#16 Sleeping Beauty

#16 Sleeping Beauty

The one in which no one can execute a plan properly

Well, we’ve reached the end of the 50’s. They went by so quickly! This week I cover Sleeping Beauty, a classic and one of my favorites from when I was a kid. The film tells the story of Princess Aurora, who is cursed as a baby by the powerful Maleficent to prick her finger on the needle of a spinning wheel and sleep forever.

Walt actually started planning Sleeping Beauty in 1950 and after the great success of Cinderella, production officially began. The team was able to use ideas they had passed on for both Snow White (the scene of the prince being captured) and Cinderella (the dancing on the cloud sequence). The story took a few rewrites to become what it is today, and one iteration included a heavy focus on Aurora and Phillip’s love story (there was a treasure hunt involved?) but they decided to move on from that idea as it was too long and took attention away from the central problem. In 1953, production was further delayed after the director unfortunately suffered a heart attack and one of the other animators took over. With the growing number of projects the studio was involved in, Walt was not as active in Sleeping Beauty’s production, leading to further delays.

Walt wanted the movie to look more like a painting than a kids film, and so production designer Eyvind Earle designed the backgrounds to look like medieval art. The effect is astounding and makes Sleeping Beauty one of the most gorgeously animated Disney movies ever. The music of the film was adapted from the ballet by Tchaikovsky and the score was nominated for an Oscar. Prince Phillip is the first Disney prince to have a name and he was actually named after the real Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen of England’s husband!

Sleeping Beauty is the last movie based on a fairy tale and the last one centered around a princess until 1989’s The Little Mermaid. I was very surprised to learn that this was because of Sleeping Beauty’s performance at the box office. The film was the most expensive Disney movie to make up to that point and it did not recoup the production cost at the box office. Reviews were mixed, with slow pacing, lack of character development, and low amount of humor all being things critics weren’t fond of. However, like Alice and Peter Pan before it, Sleeping Beauty has grown from it’s initial reactions and has long since been considered a beloved classic and one of Disney’s best. It has even been preserved in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Sleeping Beauty is featured an extensive amount in Disney parks, the most notable instance being Sleeping Beauty’s castle as the icon in the Anaheim, Paris, and Hong Kong parks. Even though Disneyland opened years before the film hit theaters, the castle was dubbed Sleeping Beauty’s in an effort to promote the movie. Unlike Cinderella’s castle in Orlando, Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Anaheim has a walk-through element where you can view scenes from the film in diorama form. Aurora is often around the parks for meet and greets and she and Phillip appear in many of the parades and shows. Maleficent is a staple in anything villain’s related, and is a main antagonist in the Fantasmic show. There have been two live-action Maleficent films, depicting the events of the original from Maleficent’s perspective.

Throughout my notes I’ll be highlighting all the ways in which these characters make and execute God AWFUL plans. This is all in good fun (as are all my jokes and critiques about these movies); I know that villains need to have their plans fail and sidekicks gotta be quirky and silly. But one thing that made me laugh throughout this movie is just how both heroes and villains consistently make dumb decisions that go against themselves. I don’t know what would be more shocking: if Aurora lives or dies because both sides can’t get it together.

All that being said, I’m excited to watch! Join me as I go to once upon a dream.

My thoughts on Sleeping Beauty:

