Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sleeping Beauty

Recently the Blu-Ray Diamond Edition of Sleeping Beauty came out. Having already owned the movie and not being one to explore special features and bonus blah blah blahs, I still didn't purchase the Blu-Ray. However, I did do one thing that I haven't done for years: I watched the movie.

You're not supposed to talk to strangers.
ESPECIALLY in a dark forest.
Now let me be forward with you. I'm pretty sure the last time I saw this movie was when I was about 4 years old. I know the beats of it. King and Queen have a daughter, Maleficent gets crazy pissed because she's a snooty evil bitch, curses said daughter, three incompetent fairies raise said daughter, curse still happens, prince comes riding in, slays a dragon, kisses underage dead girl, everyone lives happily ever after. Great, fantastic. Shouldn't take more than 35 minutes, right?

Good hell, a 75 minute run time? And here's my biggest problem for this movie. For the most part, nothing happens. I feel like half of the movie is just filler. For example, there's a musical acid trip after each fairy gives their blessing/gifts on baby Aurora. Even though those sequences seriously looked awesome, they were really stretching to reach that 75 minute run time.

And I don't mind filler a lot of the time, as long as the characters are interesting. A mistake in this movie was to make the three bumbling fairies the main characters. They just don't do anything for me. They annoyed me. And I don't want to be accused of "well, you're not looking at it through 1959's eyes!" To which I say I loved the seven dwarfs, and that  was in 1937.
So grating...

Look! Look! Even the king and queen are bored!
That right there might be my biggest problem with Sleeping Beauty. It's far too similar to Snow White, and Snow White remains superior. Was the top studio talent too busy working on Disneyland during this time? I have a habit while watching the credits of old Disney movies to pick out the well-known Imagineers in the credits. In this movie, the pickins were slim, and Disneyland was all I could think of that was going on around the Disney studio during this time. (I know Disneyland opened in 1955, but production of Sleeping Beauty lasted for 6 years, which puts both projects starting around the same time.)

The film's saving grace...
On a positive note, the art in this movie is superb. Its really is a glorious thing to look at, and it stands out among the other Disney fairy tales of the time. Also, Maleficent is a great villain. No back story is given of her, but she's evil, and she's pissed, and she seems happy about both of these. They say a good villain doesn't realize he/she is the villain, but I'm certain Maleficent knows exactly how villainous she is. Despite being trapped in a sub-par movie, she remains my favorite Disney villain. I mean, come on, she turns into a frikkin' dragon.

...and a kick ass dragon!
Sleeping Beauty is a half hour special stretched out into a full-length feature, and although it dazzles the eyes and contains a great villain, the lack of interesting characters and character development bring the movie down. I give it 4 out of 10 spindles.