Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Director: Clyde Geronimi, Les Clark, Eric Larson, Wolfgang Reitherman
Written by: Erdman Penner
Starring: Mary Costa, Bill Shirley, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Barbara Luddy, Barbara Jo Allen
REVIEW: Every time I watch Sleeping Beauty, I am always amazed by how much I still enjoy it. This is because the film does have glaring problems. The story concerns a girl named Aurora, who is cursed by the evil Maleficent to fall into an eternal sleep on her 16th birthday. In order to protect her, three fairies (Flora, Fauna and Merryweather) raise her as their own peasant child in a cottage. After Aurora unknowingly falls in love with a prince named Phillip, her life is further placed under threat by Maleficent and her evil minions. My main problem with Sleeping Beauty is the two romantic leads. Aurora, despite being pleasant and having a nice singing voice, has to be the weakest Disney princess ever. She is completely passive, as all she ever does with her life is wait to meet a handsome stranger. The Prince is also bland and the romantic scenes between these two characters are really rushed. It is difficult to believe that they are in love by the end of the film. So why do I still really enjoy Sleeping Beauty? There are a few reasons, one of them being the villain. Maleficent is easily in my top three favourite Disney villains; she is menacing, classy and even terrifying at times. It also helps that she is voiced by Eleanor Audley, who has a wickedly evil voice in this. I also really love the fairies, especially the bickering that takes place between Flora and Merryweather over what colour Aurora's dress should be. Sleeping Beauty is also one of my favourite Disney films from an animation standpoint; it looks like a beautiful, colourful storybook and truly is like something out of a fairy tale. Is Sleeping Beauty flawed? Definitely. But its positives certainly outweigh the negatives for me.
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