YMMV / Sleeping Beauty

The original

  • Complete Monster: The Ogress Queen Mother is left to look after her daughter-in-law and grandchildren when her son, the prince, is called away to war. For no apparent reason, she decides to cannibalize them, starting with her four-year-old granddaughter, Dawn, ordering her chief steward to kill and cook her. The Steward hides Dawn away and kills and cooks an animal instead, repeating the process with the three-year-old grandson, Day, and the princess. When the queen realizes the trick, she gathers the princess and her children along with the steward and his wife and servant girl, deciding to drop all six into a vat full of snakes and poisonous toads.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Sleeping Beauty tells the story of an ethereal, animal-loving adolescent who spent a century in suspended animation only to be awakened by the child of a local ruler. Then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked.
    • Sleeping Beauty is also one of the few fairy tales to have a canonical second part to it - the prince having to fight his ogress of a mother. Yet when Disney were making direct to video sequels to most of their animated films in the 2000s, Sleeping Beauty was one of the few that didn't get one. Apparently Disney are also so protective of the movie, they refuse to allow a sequel to be made.
    • On the other hand, Shrek did have a sequel revolving around the new ogre couple having to deal with Fiona's parents. Considering that Shrek is a parody of fairy tales in general, including Sleeping Beauty, it's fitting that Shrek 2 would (intentionally or not) take cues from Sleeping Beauty's second part.

The Disney version

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • What is Aurora's real motivation for going to the castle when she clearly doesn't want to? Is she just spineless? Doing the right thing? Which is she really more sad over- losing Philip, being told her happy peasant life is a lie and having to leave it forever, having a major career (ruling) forced on her? Or (most likely) all of the above?
    • The idea that Maleficent and the Three Fairies are members, respectively, of the Unseelie and Seelie Court. Stefan paid the Seelie fairies due respect, referring to them as most exalted, and they responded with gifts in return, as many Seelie fairies were thought to do. However, like all Unseelie Court fairies, Maleficent was Always Chaotic Evil and more or less just existed to wreck people, and the Seelie Court had no power or influence over her; they could not reverse Maleficent's curse directly.
    • Was Maleficent really offended at not being invited? Or did she just curse Aurora for fun? If she were invited, would she inevitably have found another excuse?
    • There are quite a few people who consider Flora, Fauna and Merryweather to be the true protagonists of the film. Considering how much focus they get and the fact that they, to an extent, are the ones who really save the day, this isn't an unreasonable viewpoint. It doesn't help that Phillip and Aurora tend to come off as Vanilla Protagonists.
      • This was intentionally placed by Disney to differentiate the film from most of his films at the time.
  • Awesome Art: The film's animation style is quite unusual for Disney, with Eyvind Earle drawing on medieval tapestries to create highly detailed backgrounds that lie somewhere between two- and three-dimensional. Even the people who don't care for the film tend to agree it's amazing to look at.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The entire score, courtesy of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (albeit rearranged and with added lyrics by George Bruns), but for a single song, "Once Upon a Dream" is probably the topper.
    • Also "Battle with the Forces of Evil", which plays during The Fairies and Prince Phillip's escape from the Forbidden Mountain and their battle with Dragon Maleficent.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The film addresses an issue in the original fairy tale—- specifically, why, if the final fairy could enchant the princess to be awoken by True Love's Kiss, she couldn't just go ahead and remove the curse entirely. The Three Good Fairies tell Stefan that they can't revoke gifts from other members of their kind, and there's also the implication that Maleficent is too powerful for them to remove the curse outright. They have to redirect it into an enchanted, almost deathlike sleep.
    • The film fixes the inherent Fridge Horror in the entire kingdom sleeping for a hundred years along with the princess. Here they are only asleep for one night - and the 'sleep for a hundred years' is actually the evil plan of Maleficent.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Aurora has been criticised for years as one of the weakest and most passive Disney Princesses - as she's a Distressed Damsel who needs to be saved by a man. But the Aurora hate has received a lot of backlash as the years go by, with some finding that she is a good character that gets Overshadowed by Awesome (Maleficent, the fairies and even Philip), for stuff that isn't even her fault in the first place. Despite Aurora often being the first princess to get criticised by detractors, she's still one of the most popular princesses among certain fans.
