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YMMV / Sleeping Beauty

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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 was 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 is 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.
  • Stock Parody Jokes:
    • Sleeping Beauty is narcoleptic.
    • The prince takes advantage of Sleeping Beauty while she's comatose. This is an Unbuilt Trope as the earliest versions of the story, most famously Sun, Moon, and Talia, include the protagonist being impregnated in her sleep (with the kiss being a product of censorship).

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.
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    • 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?
    • Some have suggested that Queen Leah, as she's sometimes known, was originally barren, which is why she and Stefan had longed for a child for many years. So Queen Leah made a deal with Maleficent for her to use her powers to give her a child. But out of fear for what the reactions of others would be, she welched on the deal. Maleficent viewed this as a serious snub and decided that, in her mind, if she was refused credit for helping in Aurora's birth, then the deal was off, and Aurora had to go.
    • There are quite a few people who consider Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather to be the true Main Characters 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 come off as comparatively simplistic minor characters. This was intentionally placed by Disney to differentiate the film from most of his films at the time.
    • Flora and Merryweather going a little nuts with the magic during their argument over the dress's colour. Are they just experiencing a rush after being without it for sixteen years? It would explain how easily they get carried away.
    • As the years have gone by, people are starting to suggest that Aurora is more of a Silk Hiding Steel persona - pointing to how quickly she seems to accept her fate (despite clearly not wanting it) and being able to briefly resist Maleficent's mind control right before she pricks her finger.
  • Awesome Art: The film's animation style is quite unusual for Disney and too ahead for 1959, feeling more like a Disney Renaissance film and 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 criticized 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 criticized by detractors, she's still one of the most popular princesses among certain fans.
    • Phillip as well. Half the people find him just as dull as the princes from Snow White and Cinderella. Others find him to be likewise Overshadowed by Awesome and appreciate his heroics in the third act.
  • 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.
  • Cant Unhear It: After seeing this movie, try hard not to imagine hearing "I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream" upon listening to "The Garland Waltz" from Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty ballet.
  • Common Knowledge: An often used criticism of the movie is that Aurora is asleep for half the movie. This is false. She is enchanted about two-thirds into the movie, right before the climax, with about 25 minutes of the movie remaining. While it is true she has very few lines, she is awake for the majority of the movie.
  • Estrogen Brigade: Prince Phillip has quite a lot of fangirls, stemming no doubt from the fact that he was the first human male that Disney was 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 Kingdom Hearts. Even her non-canon daughter is the ringleader of an alternate universe!
  • Fair for Its Day: In many ways, Sleeping Beauty is surprisingly progressive when it comes to its treatment of its female characters, considering that it makes use of a few tropes that many modern viewers consider sexist. Aurora does not like the idea of being a princess destined to live unhappily in an Arranged Marriage to a man she doesn't even know, effectively preceding Disney's first "real" Rebellious Princess by three whole decades. The fairies are all portrayed as competent women who provide necessary help for the prince, and the villain, Maleficent, is also female, meaning that most of the film is driven by women. None of the fairies, nor Maleficent, function primarily to act as a love interest or to provide gratuitous fanservice. All three of the fairies have distinctive personalities that don't compromise their strength — Fauna being the nice one does not stop her from saving the day, Flora liking a pink dress does not stop her from being a badass, and Merryweather being a tomboy does not make her superior to the other two nor does it make her inferior. Lastly, the gender of the main characters is totally incidental in all cases and not remarked upon. Instead, they all work unfailingly alongside each other rather than squabbling (the blue-vs-pink debate notwithstanding).
  • Fanon:
    • As Merryweather 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.
    • In fan-works, Aurora is often not fond of being called "Aurora". As a result, Phillip often calls her "Briar Rose" in private.
    • After the events of the film, Aurora suffers from insomnia and frequent nightmares.
    • Some fans like to attribute any What an Idiot! moments (forgetting to block the chimney, leaving Aurora alone) to the curse itself influencing them to do so - ensuring that Maleficent would discover them before the deadline.
  • 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)
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • 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.
    • Fauna thinks Maleficent isn't "too happy". We eventually find out why.
  • 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 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.