  • Yay another princess movie!
  • Aurora has the prettiest name of all the princesses
  • “they named her after the dawn for she filled their lives with sunshine” awwww
  • Man I want a parade in my honor
  • They have these kids betrothed YOUNG
  • Hahaha Phillip’s face at baby Aurora – very childlike
  • Gift of beauty? Pretty vain imho 
  • If she didn’t get that gift…are they implying she wouldn’t be beautiful? Like did her DNA makeup just get altered?
  • Was that on the registry?
  • Gift of song-slightly more useful than beauty
  • At least with that she can go on The Voice or AGT or Idol
  • Dun dun duuuunnnnn
  • Here she come
  • Entering in a flash of green fire has got to be the BEST villain entrance
  • I wonder what Merryweather would have given Aurora
  • Woulda been a shame if it was like a puppy or iphone
  • Maleficent really is That B***h
  • I wonder how Maleficent found out about the baby shower. Did she set a Google alert?
  • I bet Flora put it on her Insta story and didn’t keep it for Close Friends – seems like the kinda thing she would do just to be petty
  • The Queen is nervous about Maleficent being offended and retaliating (which she obviously does) so why didn’t they just invite her in the first place? Yeah, I get she’s evil but if you know she’ll probably show up anyway, at least stay on her good side?
  • Mal puts an expiration date on an infant without hesitation, you gotta admire the gumption, she’s a truly evil villain and one of Disney’s most intimidating – Tremaine and the “Evil” Queen could never
  • Good thing Merryweather hadn’t given the gift yet!
  • But if she had, would they not have helped her and just let her die??Flora said they could give one gift only, but is saving the life of a child (the princess, heir to the kingdom’s throne) really a gift?
  • “Can we save her? Yes, but we already gave our gifts, it’s tacky to ask for more, let’s bounce ladies, it’s Bachelor night”
  • Why true loves kiss though?! Why take the risk that she hadn’t meant her true love?
  • Merryweather is constantly ready to throw hands and I respect it
  • So Maleficent will expect them to turn her into a FLOWER but not to just hide her out in the woods?
  • Flora is a dictator and not a very smart one
  • I feel really bad for Aurora’s parents and I don’t think we talk about their pain enough. Can you imagine your newborn, you’re only child, having to leave you for 16 years? We always talk about when Disney kids lose their parents but these people are giving up watching their only child grow up…this is really sad
  • They couldn’t visit her on weekends? I guess it would be to conspicuous
  • How does Maleficent know if Aurora has pricked her finger or not? Is there a Google alert for that too?
  • Why does she care enough to follow this one kid? Are there any other cursed babies for her to keep tabs on? Is she trying to keep her baby curse success rate at 100%?
  • So…again, they couldn’t find her as a human because they were only looking for a baby so wouldn’t she have not been found as a freaking FLOWER
  • And in sixteen whole years, Maleficent never ONCE yelled at them for not being able to find her sooner, leading them to mention the cradle thing?
  • Plan Fail: This is kind of on her for trusting those lackeys. You can’t complain about how foolish they are while also entrusting them with very important tasks with no supervision. You need to manage your team better Maleficent, maybe get HR involved
  • She tells her crow to look for a blonde 16 year old because THAT’S specific enough to get the job done
  • At this point, Mal, if you want the job done, you gotta do it yourself
  • I feel like it’s more suspicious to be hiding in the woods than it would have been if they had just hid her in town: she could have blended in with the other kids, her parents could have at least watched her grow up from afar, had the royal guards protecting the town
  • Also, Maleficent knows the fairies – they look exactly the same now just in more normal outfits and no wings, but they have the same faces and color scheme!
  • To reiterate the flower point, if Maleficent could figure out Aurora is a flower, she couldn’t figure out that the three women who look and dress similar to the 3 fairies she hates ARE the 3 fairies she hates?
  • Plan Fail: they send her out into the woods ALONE on the LAST DAY of the curse, the time when Maleficent will be the most out for blood, the day they should be keeping her most protected
  • They couldn’t make that dress any of the other 364 days before this?
  • Why is it her last chance to bake a cake? Even with magic she doesn’t have to use it
  • Wait-Fauna’s never cooked and Flora’s never sewn so how did they take care of this kid for 16 years with no magic????
  • Flora and Merryweather’s pink/blue debate gets old FAST just compromise on Purple

