Monday, May 26, 2014

Interested in "Maleficent"? First see Disney's masterpiece "Sleeping Beauty"!

©1959 Walt Disney Studios

This afternoon I went to see "Sleeping Beauty" (1959) at the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio. I hadn't seen it since I was a child. My god! What a beautiful film. The art is simply GORGEOUS!  The backgrounds are miraculous. Eyvind Earle was the illustrator and art director. No other Disney film before or after can touch this one in design. The brilliant Mary Blair did some amazing concept art for this project.

Art by Mary Blair  ©1959 Walt Disney Studios
Art by Mary Blair  ©1959 Walt Disney Studios


Stills from the film ©1959 Walt Disney Studios

From a feminist stand point, yes, The Princess (Aurora/Briar Rose) is a nightmare of a character. She is little more than beautiful and young - with the usual Disneyesque impossibly small waist. She falls in love with the first man she meets, and we are to believe it is True Love. Then she gets in a fix and the prince saves her with the standard kiss. Blah blah blah... The anti-feminist symbolism abounds! She cannot live without the love of a man, yeah, we get it...   

But the film is otherwise incredibly feminist! The main characters are all female. Women provide all the key plot points, the drama and the comedy. They fight, they win, they lose. The Fairies (Flora, Fauna and Merryweather) are more than just comic relief - they are the driving force of the story! As well, of course, Maleficent.  The princess is really a just a "MacGuffin", to use a Hitchcockian term. She's a motivator for the protagonists, the Fairies, and the antagonist, Maleficent. These are powerful women with no man in site, and no apparent interest in men. They don't need them. Watching this film I felt I'd much rather be one of these fairies than that lame Aurora - tho she did have fabulous hair, I'll give her that. I recall, even as a child, it was the fairies that captured my imagination, not the beautiful princess. And lets be clear, although the Prince's kiss did wake Aurora up, it was Merryweather's spell, and the hard work of all the fairies combined, that made it even possible.

Three elderly women are the heroes of this story. But the true heroes of this film are the brilliant Disney artists.

©1959 Walt Disney Studios

©1959 Walt Disney Studios

©1959 Walt Disney Studios

©1959 Walt Disney Studios

Monday, April 7, 2014



I love Neil deGrasse Tyson, he's like the coolest a nerd can be. Sometimes when I'm watching COSMOS I think he's gonna start shaking those hips and break out into "You ain't nothing but a hound dog"! Speaking of COSMOS -- does anyone else find that show kind of depressing? I mean, it's absolutely fascinating, but it makes me wonder why am I even bothering with ANYTHING!!! Why am I trying so hard? Who cares if I'm fat or I'm not at the top pf my field -- It's all meaningless!!!! DAMN YOU, deGRASSE TYSON!!!

Monday, January 20, 2014