  • Broken Base:
    • Over what colour the dress looks better in - blue or pink. It spends most of the film blue but is pink in most of the merchandise. This is mostly to distinguish Aurora from Cinderella whose dress is blue (but is white in her original film). Kingdom Hearts offered a compromise and showed the dress being purple.
    • The movie itself. Some fans dismiss it as being sexist for having the Princess Classic being a Damsel in Distress who "doesn't do anything" and has little to no character development, preferring the villain herself to most of the characters. Other fans praise it as one of Walt's best works of art for its animation and music, with some seeing it as very progressive for its day, for its female-driven narrative, diverse female characters, a princess who doesn't want to be a princess, and an open-minded prince who dismisses arranged marriages in favor of love.
  • Counterpart Comparison:
    • The three fairies can be and have been compared to The Powerpuff Girls. Both trios are three female characters who fight evil and protect the innocent. Flora and Blossom are the leaders and Fauna and Bubbles are the sweet, nonconfrontational ones. The most striking similarity is between Merryweather and Buttercup, who are the feisty, dark-haired fighters.
  • Cult Classic: This movie nearly bankrupted the Disney studio and got lukewarm reviews from critics. However it has a large amount of fans who love the animation style and the Darker and Edgier tone from a lot of other Disney movies. Aurora is incredibly popular despite having only eighteen minutes of screen time. And Maleficent is recognised as one of the most iconic Disney villains of all time.
  • Estrogen Brigade: Prince Philip has quite a lot of fangirls, stemming no doubt from the fact that he was the first human male that Disney were able to produce without putting him into the Uncanny Valley.
  • Evil Is Cool: Maleficent is famous for being a villain Made of Win, so popular in her own right that she got her own movie and a leadership position over the Disney villains in the first Kingdom Hearts.
  • Fair for Its Day:
    • The film has a rather flat love story line between the prince and princess. They just meet in the forest and fall in love in a matter of seconds because they met "once upon a dream". But at the time, the previous two Disney Princesses (Snow White and Cinderella) had even less developed love interests — they functioned simply to marry the princess and whisk her away to a better life. Aurora meeting her prince and getting to talk to him properly was fairly progressive for Disney at the time. It was also the first time a Disney Prince functioned as an actual character — Philip (note: the first prince with a name) has to fight for his happy ending instead of just showing up at the end. Also worth noting is that Aurora doesn't just immediately swoon into the guy's arms. She makes arrangements to get to know him properly later — not in the forest, but in her home with her 'aunts' present.
    • Neither Aurora nor the prince are the main protagonist. That honor goes to the three good fairies who are portrayed as competent women and prove necessary help for the Prince. The antagonist is also female meaning that most of the film is driven by women which is rather feminist for the time. What's more is that none of the fairies nor Maleficent act as love interests for anyone or provide Fanservice. All three of the fairies have distinctive personalities that don't compromise their strength - Fauna being the nice one doesn't stop her from saving the day, Flora liking a pink dress doesn't stop her from being a badass, and Merriweather being a tomboy doesn't make her superior nor inferior to the other two.
    • The Disney Blogger Unshaved Mouse points out that if you view Aurora and Phillip as minor characters then it becomes one of the greatest feminist movies ever made. Basically it's a big-budget, blockbuster film released by a major studio with an almost-entirely female cast, most of which are not conventionally attractive or sexualized. The gender of the protagonists is also totally incidental in all cases and not remarked upon, and they all work unfailingly alongside each other rather than squabbling (the blue-vs-pink debate notwithstanding).