Cinematic Parallels
  • Forget about Maleficent, the fact that Aurora survived this long with the fairies is a miracle
  • Also, they were her only teachers, poor poor kid
  • Honestly instead of blonde girl Maleficent should have told the crow to look out for a girl with an abnormal singing voice, that WAS the second gift after all
  • I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the absolutely stunning background art in this movie, it’s so unique and different than any other Disney movie, it’s so lovely to just watch the animation
  • See Phillip found her through singing
  • Also, very convenient
  • Welcome Phillip, the first Disney prince with an actual personality!
  • Treat you like a child? Aurora, they’re letting you roam the woods
  • Aww I do feel bad for the kid, though, I mean not being able to interact with anyone other than those three fairies for 16 years is basically torture
  • Man I need to befriend animals to play wingmen for me
  • She’s so cute, just dancing around with her animal friends, Aurora is too pure for everything she suffers in this movie, and I include being raised by the fairies in that suffering
  • Dude you just grab onto someone and start singing wtf? You’re a prince weren’t you raised with manners??
  • Don’t shrug your shoulders, owl, you planned this!
  • If Phillip wasn’t handsome he would be another villain, chasing her through the woods
  • The dancing is pretty though…
  • Once Upon a Dream is a lovely tune, not much to the lyrics but the melody is pretty
  • “When will i see you again?” “never” HAHAHAHA mood
  • Oh she gave him her address that progressed
  • She went from you’ll see me “maybe someday” right to “stop by my place tonight”
  • You know what, after 3 months on lock-down, I get it
  • But why didn’t she yell out her name?
  • Now he’s gotta meet the moms!
  • HOW did they keep a baby alive without magic I ask again??
  • It is the last freaking day of the curse, they can’t throw her a party with a dress and a cake and a pony tomorrow in the palace?!
  • These idiots
  • Now look what you’ve done
  • I hate them lol
  • How convenient that the boy she fell “in love” with IS prince Phillip
  • omg casually dropping the “you’re betrothed to a prince” news as Aurora is all happy was absolutely NOT the way to go ladies
  • Like, this is mind-boggling stuff, her entire life is a lie, and they deliver the news with no tact at all
  • GIRL you’re a princess you literally knew that boy 5 minutes he aint worth it
  • She gets to wear a ballgown and tiara everyday that’s my literal dream job
  • I would understand her being upset about the trauma of finding out her entire life was a lie and she’s going to meet her real parents, and she’s royalty and will have to shoulder responsibility she wasn’t raised to handle, but she doesn’t even seem to care about any of that
  • Plan Fail: If they were protecting her from something set to happen by the end of her 16th birthday, WHY leave the safe house on the birthday?!!!!
  • Poor King Stefan is so anxious and worried
  • Meanwhile the other king is just like “let’s get turnt!”
  • Oooh i AM  the drunk lutist
  • Phillip’s dad wants to build them a castle which is super nice but he also wants to move them in fast. Can’t Phillip and Aurora at least get to know each other first?
  • Can Aurora get to know her parents first?
  • He wants them to get married THAT NIGHT? why the urgency??
  • Man Stefan just wants to know his daughter and live under the same roof as her for five minutes and this other jerk doesn’t care
  • Poor aurora isn’t even home yet and she’s already being pushed to have kids
  • Poor girl should just go run away and live in the woods
  • Okay, if you aren’t watching along and haven’t seen this movie in awhile, I must emphasize that there is a lutist that is constantly stealing wine from the kings. This is important. This is my favorite part of the movie so far.
  • Most underrated Disney character, he gets God-tier status with Tony
  • My next Disney Bound: me absolutely trashed on wine walking around the park in tights with a mini guitar
  • God Phillip’s dad is annoying, he’s getting so angry at Stefan who is just being reasonable and understanding about his daughter’s situation
  • Phillip and Aurora are the same type of goofy, they’re cute, I wish they had more time together
  • Phillip is completely fine with marrying a non-royal, heck even a non-noble, girl, and that’s very cool!
  • Why would he have to give up the throne? That’s a stupid rule
  • “Father you’re living in the past. This is the 14th century” hahaha you go Phil!
  • But also, Phillip, it was one conversation…you’re gonna give up everything for someone you knew for five minutes?
  • Super inconspicuous – pay no attention to the three brightly dressed ladies with wings out their backs
  • Aurora, I feel for you, you’ve been through a lot today, but also you get to live in a castle
  • Plan Fail: They leave the room and now NO ONE is watching her
  • Even if the crow hadn’t found them and they thought they had successfully moved her back without Maleficent knowing, isn’t the castle one of the main places Maleficent would be looking regardless?!!!
  • There are HOURS left. 16 years you all were freaking out about the spinning wheel and now it’s the midnight hour and everyone gives up
  • This movie is frustratingly nonsensical
  • And now poor Aurora’s caught
  • RUN
  • “Why did we leave her alone?” I DON’T KNOW
  • She is literally michael myers walking and they still can’t catch her lmfao
  • Poor Aurora. Just…poor Aurora.
  • Ooh Maleficent MADE her own spinning wheel so much for your burning all the wheels plan
  • “You poor simple fools” you know, in this one instance, the villain be absolutely freaking right
  • Yall dropped the ball a foot away from the endzone you suck as protectors
  • “we’re all to blame” well good on them for accepting that they’re at fault
  • HOW have they not told her parents??!!
  • The citizens are so happy about the sun setting and are setting off fireworks and it’s adorable that they’re so happy to see Aurora but also really sad because they all think she’s okay which she would’ve been with some SUPERVISION
  • Man just cuz she’s asleep indefinitely, EVERYONE needs to miss a big chunk of their lives?
  • Also CONVENIENT that she JUST MET someone she’s supposedly in love with that day
  • HOW did Maleficent know Phillip was going to meet Aurora at the cottage that night? Google alert?!!!
  • And it WASN’T the crow because I just went back and checked and the crow was flying away by the time Aurora mentioned Phillip coming to the house
  • Mal must have just been following Phil on ye old Twitter “bout to see my future wifey at her crib. should probably get her name 😉 lolz #OnceUponADream #Blessed”
  • I like Phillip, but unfortunately, he WOULD use #Blessed
  • Plan Fail: Why doesn’t she just kill him there and ensure that Aurora dies?
  • Yep you 3 are late again
  • This castle is sick, Mal has her aesthetic game on point
  • So Mal’s plans for Phillip were just messing with him? I mean, fun for her I guess but just winds up messing things up for herself
  • So Maleficent knows what fairy tales are?? Meta
  • “Gracious whim of fate” you mean super convenience [that Aurora is the peasant girl]
  • Maleficent looks cool but she is not that smart
  • Plan Fail: couldn’t find a baby with 3 idiots taking care of her
  • Plan Fail: tells the entire plan to Phillip – if she never tells him, he doesn’t know to kiss her, and she wins
  • Sidenote: again with the first kiss stuff, like it’s creepy that they barely each other and creepier that that helps with their cause
  • So Maleficent has spent 16 years plotting and hoping for Aurora to die but she’s going to settle with pranking her by having her wake up to an old man? What?
  • I really don’t understand how Phillip waking Aurora up when he’s old is more evil than killing him now and dooming Aurora and the kingdom to perpetual sleep, which would consequentially give Maleficent all the power, but okay
  • Plan Fail: leaves the prisoner that can undo her whole plan unsupervised
  • Phillip is super chill with these 3 fairies just busting in and giving him free weapons
  • Man Phillip WORKS for his girl – fighting goblins, maneuvering through a dangerous castle, taking on a freaking dragon – most of the other princes are lazy af compared to him, especially the first two
  • Ooh the thorns are a nice touch, that was kind of clever, though perpetual fire woulda been good too
  • “Now you shall deal with me o prince and all the powers of hell” hot damn this line is epic
  • Maleficent is not a great planner but gosh is she intimidating and powerful and certainly one of the best Disney villains AND in my opinion the first really big one
  • DRAGON!!
  • GOT whom?
  • This fight is really difficult for Phillip it is not an easy win at all
  • As a kid, even though it was a Disney movie and I knew everything was going to be okay, this scene still had such good suspense and action that there was always that “is he gonna make it” thought
  • Ahh he’s on the edge!
  • The shield of virtue has been lost!!!
  • Ok that enchanted sword is kinda cheating
  • Yeet!!!
  • And the aim of the yeet was true! Right into the heart
  • RIP Maleficent. A+ for effects. A+ for vibe. F for plan execution.
  • Okay I know I’ve been a grumpy goose about the “true loves first kiss” trope but I do love how they animated Aurora to come back to full color as he kisses her to show the curse is broken, it’s cute and a nice touch
  • Oh NOW Aurora is happy to be home
  • Didn’t miss your mom before
  • One hug? One hug for this parent-child reunion?
  • Aurora is meeting her parents for the first time, Phillip’s dad is confused as all hell, the most powerful being in the kingdom is dead, but we’re not gonna talk about ANY of that, it’s time to freakin dance
  • Why is Aurora’s dress on all her merch pink when it’s BLUE most of the time?
  • If it’s about marketing to girls, why not have it be pink most of the movie?
  • As a kid, I loved Aurora’s dress most and would say that she was my favorite princess so I would get pink things (Belle was actually my favorite but her stuff was always yellow and I don’t like yellow)
  • But now I like the blue more
  • Flora, the dress has been blue all day and night and you JUST NOTICED?
  • Actually, I guess she had other things to worry about and I probably would have punched my computer screen if she complained about the dress while they were worrying about the curse
  • I would love for Fauna to just be like “shut up I’m making it green”
  • The color changing dress effect does look cool while they’re dancing
  • Wow dancing on clouds, so romantic, so beautiful
  • The Sleeping Beauty book is super pretty
  • Where are all these books in these book openings/closings? Is it a library with very fancy books? Someone’s special collection?

