Sleeping Beauty

For my essay question on ‘Disneysque’ i chose to concentrate on ‘Sleeping Beauty’.
I will be looking on how this movie falls in the ‘Disneysque’ category of movies, and also talk a little more generally on factors that that apply to other movies as well as this one.

First of all a little bit of information on the movie:

  • Sleeping beauty came out in 1959.
  • It was the last animated feature to be based on a fairy tale that was produced by Walt Disney before his death.
  • Also was the last cel animated feature to be inked by hand before the xerography came along.

The next thing i will be looking at is  what makes this movie a “Disneysque” movie:

  • Names
  • Character Appearance
  • Personalities
  • Music
  • Story line


  • The princess was given the name Aurora which means ‘Dawn’ in Latin.
  •  The evil fairy on the other hand was named Maleficent which in Latin means ‘harmfully malicious’.

Starting with their names, they describe their personality and instantly give us an inside to their characters.
We can imagine that the princess Aurora is pure and innocent in contrast with Maleficent for who we instantly think of evil and harm.


Beautiful young woman
Petit figure
Golden hair, red lips, violet eyes
Wears pretty dresses – beautiful ball gown when discovers she is a princess

Tall, slender
Pale green skin with a narrow face and a prominent chin
Yellow eyes,  horn shaped headdress – symbol of her dark magic
Wears a dark black and purple robe

These two characters have very specific attributes that immediately set their part in the movie.

Wanting to show an evil, villain character, Disney in all movies makes them appear unpleasant, scary  and very negative.

On the other hand trying to show the main good character they make them have a very appealing appearance , beautifully-looking with very pretty facial characteristics.


Loves to sing and dance in the forest with all the animals
Full of joy and happiness
Young, innocent, kind,  sophisticated
Sweet, romantic
Anxious to learn more about the world, naive
Enchanted by prince Philip

Evil, ruthless, spiteful
Will do whatever it takes to achieve her goals
Thinks herself is above everyone


  • Music is a very important aspect of the movie, as the characters let there feelings out through their singing.
  • One of the most famous singing scenes in the movie is with the song ‘Once Upon a Dream’.  This is the scene where Aurora is singing in the forest, surrounded by animals, telling them how she dreams of love.  There Prince Philip sees her, and joins in the singing, making her dream come true, and falls in love with her.

‘Once Upon a Dream’  – Aurora singing in the forest with Prince Philip

Story line:

We first see the appearance of Maleficent very distinct as she comes in during the christening of Aurora.

Very dramatically she is presented by a gust of wind, lightning and green flames.

Pretending that she is not offended by not being invited, she gives a gift to Aurora; she will grow up in beauty and grace but on her sixteenth birthday she will “prick her finger on a spindle of a spinning wheel and die!”

Marryweather, one of the three fairies, who had not yet given a gift to Aurora, weakens the curse so that she falls into a deep sleep, until a kiss from her true love awakens her.

Here we see another supernatural power trying to retain the harm that has happened.  The solution to this problem is love.  This is  typical action that happens in the Disney movies.  When the princess is in trouble or has been harmed;  unable to help herself, a prince comes along to the rescue, where they fall in love and live happily ever after.  He needs to pass some sort of barrier in order to save the princess, which in this case, is face the evil fairy who turnes into a a huge dark, furious dragon.  With the help of magic from the fairies he manages to throw his sword in the dragons heart and so he dies.  He then run to kiss the princess, who wakes up and they leave happily ever after..

  The 3 Good Fairies:

These 3 characters were some of the most difficult projects the Disney animators had to do.  They worked a lot on getting them the right appearance and personality.  Making them sweet older ladies, with three different personalities that work well together, and made sure none of them is overshadowing each other.  And of course are always appealing to the audience.

Theses three characters were very important as they are they bring all the magic and joy to the movie with there interesting personalities and abilities.

 Some of their attributes are:

  • Committed to doing only good.
  • Had no apparent weakness at all.
  • Undoubtedly very caring and gentle but they had to be more than just sweet and loving.
  • Had strength, purpose and a certain aggressiveness at some times.
  • The drawings showed them as cute, with wisdom and very appealing

  • Influencing the others
  • More aggressive personality
  • Full of ideas – feels that they have to be the best ideas
  • Feels a sense of responsibility
Better ideas that Flora during crisis – caused arguing with Flora


  • Impulsive, quick to act
  • Interested in little things, how things looked
  • Volunteered to do the housework
  • Loves to dance, is happy, expresses herself
  • Her feelings would be on the surface


  • Constantly smiling
  • Loved everybody
  • Thought beautiful thoughts
  • Worried the most out of the three
  • Had trouble keeping her concentration
  • Tried to smooth any conflict between the other two

pink versus blue – fairies –  Flora and Marryweather fighting over Aurora’s dress

In conclusion to everything i’ve written i believe that  the audience of these sort of films, especially if its kids, shape an image in there minds of what evil or good looks like, or what they should expect from life; and it always has the same main attributes as the “disneysque” movies.
Expecting the prince to come save you from any sort of trouble you might be into.
Setting your life goal to finding love.

Avoiding anything or anyone that covers the appearance description of the ‘evil characters’ in these movies. Or being more drawn to people who fall in the description of the ‘good characters’.  Even though in real life the situation and the personalities of people could be reversed.

In order to not only keep one aspect of viewing things, its best to keep a variety of movies and not only concentrate in the ones that fall under the ‘Disneysque’ category.


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2 Responses to Sleeping Beauty

  1. stephenrhead says:

    I was interested in your research on Sleeping Beauty because when I was doing my own research for this essay topic I watched Sleeping Beauty and The Princess and the Frog side by side. These two films are exactly 50 years apart and it shows. Sleeping Beauty is very much a film of the 50’s with its rather insipid heroine who is a pawn in the storyline rather than controlling the action. The main protagonists to Maleficant are the 3 good fairies who watch over Princess Aurora but can’t prevent her from being cursed but then do their best to protect her. So basically, Princess Aurora is a helpless victim who depends on others to rescue her from her enchantment (including the prince). On the other hand, the heroine in Princess and the Frog takes a different line. She tries to help herself at all times. She is pro-active rather than relying on someone else to sort out life’s problems. She is depicted as a hard worker who is trying to achieve her goal of opening a restaurant. Of course, this being Disney, she still has to get her happy ending but in her case it seems more earned and deserving. Princess Aurora and Princess Tiana are girls of their times.

    • anastasia says:

      Yes watching them together is a good way to compare them and see all the changes. I found it very interesting how the storyline is common to each other, as with all disney princess movies – having the princess, the prince, the villain, and of course the happy ending. But at the same time the way that the princesses and generally the characters are handling the situations is very different indeed as the years have passed.

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