    • Phillip's "It's the 14th century!" becomes even funnier in light of the "Current Year!" meme.
    • Flora, Merryweather and Fauna wear the respective colors later worn by Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Let’s not get started on all those Maleficent fans and her role in the film being Vindicated by History.
  • Memetic Loser: Aurora sadly, given that she's in a coma for a chunk of the movie. She's typically attacked for being the weakest or most passive Disney Princess.
  • 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.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • The noise of Maleficent's staff tapping off the ground, because a) it usually means she's about to dish out some delicious villainy, and b) it's the same noise she makes when she's a dragon.
    • Mary Costa showing off her beautiful soprano voice as Aurora sings "I wonder..."
  • Narm: The Stock Sound Effect of Dopey's sobbing from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is reused for Aurora's when she arrives in the castle. It's not painfully bad when she's onscreen, at least, but once it cuts to the fairies and they start talking over it, it's pretty hard not to envision Dopey himself sitting there crying instead of Aurora, and that just takes all the seriousness and tragedy out of the scene. Besides, it’s clearly obvious that it’s a male voice in falsetto (presumably either Eddie Collins or Jimmy MacDonald) and not Mary Costa.
  • 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.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Maleficent, by virtue of being by far the most entertaining and memorable part of the film, gets many people rooting for her just because she's that cool, especially compared to the fairly bland and vanilla Aurora and Phillip.
  • 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.
  • Signature Scene: The epic confrontation between Prince Phillip and dragon-form Maleficent.
  • Signature Song: "Once Upon A Dream" of course. Although there aren't that many other songs in the movie.
  • Something Completely Different: Well, not quite. But this is a unique entry in the pre-Oliver & Company Disney animated film canon. 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 '30s cuteness seen in Snow White or the '50s-sitcom gloss seen in Cinderella. Compared to Disney's other "classic" films, Sleeping Beauty looks more like something made independently by Don Bluth (which is fitting, since his first job at Disney was on this film) or Rankin/Bass. You might even call it the The Lord of the Rings of its time, especially since High Fantasy was in very short supply in 1950s America.
  • Stock Parody Jokes: Aurora is a narcoleptic. The joke has even made itself into Ralph Breaks the Internet.
  • Superlative Dubbing: The 1959 Latin American Spanish dub - the acting is almost perfect. However, it was redubbed in 2001 and... Well...
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The close-up shot of Aurora when she first wakes up looks really weird, and perhaps even a bit creepy.
    • On top of that, Aurora's overall appearance throughout the film looks For clarity, she's a fifteen-borderlining-sixteen-year-old girl, yet her height, bodily proportions, and even her voice are consistent of that of a woman in her twenties. But then, fourteen-year-old Snow White's proportions weren't that much better either...
  • 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 are cut out to leave behind only the archetypes. That is if you believe they are the focus of the movie in the first place.
  • 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, who praised the visuals but criticized for feeling too similar and/or inferior to Snow White and Cinderella. 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.
    • As far as feminist theory goes, the movie was once seen as a typical "Prince rescues Princess" flick with the female lead having no agency of her own. While Aurora is still seen as one of the flatter Disney Princesses, it's now common to view this movie as Feminist Fantasy once one remembers the other four main female leads. Maleficient is the mistress of all evil and far more powerful than most Disney villains. Prince Philip meanwhile is guided by the three Fairies who in turn have their own individual quirks, ambitions and dynamics outside that of any male. It's still uncommon to find female leads that don't end up in love, or are at least somewhat elderly, so there's a sentiment that Dinsey was ahead of the curb at the time, even if unintentionally. Most importantly is the fact that the fairies who give Philip the powers needed to smite Malificent, who would have clearly won were it not for the magical aid. In essence, Philip acts as more of a proxy for a fight between the fairies and Maleficent, and their cooperation brings her down.
  • 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.
      • Maleficent herself has a little of this - she knows how dumb her minions are, you'd think someone as (otherwise) smart as she is would have been a little more hands-on with the search.
    • 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. It's lampshaded almost immediately after they discover she's gone.
      Fauna: Oh, why did we leave her alone?!
    • That's to say nothing of their earlier slip when they were preparing for Aurora's birthday surprise, only for Merryweather and Flora to argue over the color of her new dress. This precipitates in a magic duel that sees their magic go up the chimney, the one place they neglected to seal shut before using their wands and thus blowing their cover.
  • The Woobie: Poor Aurora. In many scenes, she looks like a kicked puppy.


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