One of the classic Disney movies that I grew up with was the story of Sleeping Beauty.
What most people do not realize, however, is just how troubled this young princess truly was...
But for starters, let me share with you the best line of the entire movie, just 'cause I think it is wicked awesome!
It happens when Prince Phillip is fighting his way, tooth and nail, to rescue the dear, sweet, narcoleptic beauty who is stowed away in the highest room of the tallest tower.
He has escaped the evil sorceress, Malificent's, dungeon. He fought his way out of the castle, and thwarted the hordes of evil minions who tried to stop him. He hacked his way through a jungle of razor sharp thorns, (probably the original version of barbed wire fencing used to cut down on illegal immigration in this particular kingdom), which had magically sprouted up in front of him.
Just as he is riding up to the gates of the castle, where Aurora is sleeping oh so peacefully, the wicked sorceress materializes right before his very eyes...
"Now shall you deal with me, O prince, and all the powers of Hell!"
Seriously, tell me this is not the coolest line ever uttered by a Disney villain! It gives me chills to think about even now...
Ok, maybe those chills aren't produced by the actual line itself...
Maybe it has more to do with the fact that the temperature in my workplace is the equivalent of the average freezer, and I'm wearing a polo that leaves my poor little arms dangling out in the cold...
Malificent proceeds to transform herself into a giant, fire-breathing, dragon, and it's on like donkey kong!
At the incredible climax of this furious battle, Phillip propels his sword straight into the belly of the beast and, amidst the sorceress' terrible shrieks, the viewer witnesses the dragon plummeting to its death.
As the camera zooms in to capture the grisly aftermath, we see that naught but a sword remains, sticking prominently out of a black sooty patch of ground.
This guy is so much better than the last prince I wrote about! Quite the catch.
Oh yeah, she's still in the tower...sleeping.
My lord! If this girl can sleep through an epic battle with a fire-breathing dragon, then how in the world will she ever be on time for her morning work shifts?
I find Aurora to be slightly a slightly problematic princess.
She was, sadly, the original D.A.R.E. poster girl.
I mean, don't get me wrong, she's certainly a sweetheart! There is absolutely no doubt about that.
At the beginning of the movie, the viewer can observe that she's been born into a solid home environment, complete with good parents (a king and queen nonetheless). She probably had the toys that all the kids wanted, and her own pony...
But something went wrong.
It started with the birthday...
Her birthday party was crashed by Malificent, the token antagonist of this film, who is indignant about not getting an invitation.
Hey folks, evil sorceresses like to party too!! Don't hate!
She then proceeds to share with everyone that her feelings are hurt, but that she is going to take the high road, and give Aurora the gift she bought anyway.
Her 'gift', it turns out, is kind of a downer as she informs the party-goers that Aurora will, before her sixteenth birthday prick her finger on a spinning wheel's spindle and die. Hell, try picking up something like that at your local Target department store!
This is, perhaps, why Malificent wasn't invited in the first place, she doesn't really give good gifts...
Uncle Albert bought her a Speak and Spell.
Aunt Ruth got her a couple savings bonds, which probably won't fully mature till the next century, given the current economic climate.
Even cousin Lester brought the head of his little sister's doll...ok, that one wasn't that great either, but it definitely is more useful to a young princess than, you know...death.
Nevertheless, it's because of this threat that the royal family decides to hide their beloved daughter until her sixteenth birthday, so that this horrible prophecy cannot come true.
She is spirited away into the local forest to live with the three royal fairies Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather.
Not only that, but her good old dad, doing what any father would do in this situation, proceeds to burn everyone single spinning wheel in the kingdom.
He probably simultaneously wiped out the spinners trade in the process but... it's actually not a bad thing, because the Industrial Age had to come around one way or another, right?
Poor child. Life can't ever be that simple for a celebrity kid, can it?
The three fairies are kind and good though; they strive admirably to do their best to provide a healthy substitution to Aurora's prior home environment. Throughout the early stages of the movie we see Aurora developing into a beautiful, and promising young lady.
There is only one quirk to her personality that I feel the need to mention, and it is that she seems to be an environmentalist at heart, because she actually has a relationship with the forest creatures...
She actually talks, and interacts with the little cuddly critters!
Now, that isn't such a bad thing I guess...
I mean, what else are you going to do if you are growing up in the middle of nowhere with three old ladies?? She doesn't even know they're fairies, so she can't even learn to do cool magic and spells to pass the time!
There are no other kids around to play or be social with either...so I guess the natural solution is to make friends with the forest populace. It must've been like being home schooled or something...