I poked a lot of fun at the fairies and how neither their plans nor Maleficent’s made a lick of sense, but I truly love this movie. It’s fun and silly, the animation is spectacular, Maleficent is a great villain, Phillip is a great hero and has a good personality, Aurora is sweet and charming, and it has my dearly loved drunk lutist. Out of the three original princess movies, this one was always my favorite – I liked the magic and bright colors and the dragon is freaking cool.

I would have liked more Aurora – she’s only in the film for 18 minutes (!!!), they give her a really low amount of dialogue and action when it’s supposed to be her story. It’s not even that she’s passive she just doesn’t even get the opportunity to do anything: she goes out, has a nice dance and chat with Phillip, then gets told she has to go home to her parents, which of course she does, and then she gets put in the trance and asleep. I would have preferred less screen time be given to the fairies screwing up and more to Aurora and developing her character. I understand that going in-depth into how traumatic it would be for her to have her life completely flipped upside down wouldn’t fit the tone of the movie, but it would have been nice to have a few lines from her about how she was feeling about ANYTHING.

What do you think of Sleeping Beauty? Do you have a favorite part – the music, the animation, the dragon? Do you have any theories on why the characters are so bad at planning? Maybe it’s a fairy thing? Maybe Maleficent and the good fairies are actually in cahoots (gasp!)

Next week, we venture into a whole new decade and go back to the pups with 101 Dalmatians!

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