If ever a film were to come along and inspire me to revive my blog, it would be this one. Not because it was good, but because it so horrifically missed the mark I had no choice but to scream about it. I’m not going to pretend Sleeping Beauty was my favourite Disney movie (Lion King). It wasn’t even my favourite princess movie (Little Mermaid), but I did grow up in the Disney generation and this could have been something really spectacular. The problem is: it wasn’t.
Sleeping Beauty is a rough story to tell from any vantage point. Girl spends half the story asleep and the other half a baby. I can see the challenge that decorated director Robert Stromberg (PotC: At World’s End, Hunger Games, Pan’s Labyrinth) faced in taking on Maleficent’s story, but the fundamental truth he (or maybe executive producer, Angelina Jolie) failed to grasp is that Maleficent is an evil, unsympathetic, bitch. She’s jealous of the baby’s beauty and inherited power, she drunk with her own, and she wants nothing more than to rain suffering down on innocents. Her miserable existence is all there is there. She is a brutally uncaring piece of human (re: faerie) garbage and that’s why we love to hate her. But no, Stromberg, no Jolie, you had to take one of the best Disney villains of all time and turn her into nothing more than another Elsa from Frozen, another Elphaba from Wicked. You gave her back a humanity that wasn’t your right to give and you should be ashamed.
Moving on for a moment, we’re going to talk about the talent because I want you to know what you are truly getting into when buying a ticket to this movie. When purchasing your way into the theatre to see this you are willingly subjecting yourself to the most average man on the planet, Sharlto Copley, who was great as the most average man in the world in District 9 (Wickus) but doesn’t quite cut it in either his sympathetic nor later unsympathetic roles. If that wasn’t enough to keep you glued to your seat then try the generic brand version of Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, her younger sister who plays Aurora. Now, I know when I’m getting a knock-off, I’m a pretty seasoned veteran of the silver screen and the fact of that matter is that little Elle actually did better than expected compared to her ankle-high-barred co-stars. She’s not the actress that Dakota is and likely she won’t be (who am I to say) but she’s precious and all she really needed to do was smile and be precious since her character is essentially dead for half the movie (more like 5 minutes but really there’s not much to poor SB when she’s awake either). Let’s keep going because Prince Phillip is a good one. You won’t know him from anything because he’s some pretty Australian they probably got from the same store that makes Liam Hemsworth and Jesse Spencer but what he has been in is probably the worst film that I have ever had the displeasure of scraping across my retinas: the remake of Blue Lagoon. Now finally, the crow (who is a character, trust me) is played by Sam Riley who hasn’t really been in anything worth while but bless his little heart, was a big redeeming point for the film. Props to you, Sam. In fact, it seems the almost immediately ran out of cash after buying a big ticket item like Jolie that the only other person of note was Imelda Staunton (Professor Dolores Umbridge, Harry Potter series) who you still hate so much from Harry Potter you can’t really enjoy as a little annoying faerie.
Now that I’m done grinding these poor actors into the metaphorical dirt I’m ready to come back to the soggy old bus tire they called a plot. I’m going to put it under a break so if you don’t want to be spoiled which spoilers: you do because this movie really isn’t worth your hard earned dollars besides the costume porn, you don’t have to be.