  • Fanon: As Merriweather never gets to give her gift at the christening, fans like to wonder what it might be. A poll on the Disney Princess site saw that 'intelligence' was the most popular opinion.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • Aurora's segment from the Compilation Movie Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams hasn't gotten much love from the public. Its crimes include turning the princess into a ditz, and boasting animation that fails at evoking "a moving illustration." Even Aurora's original voice actress, Mary Costa, believes it justifies Disney's refusal to make a full-length sequel. (read the second page of this interview)
    • The Maleficent movie is considered this by those who would rather the villainess remain evil at heart, instead of being turned into The Woobie. Or to those who wish she'd been cast as someone other than Angelina Jolie. Or those who feel that the fairies, often seen as the actual heroines of the story, were Demoted to Extra and Took a Level in Dumbass solely to prop up Maleficent, plus applying Adaptational Villainy to Aurora's kindly dad King Stefan. In fairness, said film is also clearly an Alternate Continuity, and Disney's Animated Canon has always taken precedence over the live-action adaptations.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • One of the biggest complaints about Aurora, in spite of being one of the original Disney Princesses, in addition to how underwhelming her character is, is the disproportionate amount of merchandise/advertising that she receives over some of the other, more popular princesses. Over fifty years after first being introduced, Rapunzel came along with all of the charisma and personality that she lacks, to the point that some fans are even calling for the latter to take the former's place in the Disney Princess franchise. Not helping matters is how much both characters look alike (especially as both being blondes.)
    • Maleficent does rather a lot of gasping and pressing her hand to her chest. This was based on her voice actress, Eleanor Audley's, gestures and mannerisms while recording her dialogue — and it makes sense, given she almost turned down the role because she was fighting tuberculosis.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • It's hard to watch Sleeping Beauty nowadays and not think of the Rankin Bass animated adaptation of The Hobbit from the late Seventies, or of the many "sword and sorcery" animated kids' shows of The '80s (the best example probably being He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983)), whose collective aesthetic and tone echoed a lot of what was seen and heard in this film.
    • A deleted scene on the Diamond Edition Blu-ray portrays Aurora as almost a proto-Jasmine: A princess who spends her life cooped up in a castle, and desires freedom so strongly, she releases her pet bird from its cage, then sneaks to the marketplace disguised as a peasant, whereupon she meets the love of her life.
    • The filmmakers intentionally avoided the hundred years of sleep in the fairy tale, since they found the idea of Aurora marrying a guy one hundred years her junior (on top of being someone she just met) questionable in regards to the age difference. It plays this trope straight considering how popular the Mayfly–December Romance trope has gotten, particularly when one thinks of a certain book series.
    • For Spaniard audiences there was a big one in the Latin American Spanish dub, of all places. Prince Phillip's name was localized in Spanish as "Felipe"note , and thus remained as his official name in Spain as well. Fastforward 22 years later, when Spain became a democratic monarchy once again after Franco's dictatorship. And just so happened that the heir to the throne was Felipe de Borbón, who was born 12 years after the movie came out. Right until he was crowned king in 2015, Spaniard audiences couldn't help but to chuckle hearing "Príncipe Felipe" in this movie's Spanish version.
    • Somehow, the scene between Flora and Merriweather fighting over a dress's colour became more relevant as of early 2015 when The Internet had a Flame War whether the colour of a Roman Originals dress was blue and black lace or white and gold lace.
    • During the climactic battle with Maleficent, Phillip's cape gets caught on the branches of the thorny brushes. Clearly, this incident paved the "NO CAPES" philosophy in a future Disney movie.
  • Magnificent Bitch: In the face of everything, even her minions' stupidity, Maleficent always somehow manages to get ahead.
  • Memetic Mutation: The internet has not been kind to Aurora. She's typically portrayed as a Mean Girl of some sort in her interactions with the other princesses. Here's a pretty good example.
  • Narm: The close-up shot of Aurora when she first wakes up looks really weird, and perhaps even a bit creepy.
  • Older Than They Think: Much of the music and songs were heavily borrowed from Tchaikovsky's music for the ballet of the same name. For instance, "Once Upon a Dream", the movie's most notable song? Boom. In some parts, it's actually taken a step further: some parts of the movie's incidental music actually use movements from Tchaikovsky's original ballet with slight reorchestrations in some places! One of the most prominent examples is the use of Puss in Boots and the White Cat as the music with which Aurora pricks her finger.