Honestly, I can't blame her one bit. She just made due with the cards she was dealt.
The plot takes an interesting turn right around her sixteenth birthday which is the perfect time for young hormones to start acting up.
She has a chance meeting in the forest with her future betrothed, the young, dashing Prince Phillip, who happens to be riding his horse in the vicinity and hears her singing and carrying on with her forest friends.
He sneaks in, and when she finds herself in his arms she is immediately diggin' him.
I mean this guy is smooth!
Maybe all the years of not having a solid father figure in her life have taken their toll. She doesn't even play hard to get!
Of course, she doesn't know he is a prince at the time; nor does she know that he is, in fact, pledged to be her future husband.
That's what makes this entire scene a soap opera writer's dream.
They immediately set up a second date but, as luck would have it, their hot date falls right on the day when she is actually going to be brought back to the castle and reinstated as a royal princess.
The fairies inform her of this fact, and she throws a fit.
I can just hear her thoughts, can't you?
"O-m-g! This suckssssss...."
"Worst birthday everrr!"
"They're so unfairrr!"
It's a scene that is so reminiscent of high school drama and adolescent love, I can't help but smile at this part.
Nevertheless, royal obligation overrules teenage lust, and she's escorted back to the castle sulking the whole way. No doubt she's thinking the whole time;
"I'll never love anyone ever again..."
'Cause, you know, they knew each other so well...
Anyway, the fairies take Aurora to her super sweet royal quarters. They also hook her up with a cool tiara which, by the way, goes great with the dress and shoes that she just picked up at Macy's on the way into town.
One would think that a teenage girl would be happy, given the circumstances, but she just sits there and bawls her cute little head off.
The tragedy of the movie occurs right here...in the midst of a young teenage girl's heartbreak.
Sadly, she doesn't have any friends to call up on her royal cell phone, and she can't really talk to her parents because, let's face it, they haven't seen each other for like 15 years or so... so, yeah, that'd be awkward, right?
Suddenly, the fireplace becomes a secret passage. Yes friends, you heard me right, in the princess's quarters there is the one fireplace in the entire castle that has a secret passage.
You'd think the parental units, or her personal security detail, would've checked out the floor plan before they stuck her in a room by herself, before her sixteenth birthday, while there is a threat on her life.
Sadly, they didn't.
C'est la vie.
The passage is eerily lit with creepy green lighting, and she's drawn to it like a bug to a bug zapper.
The whole time you, the viewer, are quietly screaming for her to stay away, because, as everyone knows, when the creepy music starts in the soundtrack, it's generally a bad sign.
Aurora, however, didn't have the soundtrack to her own movie, so she and the cameraman are drawn into the creepy corridor. It's at the end of the corridor they find...wouldn't you know it...
A spinning wheel, complete with spindle!
It looks as if some in the village are still resistant to the king's economic restructuring mandate.
As was noted, there's a evil looking needle on it, and I can only imagine that this is symbolic of a defining moment of this girl's life.
Instead of seeking refuge in family and friends to heal the pain of love lost, she is instead venturing into the dangerous world of drug use.
The fairies, who suddenly realized things were too quiet in her room, rush into passage after her, but alas, it's too late! Sleeping beauty lays on the ground, at the feet of the shape shifting sorceress (who's apparently a dealer as well).
She isn't moving.
All in the name of love or, at least, what she thought to be love.
It's at this point that the fairies realize that they can't reveal to the king, queen and the entire kingdom that the long lost princess is a junkie, so they hatch a plan...
They put everyone in the kingdom to sleep, which probably took quite a bit of vaporized chloroform meticulously dispersed through the central air system of each peasant's home.
Then they set out to find Phillip. Remember him?
Well, they find him locked in Malificent's dungeon. Apparently he got more than he bargained for when he showed up for his hot date!
They release him and his noble steed, and arm him with a magical sword and shield.
He rides out, battles the dragon, and finally climbs the steps to the tower in which his girlfriend is sleeping.
He too, like Prince Absent, plants a big kiss right on her lips, but I tend to view this part in a metaphorical sense, rather than literal. I mean metaphorically as in, her being resuscitated in a rehab clinic, surrounded by the love of her friends, family, and sweet new boyfriend.
The end of this Sleeping Beauty story is a decidedly a happy one, as we find this Problematic Princess once again back on the right track. The straight and narrow.
The moral of the story is that friends, family and love are the most important things one can give teenagers growing up in this crazy world. They won't raise themselves and we, as a culture, shouldn't expect them too.
Keep a close eye on your kids, and always make sure all your birthday parties are drug dealer-free!