As a parent of little ones, it’s always tricky to think of exciting activities to do in the school holidays. My daughter and I adore all things Disney, therefore it is a bonus if the activities have a Disney theme! So this half term holiday I was thrilled to see that Cineworld was showing the Disney classic ‘Sleeping Beauty’ as part of their ‘Disney princess season’.
We went to a few of these screenings last year also, of ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Tangled’ (which is my little girl’s favourite!).
The tickets for these events are such great value, at only £2.50 a seat, so it is a lot cheaper than going to a screening of a regular cinema showing. This is much appreciated by me, as a mum on a tight budget!
Never one to miss an opportunity to dress-up, my daughter wore her beloved Aurora dress that I purchased from Sainsbury’s a few years ago for world book day, as well as a matching crown headband! I joined in the fun with a slogan tee from small shop Magic Thunder Press.
It was an early showing, as movies for juniors always are, at 10am, but thankfully I managed to get the children washed, fed, dressed and on a bus (which is a small miracle these days considering the state of our local bus service!), and we made it to the cinema just in time. It was nice to see a longer trailer for the upcoming live-action Dumbo film, which we are all looking forward to seeing!
When we arrived in the cinema screen I was pleasantly surprised to see the theatre around half-full of happy families (these screenings can often be quite empty, which baffles me somewhat as I adore the classic Disney films so much). It was also nice to see a good mix of girls and boys, proving that the classic fairytales of Disney appeal to all.
The film began and I was immediately reminded what a beautiful film ‘Sleeping Beauty’ really is; both visually and with it’s lovely choral soundtrack. It really is a delight and quite different to the other Disney films. I also love the setting of Medieval England, as it is a time of such colourful fun, with all of the exaggerated outfits and jesters with their musical instruments. The element of magic, provided by the three fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather is also really lovely; from the comedic way their interact with each-other to the little sprinkles of ‘fairy dust’ that surround them (and burst out of the chimney in the ‘make it pink, make it blue!’ scene).
Briar Rose/Aurora herself is such a beauty to see and I think the animators really did a lovely job making her look so graceful, yet still youthful and naive. And Mary Costa’s operatic voice is breathtaking as the young princess glides her way through the forest, interacting with all of the cute little animals.
Being a real softie, I often find myself getting choked-up with emotion during basically every Disney film I watch! But there is something particularly special in the romantic scene of Prince Phillip and Princess Aurora dancing together at the end of the film. I love that as the movie ends, the crowd and grand hall melt away to reveal the two lovebirds literally dancing on clouds, focussing only on each-other. It is such a beautiful sentiment.
Another stand-our scene for me is the epic battle between Prince Phillip and Malificent when she transforms into a huge black dragon. She is so large and intimidating yet still Phillip carries on, and shows us what the power of love can allow us to overcome. I loved how the three fairies were by Prince Phillip’s side, helping him along the way, and just when it seemed like all hope was lost, they helped him to defeat the gigantic beast and make the kingdom safe at last, as well as being able to finally race to the side of his one true love! When the dragon collapsed to her demise, it really did make me think of my favourite Disney parks show ‘Fantasmic’!
Throughout the movie, I kept finding myself thinking of Walt Disney and how he and his clever team of animators brought this traditional fairytale to life, and how he then chose to name the castle centrepiece to the (then newly opened) Disneyland in Anaheim. Having visited this castle myself, as well as the one in Disneyland Paris, I have many fond memories walking through them and feeling the fairytale fantasy magic that surround them. Although not greatly received when it originally opened back in 1959, I believe that ‘Sleeping Beauty’ is still such an important part of Disney movie history, as well as the Disney parks around the world.
I think it is so good that cinemas are still showing these classic Disney films for new generations of children to see; I remember seeing a couple of re-released Disney classics on the big screen when I was a small child, namely ‘Snow white and the seven dwarfs’ and ‘Bambi’. Disney films now are so radically different to these old classics, with their almost 3D looking CGI animation, and fast-paced storylines, I think it is more important than ever that children get to see these classic films and see where animation all started. Fingers-crossed the children will come away with a new found love for these classics and a want to watch them again and again, and maybe one day show them to their own children! Yes these Disney films are all available on streaming services like ‘Disney Life’ and dvds, but there is nothing like seeing a film on the big screen, the way it was originally intended. As for my own little sleeping beauty, she adored seeing the story at the cinema and it was lovely to see her re-discover the film all over again and hear her chatting about it so excitedly! (Her baby brother managed to sleep through much of it but seemed quite awestruck by the dragon at the end!)
If you have little ones, or are just a huge fan of the Disney classics, like me, I urge you to get down to your local Cineworld and see if they are showing these beloved Disney tales. It really is special seeing them at the cinema and re-igniting your love for Disney all over again.