Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sleeping Beauty by Cannon Movie Tales

Another entry in the Cannon Movie Tale collection, Sleeping Beauty takes a loooong look at the difficulties of giving birth to a princess. In fact, the buildup to the princess being born, and the Christening/gift-bestowing, take up the majority of the movie, leaving about 20 minutes for Rosebud, age 16, to prick her finger, fall asleep, and get rescued.

The Queen (Morgan Fairchild) is so sad that she can't have a child, until one day an troublemaking elf, determined to redeem himself, conjures up a fertility potion (which the King almost drinks because the Queen won't tell him what it's for). After much rigmarole involving the gathering of ingredients, and with a nod to Rip Van Winkle and other fairy tales, the princess is at long last born. The King and Queen invite everyone in the land to come celebrate their daughter's birth, but when the cook goes to prepare the meal, he discovers that there aren't enough golden plates for all the fairies, so they knock the Red Fairy off the list (cause nobody's ever heard of her).

Everyone gathers, as you would expect (except the wisdom fairy dawdles for some reason, which of course turns out to be for the best). I have to say--the wealth fairy? What a rip off. The King and Queen are already rich. That's the fairy they should have dissed.

So then the Red Fairy shows up, all fiery and devil-like, and curses and cackles. Then the White Fairy gives her gift, the modification of the curse, and takes off without answering any questions, in spite of the king calling after her for help. The elf who helped the queen get pregnant whispers to her to burn all the spinning wheels. Which they do, in the hope that it will help.

Fast forward 16 years (at an hour into the production) and Princess Rosebud is in the garden, singing about flowers. Her nursemaid comes and finds her and lets slip that although the kingdom is in tatters now, they used to make cloth! For some reason, nobody has the idea to trade for any kind of clothing until Rosebud suggests it. So the king and queen go off on an expedition for cloth, leaving Rosebud alone with her nursemaid and all her guards and the elf to watch over her.

She immediately gets into all kinds of trouble:

And pricks her finger, falls asleep, the White Fairy puts the castle to sleep, and a random wandering prince shows up and rescues her, 100 years later. The end.

I had, ahem, a couple issues with the pacing of this version of Sleeping Beauty: a whole lot of build-up for very little character development, particularly of Rosebud and the... prince... Prince... somebody. Even so, it's good light entertainment if you want something to watch with the kids or something that doesn't require your entire attention. It's fun to watch for the occasional reference to other fairy tales, and although none of the musical numbers are particularly strong, they aren't bad, either.

The DVD isn't currently available in Region 1 formatting, although you can get it in Region 2 formatting on amazon. However, you can watch it for free on hulu, and most things are worth watching at that price!

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