Friday, November 6, 2009

unruly review: sleeping beauty

Have you seen Sleeping Beauty lately?

And I don't mean "have you bought the Aurora socks from the Target dollar bins"?

I mean, have you actually watched it? Because OY.

Here's the Cliff's Notes version: bad witch curses princess to die, princess is raised by fairies in the woods, bad witch's curse comes true anyway, princess goes into a magical coma, dude shows up to smooch her, she wakes up, he slays a dragon, and they live Happily Ever After.

I don't think I'm giving anything away, but the story is fairly simple and very old. Disney didn't make this one up, which you can tell, because there aren't nearly enough characters to make it marketable.

Here are the fairies:

They provide a minor amount of comic relief. The third one is actually named "Merriwether", or "Merry Weather". I mean, they don't call her "Nuclear Waste". That's just me, trying to fill in the gap after Flora and Fauna in a very '09 sort of way.

And there's the villain, the wicked Maleficent.

But the main character, of course, is Sleeping Beauty, nee Aurora, code name Briar Rose.

Got that?

Disney's version of Sleeping Beauty was took nearly 10 years to make and was released in 1959, so the timing is slow, the music is classical, and the effects are like what an old white guy would assume a drug trip felt like.

And Aurora herself is modeled after a pin-up of the time, Evelyn Kaufman, of whom not a single image can be Googled. I'm betting Wikipedia made that one up. But I'm not falling for it!

Here she is with her forest friends. If the movie was made today, they would each have a name, wardrobe, and action figure. But back then, they were just dreamers.

When she turns 16, Aurora is lured by the evil Maleficent into pricking her finger on a spinning wheel. How gullible *are* the Disney princesses? And then she "dies".

Which means she sleeps in her princess dress and crown, hair perfectly coiffed, waiting for her true love's kiss. Or maybe that's Shrek. I forget.

So the Prince shows up. But that doesn't work so well at first.

And then, finally, after a bunch of boring stuff during which I came downstairs to send out query letters, he kisses her.

It always makes me really, really uncomfortable.

I mean, how do you explain to your tiny tot that it's just a story, that she shouldn't spend her whole life waiting for a man to "wake her up"? I know all the archetypes that go into this fairytale, how it describes and outlins womanhood throughout history, and sexual awakening, and Antigone, and HE BLINDED HIMSELF and all that. But I still have trouble watching it with my daughter, tacitly agreeing through my presence that it's acceptable for guys to kiss strangers who are asleep.

But I'm going to hop off my soapbox now and go back to making fun of a Disney movie that my daughter apparently loves.

Oh, wait. I already did.

When they make movies these days, they go to so much trouble to do research, marketing, surveys. They make sure that the characters are as appealing as possible to as many consumers as possible. But in Sleeping Beauty's day, ol' Walt Disney just did what he wanted to do. Which makes a misogynistic, slow-ass movie, in my opinion.

But it's making the Biscuit happy while she's sick, so who am I to judge?

Disclaimer: It's not my favorite movie, and I don't personally like princesses at all, and I love to lambast anything that'll hold still, but I'm eternally grateful to the friends who leant Sleeping Beauty to us. You guys are the best!


Anonymous said...

I agree with you! I think I maybe watched it once or twice as a kids - I recall liking it to a point as a wee little girl, but than I remember it always lost my attention so I can't imagine what it would be like now. Cinderella on the other hand I watched over and over.....

Margaret said...

I don't care how weird the movie is I still love it. I will watch it with your daughter lol

Alissa said...

I always like the witch in Sleeping Beauty. Yes, I was a weird child, who grew up to be a not entirely normal adult. I'm not a big fan of Disney movies in general. The best part usually is the villain.

leigh said...

All very astute observations. It's scary when you stop and think about what your children are watching. Half the time my 4 year old aspires to act like a sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea.

That's some messed up s*it!


Jennifer said...

I think that hat is supposed to kinda look like devil horns.

Missy said...

I don't ever remember watching this movie. I must have because I can remember thinking, "Dude, that is totally creepy that he's kissing a girl while she's passed out." It's like a bad frat party. ah memories...all right I lied I've never passed out at a frat party.

Trixie said...

I agree! I watched a few different ones, but this one is so not my favorite Disney Movie.

Leslie said...

Snort, snerk, spit tea on the monitor, thanks for that!

nicole said...

My littlest girls love Sleeping Booty (named by my 3 year old last year when she first saw the movie.

My 6 year old questioned everything!

You must go watch Peter Pan now! Nothing is more uncomfortable than watching 3 little girls dance around singing "why is the red man red?" and then trying to explain it to them.

Shannon said...

I havent been on SITS in about a year, and decided to go to it yesterday. You were featured. Then I spent about 2 hours last night on your blog. I have 3 words for you...

I love you.

In a non-stalker way.

Ok ok thats 8 words.

Emile said...

Yeah, I let Sophia watch Cinderella and now she keeps telling me that she wants to get married,...awesome. I told her she could marry me for the time being, lol.

Emile said...

Yeah, I let Sophia watch Cinderella and now she keeps telling me that she wants to get married,...awesome. I told her she could marry me for the time being, lol.

paperbeads said...

You are absolutley hillarious & right on point. It amazes me looking back on the disney movies which I thought entertained me as a kid!! Don't get me wrong I love disney movies but I will stick with the lion king and the little mermaid... My personal favorites!

Merry Mack said...

We are a little princess obsessed here too and I have the same quandary every time I read a princess story. Will she grow up and think all she has to do is what for a handsome prince? And if you ask me, these prince types are a little too handsome.

K a b l o o e y said...

Had to sneak and read this when my kid was asleep because I'm trying REALLLLLY hard to forestall the inevitable princesses crapstorm that I know is coming. But this post was hi-larious. Love the captions and thought bubbles.

urfaqhesse said...

A non-boyfriend once kissed me while i was sleeping; i am STILL grossed out. That was over a decade ago. Some things never stop being creepy.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...


Anonymous said...

In the original Grimm version, the prince doesn't wake her up with a kiss. He wakes her up with a rape.