Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Upon re-watching Sleeping Beauty recently I was fascinated to realise that the three fairies are pretty much the main characters 🙂

Obviously they’re not the only characters, but they probably have the most screentime for one and they also take many of the important risks. Flora, Fauna and Merryweather also devise all the plans, in addition to providing the only good comic relief while at the same time being responsible for saving everyone around them!

Of course Auroa and Phillpip have nice singing voices but I think for a lot of people Maleficent stands out most in terms of character – she’s a pretty superb villain, capable of true cruelty, and her colour scheme of green, purple and black is unnerving too.

Visually, I was enthralled.

It wasn’t just the tremendous dragon/forest of thorns scene, but elsewhere too, the art and backgrounds for Sleeping Beauty are amazing – the detail on the bark upon the trees alone is just so great!

The whole forest, really – especially with those distinctive shapes and textures, but many of the castle scenes stood out too. I really liked the illusion of depth there, via that amazing multi-plane camera set up Disney was known for.

However, I was interested to hear something quite dull from director Geronimi – who I believe was unhappy with the art direction and backgrounds by Eyvind Earle, feeling that no-one would even look backgrounds. What a fool, huh? 😀

Sure, I doubt kids of the day would have cared that much but I would like to think that surely, one part of why Sleeping Beauty has endured over other Disney films has to be the art, because I don’t think the film stands above several other Disney titles around due to its storytelling, which I thought was pretty uneven.

On that claim, there’s a bit too much time spent on what I’d call filler, I guess – my favourite example being the two kings in that endless scene where they discuss and agree to things which have already been agreed to.

Even so, I’m really glad I watched this again because if I hadn’t, I would have missed out on some amazing stuff, especially the work of Eyvind Earle.

4 Stars (one of which is probably for the art alone)

By the power of Grayskull!

11 thoughts on “Sleeping Beauty (1959)

  1. This really is one of Disney’s most visually stunning movies. And the fairies are totally the main characters! I was also surprised to realize that upon rewatching it a few years ago, for some reason, I guess I remembered their part as being smaller. They’re great though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny what sticks in your mind when you’re young, huh?

      I thought there was an artbook produced for this film, but I don’t know if it still exists – would love a copy if I had the space, but I bet it’s a rare item 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good point about the fairies. They had way more agency in the movie than Aurora ever did since she was just a passive character. Don’t even get me started on how problematic the “true love kiss” scene is especially in these modern times. I never realized how detailed the art was and this movie came out several decades ago. Of course, I know Maleficent is regarded as one of the greatest Disney Villains which I do understand why with how intimidating she is and being more than a legitimate threat to the heroes, but she is low key petty since all she got angry over not being at a baby shower if you really think about it. I did think this was a good review even though I’ve been on the record as someone very critical of Disney.

    Liked by 1 person

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