Some background info (compiled from Wikipedia and imdb and my own knowledge of the movie).
Official Title: Sleeping Beauty
Release: January 29, 1959
Running Time: 75 minutes
Estimated Cost: $8,500,000 (1959) ($62,665,446.74 (2009))
Estimated Revenue: $36,469,805 (1959) ($266,568,915.56 (2008))
Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Like any good Christian parents, Aurora's parents christian her and through a big party to celebrate. But after an expected visit from the Three Good Fairies, Maleficent crashes and is pee'd off. She places Aurora under a curse that before her 16th birthday, she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die. The Three Good Fairies, still having one more present to give, change the curse so she will just be put into a deep sleep and only awoken by true love's kiss. The Fairies give up magic to take care of Aurora in hiding.
Just under 16 years later, Aurora (now Briar-Rose) is almost full grown and while in the forest, falls in love with a young man, who is later revealed as Aurora's betrothed. The Good Fairies fight over how to celebrate Briar- Rose's birthday and use magic - thus cluing Maleficent in to their hidden location.
The Fairies rush Aurora to her parent's castle - making her miss her date with the handsome gentleman caller - Philip. Maleficent finds them, forces Aurora to prick her finger, then captures the love-struck Philip and tortures him. The Good Fairies rescue him and he has to fight through many of Maleficent's traps, including herself as a giant dragon. Philip defeats Maleficent (thanks to the Good Fairies), kisses Aurora and all is revealed that they are actually betrothed.
And they live happily ever after.
There is a lot of background music in this movie (starting to set the stage for the movie/musicals down the road.
Plot Rating: 4 stars out of 5
OMG! This was amazing, I wish I was able to watch this in release order for a better apriciation of how the movie plots of WDAS have evolved. But I've got to say that Maleficent is a wicked bad a$$. She tries to ruin a baby's life because she wasn't invited to a party!
Animation Rating: 5 out of 5
WOW!! The cartoony-ness of Cinderella and other previous releases are gone. The angular faces and sharper contrasting colors really makes this movie pop. WDAS wasn't just learning how to make full length animated movies anymore, they have it! The stylized backdrops (according to Wiki) were full fledged paintings, taking days and weeks to create (thank you multi-angle panes and the new "Xeroxing" of the animation onto cells). I hope that this represents a changing point in the WDAS history, as the shorts are far behind and the renaissances is still decades away, WDAS has found a way to tell good stories and give it its own look.
I do feel disappointing though that even after over 20 years, WDAS is still filming live actors performing the entire movie. At least that's better than Snow, where WDAS animators were literally tracing the film of the the live actors.
The Test of Time:
Aurora has 4 Kingdoms! (Disneyland (Anaheim); Disneyland Paris; Tokyo Disneyland; and Disneyland Hong Kong. I would say she is very much ingrained in our society. (Although I have to say, I understand why the original Disneyland pays homage to her - as the film and the park were in the works at the same time; but why not use one of the other princesses some where else (as was started with the second park in Orlando with Cindy's castle). Snow White doesn't have a home and as we move towards more of the modern parks, why doesn't Bell (who's Beast's castle is actually one of the prettiest) have a kingdom; or Ariel (Eric's castle has some great architecture); or even the Palace of Agraba (from Aladin). I understand that by the time Eisner took over they didn't want to make mistakes so stuck with what they knew would work. I hope the new Disneyland Singapore uses a new movie castle.)
Sleeping Beauty was one of my least favorites as a child. I watched it once, and never again. At the time I didn't like the lack of songs or the fact that Maleficent really didn't need to be so mean. But now, both of these things create a great movie that really shows off what WDAS is capable of.
(Should be) One Hundred and One Dalmatians (but because of this movie going into the vault in just a few days, I pushed this very high on my Netflix queue.)