Tuesday, November 10, 2015

ANI-MOVIES, *Sleeping Beauty

Disney has had the most impressive catalog of animated movies in the world, but when they got around to doing Sleeping Beauty, they really pulled out all the stops in this pure feast for the eyes. As their 16th full-length animated feature(which includes anthology movies like Melody Time), this was also the last one they did based on a fairy tale for at least 30 years until The Little Mermaid came out, mostly because the movie surprisingly didn't initially do to well at the box office, despite how much work was put into.

Based on the Grimm Fairy Tale, a princess named Aurora is born in a faraway kingdom, and her coronation is blessed by three fairies: Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. Flora and Fauna bless her with magically endowed beauty and singing talent, but are interrupted by the wicked fairy(even though she's more like somekind of she-demon)Maleficent who was seriously ticked for not being invited to the royal shindig, so she curses Aurora with being killed getting pricked by a spinning wheel when she turns 16. Merryweather counters this by having the spell broken not with the princess' death but by sleep awoken only by love's first kiss. The good fairies convince the king to let them take the princess into hiding in a cottage in the woods for the next 16 years, where Aurora is called Briar Rose, and totally unaware of her royal heritage. Cut a decade and a half, Aurora grows up to be quite the looker(although being magically endowed didn't hurt), and an excursion into the woods has the now teenage "Brair Rose" encounters the wandering Prince Phillip, her unknown soon to be husband. The two fall stereotypically for each other, and Brair Rose heads back to tell her caretakers the good news, however the shock of learning that she's really a princess betrothed to someone else puts a serious damper on her birthday. After becoming far too impatient with her bungling underlings, Maleficent sends familiar out to find Aurora, and he hears the whole scoop from spying on the fairies. Maleficent sets an ambush for Aurora(instead of the old "poisoned apple" gag)at her cottage, but ends up capturing Phillip instead. Aurora and the fairies had instead left earlier and headed to the castle, where Maleficent hypnotizes her into touching a conjured up spinning wheel, and sending her into her a magical coma. The fairies put the whole kingdom to sleep in order to shorten the damage, and free Phillip. He makes a dashing escape thanks to a some suped-up weapons they pulled out of hammerspace. Maleficent furiously turns into a nightmarish dragon, but gets impaled by Phillips "magic sword". The Prince then kisses Aurora and everyone else wakes up and live all happily ever after.

Sleeping Beauty is a fantastic visual marvel as it was one of the first animated movies done in widescreen, plus one of the few movies done in Technirama. There is some roto-scoping involved, but this more helps the movie than hinders it. The only downside is there isn't much actual development with the title character as its mostly centered on the good and evil fairies, but as usual the Disney Princess gets all the hype. This is partially why exchanges like the kings arguing over where their children will live or the fairies bickering over dress colors take up a good portion of the movie's run time. The animated movie is more of a necessity to see than the live-action Maleficent reboot, but also for being a major chapter in cinematic animation.

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