  • She's Just Hiding: Many fans believe that Maleficent is still alive, mainly because she apparently left no corpse. In the Alternate Universe Kingdom Hearts canon they use this to reintroduce Maleficent, as thinking about her when her cloak is nearby resurrects her. In fact, during the recreation of the movie's climax in the prequel Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Maleficent actually SURVIVES being stabbed by Phillip, albeit weakly limping away while clutching her chest back in fairy form, though only Aqua knows of her survival. And in Maleficent she is Spared by the Adaptation.
  • Something Completely Different: Well, not quite. But this is a unique entry in the pre-Oliver & Company Disney animated sweepstakes. It's a much more serious treatment than 1950s audiences were used to seeing from Disney: other than the bickering fairies and the drunken minstrel, there isn't much of the vaudeville shtick from, say, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Peter Pan; the aesthetic is literally Darker and Edgier (many more shadows and darkened faces, and there wouldn't be Disney characters this angular again until Hercules 38 years later); and the medieval setting is truly medieval: historically accurate, properly Gothic, and without the Fifties-sitcom gloss seen in Cinderella. Compared to Disney's other "classic" films, Sleeping Beauty looks more like something by Don Bluth (after he left Disney, that is) or Rankin/Bass. You might even call it the Lord of the Rings of its time, especially since High Fantasy was in very short supply in 1950s America.
  • Superlative Dubbing: The 1959 Latin American Spanish dub - the acting is almost perfect. However, it was redubbed in 2001 and... Well...
  • Vanilla Protagonist: Aurora and Phillip represent on a grand scale fairy tale archetypes—Princess Classic and Prince Charming. This is fairly obvious at the start of the film, but by the time the third act has begun, unique personality and even dialogue is cut out to leave behind only the archetypes. That is, if you believe they are the protagonists of the movie in the first place. See Decoy Protagonist.
  • Vindicated by History: This film did not recoup its budget (in spite of grossing well enough to come second in the box office during its opening) and, at best, garnered mixed results from critics. Its failings were a crushing disappointment to Walt Disney himself and nearly killed off the studio's production of animated feature films. Although the process used to make it helped lower the costs of future animated movies and keep it going, no fairy tales would come out of the studio until The Renaissance Age of Animation hit with The Little Mermaid. Nowadays, however, the film is considered a classic that proved that the studio was able to make a genuinely dark fairy tale and helped to give the canon one of its greatest villains.
  • Wangst: It's not hard to see Aurora's misery about not seeing the boy she met a half hour before and going to live with her parents in a castle and be a princess as being overly dramatic. Made somewhat Hilarious in Hindsight when Maleficent gets her own movie, which actually touches on the fact that Aurora and Phillip have only just met. Since genuine love cannot exist after only a single meeting, Prince Phillip doesn't end up being the one to break Aurora's curse. Others are more charitable to her and believe her angst is pretty understandable since the revelation about being a princess and going to the castle overlaps with her finding out that her entire life has been a total lie.
  • "Weird Al" Effect:
    • It becomes difficult to watch the ballet once one is familiar with the film, as the same score cues two completely different events in the ballet and film. Hearing the waltz would probably also cause several viewers to mentally hear the lyrics to "Once Upon a Dream" and/or "I Wonder" despite no one actually singing them.
    • The effect is most notable in the "Characteristic Scene" music. In the film, a creepy tune where poor ensorcelled Aurora is led to her fate. In the ballet, a funny and flirty dance between Puss-in-Boots and the White Cat.
  • What An Idiot:
    • Maleficent's minions were ordered to search the kingdom for the young Princess Aurora and, for 16 years, didn't realize that babies grow up. Maleficent is rightfully peeved at this.
    • The fairies have brought Aurora back home before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, which would rid her of Maleficent's curse. Naturally with hours to go at the most, they should not let Aurora out of their sight for a moment and keep their guard up until the sun sets and they know she's safe. Instead, they decide to give her some time to cry alone and Maleficent finds her only moments later and the prophecy comes true.
  • The Woobie: Poor Aurora. In many scenes, she looks like a kicked puppy.

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