Starring: Verna Felton, Barbara Luddy, Barbara Jo Allen
Director: Clyde Geronimi
Running Time: 75 mins
Sleeping Beauty is an American film about the daughter of a king and queen who is cursed on the day of her birth by an evil fairy to fall into an eternal sleep when she turns 16. However, with the help of three good fairies, there is a chance that the spell can be overturned, but only with a true love’s kiss.
You know what you’re getting with a classic Disney fairytale movie. I can’t really call it clichéd considering that this is one of the films that was part of establishing the cliché, and I can’t fault its pleasant, innocent and colourful vibes that make it a perfectly nice fairytale. However, in comparison to other classic Disney animations, Sleeping Beauty really feels far too simple and thin, meaning that, whilst it can put a smile on your face, it’s not the most memorable or captivating watch.
However, I’ll start by saying that this is the perfect sort of film for young kids. It’s bright, short, easy and is as happy as you could ever ask for, meaning that young children around four or five years old will have a lot of fun watching it.
And to an extent, everyone else can have just as much fun, provided that you accept that this film is the very formula of a fairytale movie. Its light-hearted and easy-going nature, combined with the wonderfully colourful animation and lively lead characters, means that it’s an undoubtedly lovely watch from start to finish.
However, in comparison to classics like Cinderella and even Snow White, which feature a degree of emotional conflict and drama between our princess and the wicked villains, Sleeping Beauty really falls flat. Apart from the fact that Princess Aurora is barely present in the movie, and the fairies are the lead characters, watching this film unfold over its short duration really feels like skimming through the basics of Fairytales 101.
As a result, whilst it is joyful and happy, it proves that the clichés of true love’s kiss, a beautiful princess with next to no character, and a dark villain with evil motives that are evil, just aren’t enough to carry a movie on their own. I really felt like the film, even at the expense of a longer runtime, needed to give a little more depth to the characters and their motivations, particularly Princess Aurora, because this just felt so thin.
Now, the bubbly and lively fairies who look after Aurora do make for a couple of good laughs, and are principally responsible for making the film at least engaging enough to appreciate the aesthetically pleasant nature, as well as putting a smile on your face and giving the kids something to laugh at, but I just can’t look past the fact that, whilst this is a classic fairytale movie, it doesn’t do anything more than provide a excessively thin and simple story, which just isn’t as entertaining to watch as some of Disney’s best, and that’s why I’m giving Sleeping Beauty a 7.1.