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Checkoslovakian version of Sleeping Beauty filmed in actual castles, starring genuine eastern Europeans wearing costumes that seem to be cobbled together from old Robin Hood and Three Musketeers movies. It really does look scrumptious in a fairy tale sort of way, even though the shiny silver crowns the king and queen occasionally wear look like they belong on Playmobil toys. Princess Rosa is born to great fanfare and brought to Queen Elizabeth's bitter elder sister Melanie. This witch still feels that she should have had first dibs on the King, and curses her niece to prick her finger on her seventeenth birthday, although Melanie's kindly old lady in waiting manages to lessen the curse somewhat. From that moment on the king sets out to remove every prickly instrument in the entire country, be it animal, mineral or vegetable. You know the drill.
Flash forward seventeen years later (give or take a fortnight) and the beautiful blond princess finds herself continually followed about the countryside by camouflaged protectors intend on destroying anything thorny she might come into contact with. The Royal couple have decided Rosa must wed and leave the country before her time is up, and so she is betrothed to Prince Georg of the kingdom of Mitternacht, though it is obvious to us and the music on the score the young girl prefers his younger brother, prince Jaroslav. The two blue-blooded youths bond at night as he blows a recorder in his room and the princess answers by plucking her mandolin. Butch Georg has pledged to fight a bear to prove his manliness, but in a rather hilarious scene, Jaroslav has his servants Mathias put on a bear outfit to fight his princely brother, while Rosa contributes a fake knife. After some more fun and games with the two princes, the princess makes it clear she does not want to marry the elder one on the very day he planned to announce their engagement.
When the faithful birthday finally arrives, wicked aunt Melanie reappears to lure pure innocent Rosa into her domain with a bunch of roses (a sight she has been denied all her live). Of course she pricks her finger on a thorn (not a spinning wheel) and immediately she and everyone else in the castle and it's immediate vicinity falls asleep where they stand. One peasant manages to warns the royal family of Mitternacht, but still hurt by Rosa's rejection, Georg won't lift a finger and the King forbids Jaroslav to leave the castle. In fact, he's grounded by his Kingly dad. After escaping with the help of his faithful servant Mathias, Jaroslav has to brave many dangers in order get to his destination: no, not a dragon, you Disney lovers, this prince must learn to swim in order to cross a moat! Inside the castle grounds at last, our hero and his eternally hungry sidekick (hungry equals funny) stumble about a bit while Melanie sneaks around in the background. She can't do much more, as her name does not really have that evil undertone that Maleficent has. At first the love struck youth tries to wake his one true love with the mandolin (well he was playing their song) before he realizes the errors of his ways. So the castle court awakens (after what seems like only a couple of days, not a hundred years as the story goes) and nasty Melanie is chased by a pack of friendly dogs (see trivia). Well, let's just say even friendly dog don't like evil women. The Happy End.
8 out of 10
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