Growing up, I loved all the classic Disney cartoons, including the fairy tale movies. I even had all the comic books, which I cherished until they inevitably disintegrated into paper dust. When I visited Disney World with my daughter some years ago, I collected a lot of the figurines. My daughter owns the entire movie collection as it existed when she was growing up ... on videotape.
One of my favorites was "Sleeping Beauty." It does, of course, suffer from all the anti-feminist flaws of a fairy tale that depends on the impossibly beautiful heroine being saved by a "prince charming." My daughter -- a thoroughly modern woman -- would be the first to agree with that. The other day, I saw the new Disney/Pixar movie, "Brave," which doesn't depend on romance at all -- in fact, it is rather anti-romance. My daughter, who has a serious boyfriend, nevertheless cheered when I told her about it. I brought that girl up right.
But there's also something innocent in the old Disney adaptations that is so different from what children encounter growing up today. While "Brave" is beautifully drawn and wonderfully animated, I find that I do not like the modern, more three-dimensional animations as much as the old classics. The newer films are so busy, some of the characters are so menacing, and the action moves so quickly that I wonder whether little children are not sometimes actually frightened by those films.
While thinking of something else altogether tonight, I came across this video, which is clipped from Disney's "Sleeping Beauty," and I was immediately struck by the contrast. I was comforted to find that I was not merely being sentimental: the old film is still as I remembered it, simply beautiful in its beautiful simplicity. Once upon a Dream.
"Once Upon a Dream"
from Walt Disney's "Sleeping Beauty"