest possible explanation of what cements Sleeping Beauty's place
as an immortal classic: Maleficent.
Sleeping Beauty was never one of my favorite Disney movies, my parents having lost the tape really early. Since maybe ten years I haven't seen the movie, but now, after seeing it again, I have to admit, it's a masterpiece. I don't understand why it was so berated on first release. Where the critics expecting Snow White? 'Cause this is no Snow White. It's much better.
A long, long time ago, in a kingdom far, far away, King Stefan and the Queen have a daughter, Aurora, so-called because she brought sunshine to their lives. There is a great celebration, and the neighboring kingdom's Prince Phillip is betrothed to Aurora. The three Good Fairies, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, are invited. Flora and Fauna bestow gifts of beauty and song upon Aurora. Before Merryweather can cast her spell, the uninvited Maleficent--the Mistress of All Evil--arrives, furious at not being invited. She curses Aurora, predicting that at the age of sixteen the princess will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning-wheel and die. Merryweather counteracts this by making Aurora go into a deep sleep were she ever to prick her finger, to be reawakened by true love's first kiss. To keep her safe, the fairies take her into the forest, no longer using magic, and calling Aurora Briar Rose. The princess knows nothing of her heritage, and meets no other humans, except for a man "Once Upon A Dream".
One of the greatest things about the movie is the style. The contrast between characters and surroundings (except for Maleficent) is stark. The backgrounds and layouts are colorful, stylized, round and angular at the same time. The characters, however, aim for total realism, except for the minor ones, who are clearly cartoon characters. The animation is beautiful. The movements smooth, the artistry unbelievably high quality. If there was no other likable thing about the movie, the animation would go a long way to saving it.
The story of Sleeping Beauty is, of course, set in stone. Despite everyone's complete familiarity with the fairy tale, the movie manages to enliven it and make it gripping, even though everyone has heard it a thousand times. A most definite improvement in the story is the scene in which Aurora pricks her finger. In the original the spinning-wheel was owned by an innocent old peasant, who just happened to own the last wheel in the land, unnoticed by the rest of the world. In the movie Maleficent hypnotizes Aurora, and commands her to prick her finger. In addition to the atmosphere of foreboding already present in the story, the movie adds genuine suspense, largely owing to the brilliant presence of the wicked fairy.
The characterization is very different from other Disney movies in some ways, but very like others. Usually in Disney's princess movies, the princess herself is something of a cypher, a passive element. This is true for Sleeping Beauty (she has no control over the three basic actions in the movie). The prince usually has an even more minute part, although the story would be nothing without him. Not so this movie. Here Phillip is a much more active character, a hero who battles dragons and witches, who goes through all sorts of hazards. In Snow White all the unnamed prince does is show up and kiss our heroine, in Cinderella Charming risks nothing and is nothing but a prop. But the ultimate character is, of course, Maleficent. Supervised by Disney's women's animator-in-chief, Marc Davis, hers has to be one of the great performances in animation. She is brilliantly drawn, amazingly voiced, and the dragon she transforms into is not just a dragon: it is HER particular dragon (a method taken to greater lengths in The Sword in the Stone). She is magnificent. The three fairies are quarrelsome all right, but they are caricatures that convey particularly clearly their good-naturalness.
Sleeping Beauty is one of those irreplaceable masterpieces. It is a magnificent retelling of a classic fairy tale, with no undue distortion of the source material. Come to think of it, the story EXISTS to be made into a movie; it's just perfect. And near-perfection is what Disney achieved.
When 'Sleeping Beauty' was first released it was the target of critical villification--perhaps because of the more stylized art work. The art work is actually a leap forward from 'Snow White' and the earlier classics. It took me awhile to get used to the new technique when I first viewed the film--but now I recognize how effectively it manages to convey the "feel" of a genuine fairy-tale. A nice discussion of the art work is featured in 'The Making of Sleeping Beauty' which accompanies the latest VHS release of the film. Aside from the richly textured backgrounds and brilliant animation, 'Beauty' is blessed with the rapturous singing voice of Mary Costa's light soprano doing full justice to the ballad, 'Once Upon A Dream'. The idea of using Tchaikovsky's 'Sleeping Beauty' music for the background score and songs was an excellent decision. This is a film that can be enjoyed on so many different levels--music, animation, story, art work--it ranks with the very best of the classic fairy-tales from Disney. And yes, Maleficent, in all of her wicked glory, makes the most impressive fire-breathing dragon you're ever likely to see!
This Disney cartoon feature has the familiar-princess-in-distress theme of a lovely girl, kind fairies, a handsome prince, forbidding castles and an evil witch. A perceived slight by a king and queen enrages a sorceress who casts an evil spell on the child that will take effect on her sixteenth birthday. Only her prince charming's kiss can save the girl from an unhappy fate and the frightening Maleficent stops at nothing to locate the princess in order to bring her prophecy to fruition. There are several pitched battles between the prince and the fairies against the forces of evil that accelerates into an exciting combat at the finish. The picture is bathed in beautiful color and the music of Tchaikowsky's ballet serves as a wonderful musical accompaniment.
Quick......what was "Sleeping Beauty's" name? Answer: Either "Princess
Aurora" or "Rose," depending on where she was.
Most of you probably know that but I didn't, probably because I hadn't watched this movie since it came out about a half century ago! I was a little kid, and never did see this again on TV or VHS. I only saw it again because several high-definition DVD websites said this looked spectacular on Blu-Ray.
How right they were; this looks incredible! I cannot believe how fantastic the artwork is, and sharp the picture comes through on this restored high-def disc. The colors and the amount of details in all the art are astounding. Many of the scenes had my jaw dropping in admiration. The story, frankly, is not anything that great for a man my age but the visuals are so fantastic that I enjoyed the experience.
I also appreciated the 2.55:1 widescreen picture. If you've only seen this on formatted-to-TV 4:3, and love the movie, you owe it to yourself to see this version. You won't believe how good this 1959 film looks.
"Sleeping Beauty" is definitely a classic among the Disney animated features. It bears the distinction of being the first to be shot in 70mm widescreen format. The score borrows much from Tchaikovsky's classic ballet based on the Brothers Grimm tale. The art is beautiful, being inspired by medieval art. And the characters are delightful, particularly the three Good Fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. Malificient makes for a wonderful villainess, with awesome magical powers. Even those who would not call this Disney's best animated feature should agree that it harkens back to the famed studio's golden age. It's a classic that all ages can treasure!
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