There's something I really like about Sleeping Beauty. But what is it exactly? It's not the story. It's not particularly engaging, and frankly full of plot holes (why can't the Golden Girls, I mean, the fairies turn Maleficent's hench-creatures into flowers?). And yes, it is another one of those very short movies padded into over an hour of sequences. Is it the beauty of the art itself? The film is full of beautifully drawn and animated art, but nothing I can think of that Fantasia had done better. But oh, the characters! They're all, um...well stout fairy makes me laugh, especially when she wiggles in frustration. I wouldn't say I love the movie just for them (though I do think a better title would've been The Three Fairies of Sleeping Beauty). What of the music? It's lovely, isn't it? Who could forget the best song of the whole thing...come on, sing along with me...SKUMPS! SKUMPS! A toast to the home! One grander by far than a palace in Rome! I'm...actually not being all that sarcastic when I say that. Okay, so maybe I tend to get mixed up with which songs are in Sleeping Beauty and not. Which is not to say that they're not catchy or memorable, just that...Once Upon a Dream could just as easily have been Cinderella's song, couldn't it? Even "Skumps," for a while, I could've sworn was from "The Sword in the Stone." And my second-favorite song, Riddle Diddle 123, is disappointingly only used instrumental as background music.
So what have I gone through...story, animation, characters, music...what else could it have b-OH wait! I've got it! Now I remember my favorite thing about Sleeping Beauty, that wins out over any of its other qualities in my opinion....
The best part of Sleeping Beauty besides how we all slept standing up together in a garden in France is the sheer amount of work that went into it! The story is indeed heavily padded and full of holes and the music is stuffy at best and bland at worst, but it's a lot like saying finishing fourth grade wasn't worth it because nothing especially interesting happened then, when in fact it laid a lot of groundwork for future success.
Of course, Sleeping Beauty was the first to be filmed in the astonishingly wide at the time 70mm format. The intricate and heavily detailed backgrounds and sequences were among the first in animation to hail style and artistry as the biggest selling point of a film (Fantasia being neck and neck in this instance). Even the musical approach was interesting as nearly all of it was re-scored from the ballet of the same name. I would go so far as to say that Sleeping Beauty was sort of the remix of its time taking a little of what had already been established and then doing something totally different while leaving the basis utterly recognizable.
Favorite Character: Tough call between Meriweather (the stout fairy) and Drunken Minstrel. Boy he sure does a good job stealing wine right out of the bottle that his master is holding!
Least favorite Character: It's a bad thing when the horse is more memorable than the Prince right?
Overall: Beautiful, but I really did find myself asking "Why not?" every time the fairies claimed not to be able to do something. You can put an entire kingdom to sleep but you can't wake up one girl? You can make a sword fly from the hand of a Prince into the heart of a dragon, but you couldn't do it without the Prince? Why not?
And another thing, you fairies! You are so incompetent at making a dress, a cake, and cleaning a room that I don't understand how you managed to live without magic for 15 years! My suspension of disbelief has reached its limit!
Craft time: Ummmm.... Ah'm thinkin, Ah'm thinkin!