A beautiful princess is cursed into a deep sleep by a vengeful sorceress
and can only be awakened by a kiss from her true love, a brave prince.
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Directed by Clyde Geronimi
Written by Erdman Penner
Starring Mary Costa, Bill Shirley, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Barbara Luddy, Barbara Jo Allen, Taylor Holmes
Based on the fairy tale by Charles Perrault
Oscar Nominations - Best Original Score (George Bruns)
Disney has been brightening up childhoods for almost a century, and continues to do so with their animated films. One cannot call themselves a true Disney fan if they haven't seen the classics, so I have taken it upon myself to finally watch one of their masterpieces, Sleeping Beauty. It's one of those timeless fairy tales that I wish I'd watched as a child. It beautifully adapts Charles Perrault's legendary story into a fantasy extravaganza that tells the story of a cursed princess and her prince's epic battle to save her from evil.
As usual with Disney, their voice talent is impeccable. They do a great job of building an atmosphere of romance and enchantment, and later one of fear and darkness. The character of Maleficent is one of Disney's darkest villains, particularly because of her vicious presence and her self-proclaimed connection to Hell. It was gutsy of Disney to push the envelope like this so early in their company's catalog, but it helps put Sleeping Beauty in a category all its own for the final fight between Prince Phillip and Maleficent. One thing I didn't like was the emphasis on the three fairies, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. I understand that Disney has a certain degree of whimsy that must be present, but I would've preferred more focus on Princess Aurora and her budding romance with Prince Phillip.
Overall, I believe Sleeping Beauty was the perfect film to embark on a revisitation of Walt Disney's early classics. It has all the elements one comes to expect from a Disney animated classic, and goes one further with an epic climax. This film has lasted for nearly six decades and will be a staple of millions of children for as long as it continues to be loved by their parents.