Today, I would like to go back to the basics. My love for movies was born at a very early age, when I saw Disney’s Sleeping Beauty for the first time. It was the first animated film I really loved, Snow White didn’t have much effect on me, apart from the Evil Queen. Sleeping Beauty was a shock on all levels.
First of all, the characters are just fantastic. My preference did not really go towards Aurora, the blond princess (although she’s by far the best Disney princess). No, the ones I liked, and still do, were Prince Phillip (my first movie love) and Maleficient. These two are the greatest couple in the history of animated film! Remember that scene when Maleficient chains Phillip to a wall and nags him, mocking the rules of the fairy tale itself? And that famous line: “For the first time in sixteen years, I shall sleep well.” What a wonderful villain! Not to mention her first entrance: the lightening strikes and there she appears, out of a green flame. Using Tchaïkovski’s music was a stroke of genius: it provides the necessary musical quality for us to feel really chilled.

The great thing about Sleeping Beauty is that it achieves a great balance between a romantic story and a pleasurable feeling of fear. The first part of the film when Phillip and Aurora meet in the forest is very endearing. Aurora is daydreaming. Her “forest” friends – an owl, squirrel and birds – steal Phillip’s clothes and dress up as him. Aurora dances with them and while she continues to sing “Once upon a dream”, the real Prince takes their place and finishes the dance with the princess in hiding. Terribly romantic, the scene is also beautifully crafted: observe the different movements of the camera which allow us to feel how united the two are and yet how alone in that great forest… A paradise soon to be lost…

This is what makes this animated film so much more appealing than all the others, because it is also artistically impressive. The entire aesthetics of the film have remained imprinted in my mind. My favorite scenes involve Maleficient, most of the time. Her hypnotizing of Aurora is terrifying: we follow the princess slowly walking towards her death. Equally horrific is the curse she places on the castle: once a colorful and lively place, it is now dark and lifeless, and subject to Maleficient’s need for destruction. Brambles rise from the ground with lethal thorns that remind us of the equally lethal spindle of the spinning wheel. Sleeping Beauty offers a grand spectacle of the fight between good and evil. The three fairies help Phillip during his escape: every element used against him is magically turned into something harmless and beautiful: the rocks meant to kill him become lovely bubbles, the arrows aimed at him metamorphose into flowers, the lava into a charming rainbow… and the most awe-inspiring of all: the transformation of Maleficient’s raven into a statue.
The final combat is the high point of the film. From Maleficient’s transformation into a dragon, the sky around burning with a yellow and green fire, to her death, wonderfully pictured by the black mark on the ground stabbed by Phillip’s sword, the whole scene is epic.

Let’s not forget the comic aspect of the film. The three fairies, Flora, Merryweather and Fauna, enchant us with their failed attempt at baking a cake the non-magical way. The two kings Stefan and Hubert share some laughs together and make us laugh with them: these two are always drinking or eating…
Finally, the romance achieves its peak when Phillip kisses Aurora and she wakes from her deadly sleep. Then, they reunite as they had met: through a dance. In the palace’s ballroom, they dance until they are lifted to the skies. Before the story ends and the book is closed, the image freezes them in their eternal waltz. As a kid, my friend and I used to argue on the color that her dress took when the story ended. Was it the color of the rose or of a blue lily? Take a guess…
Viddy Well!

Laissez un commentaire

« »