A beautiful princess born in a faraway kingdom is destined by a terrible curse to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a deep sleep that can only be awakened by true love's first kiss. Determined to protect her, her parents ask three fairies to raise her in hiding. But the evil Maleficent is just as determined to seal the princess's fate.
|Release Date||:||January 28, 1959|
|Genres||:||Fantasy, Animation, Romance, Family|
|Production Company||:||Walt Disney Productions|
|Production Countries||:||United States of America|
|Director||:||Clyde Geronimi, Wolfgang Reitherman, Les Clark, Eric Larson|
|Writers||:||Erdman Penner, Charles Perrault, Erdman Penner, Charles Perrault|
|Casts||:||Mary Costa, Bill Shirley, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Barbara Luddy, Barbara Jo Allen, Taylor Holmes, Bill Thompson|
|Plot Keywords||:||sleep, magic, prince, castle, fairy tale, kingdom, musical, kiss, princess, sleeping beauty, animation, knight, dragon, dungeon, based on fairy tale, fairies|
...which is that it may have been designed more for an adult audience than a children's. At any rate it was way ahead of its time in 1959. "Sleeping Beauty" was one of the movies I watched as a child, and its grandness overwhelmed me even at the age of ten. I couldn't be happier to see it finally in the DVD format. But watch closely; you'll notice many subtle, sophisticated things which other viewers have touched on in earlier reviews. The animation is almost surreal-- so incredibly lifelike that it abandons its cute, 'Disneyesque' pretensions from previous fairy tales. There are no talking mice, dogs or cats anywhere to be seen. Here the animals are silent, as animals are supposed to be. (I love the sequence with the forest animals as they are awakened by the singing of the barefoot princess and join up with her, like multiple chaperons, in harmonious whistles.) Even the fairy godmothers- who may initially appear as sugary stereotypes- spend so much time bickering (well, two of them do anyway) that you get to identify them as thoroughly fleshed out personalities. The adaptation of the original Perrault fairy tale is also impressive. An ingenious move was to have the prince and princess meet in the forest *first* and fall in love- unaware that they are already engaged to be married. Someone mentioned the chilling sequence which shows the princess, cloaked in an eerie green pallor, actually being lured to the fateful spinning wheel. So dark, so frightening- when was the last time you saw something like this in a Disney fairy tale? And then immediately afterwords is a cleansing sequence of unmatched beauty showing the fairies sailing through the sky like fireflies, magically dusting the rest of the castle to sleep. It is, of course, only matched by the film's finale which shows storm clouds, lightning, a forest of thorns, and a flame-spewing dragon-- all seamlessly bringing the story to a 75-minute conclusion. It stands, in my opinion, as Disney's masterpiece.