Arguably the most ambitious film Walt created in his entire career, Sleeping Beauty is truly a sight to behold. Spending the entire 1950s in development, innovating new techniques (Super Technirama) and pushing the envelope in every aspect of its production, the film ended being the most expensive endeavour in Walt’s career. It nearly bankrupted the studio when it premiered, and it signalled the end of the ink & paint era for the studio (they would instead go on to use the newly created Xerox technology, a less expensive tool, in future films), but Walt had truly created a unique movie. From its lavish and opulent backgrounds to its spectacularly designed characters, the film’s ambitiousness is limitless. The gorgeous animation and the breathtaking colours envelop the viewer throughout the movie and never let go. Also, accompanying the perfect technical achievement is a wonderful fairy tale full of magic, romance, evil and a wondrous Tchaikovsky score that holds everything together. The unforgettable characters make an impression on you and even if many have criticized the title heroine as ‘passive’, I think it serves the story right and advances the plot in a wonderful way. No film, before or after, has matched the sheer marvelousness of this one. Rating: 5/5.
Next Week: Animated Classic #17 Review: One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)