Moviefan12:  Hello & welcome back to Power of The Princesses.  And well, I knew that this character was coming.   Let’s get this over with, joining me today to look at who I consider to be the worst Disney Princesses, as Ingonyama70  joins  t me to look at Princess Aurora and he defends her while I’ll be slamming her. With that out of the way, let’s begin.

 

 

 

 

Original Voice Actress

 

 

Mary Costa

 

 

 

 

 


Moviefan12: I will be fair and say that Mary Costa did a serviceable job as the voice for Aurora/Briar Rose.  I was able to believe that believing her heartbreak after she learned that she was a princess and could not be the person, she loved.  Stupid misunderstanding.  And now Mary is still affiliated with the Disney company as in ’99,  she was given the prestigious honor of Disney Legend and she did promotional  material for the upcoming Blu-Ray release of Sleeping Beauty.  And from what I’ve read in interviews,  Costa  seems to be rather protective of  her character, so much so that when asked about Aurora’s segment in the  Disney Princess: Enchanted Tales segment, Aurora segment had this to say in an interview with dvdizzy.com 

 

 

Oh, goodness sake. And they’ll never do it again because it didn’t work, and they got a lot of criticism. You know, with a fairy tale like this, your imagination takes over. And I think it spoils it because everyone knows what their imagination does and where they want to take them – that’s what a fairy tale is all about, that’s the magic of it.

Now, while I do not like the character personally,  I can respect how Mary Costa feels about Aurora and how Disney misused her character. Because this is just my belief but the VA’s   should be allowed to have a say on what is done with their characters.  As we will see next week, Jodi Benson had to fight to keep  Airel’s rebellious nature in Airel’s Beginning. And it is interesting to note that  Walt personally chose Mary Costa and called only hours after she auditioned.

I70: Far and away the best things about the character of Aurora are her character design, which was modelled after Audrey Hepburn, and her voice. Her voice actress, Mary Costa, is the most technically beautiful voice out of all the Disney princesses, to my way of thinking. It helps that she was a trained opera singer and sang in that style throughout the film. Costa’s speaking voice for Aurora is light and airy without going into being shrill (unlike her predecessor Snow White), and she puts a lot of feeling into the few lines she has. She would go on to enjoy a wildly successful opera career and win many well-deserved awards for her performances, both as Aurora and later.

First Appearance

Moviefan12:  The film opens on the birth of Princess Aurora, with everyone celebrating the birth of the new princess but we do see her as as an adult eventually as a 16 year old.  Though I do have to bring  up one of 200 issues I have with this awful awful terrible film.  This does tie into Aurora but is more about Phillip.  We see at the start of the film that Phillip is betrothed to Aurora, when she is first born and  he is a little boy.

What’s my issue here?  Well,  this is kinda of indicative of problems of the early princess films that the lovers really  never got to know  each other and the worst part here is Aurora never really got to have a say in their relationship and  Phillip and Aurora had the least amount of interaction out of the three early couples in the princess films.   Yes,  I had this same complaint regarding the Prince and Prince Charming in both Snow White and Cinderella but what the films lacks in having interesting male characters in the relationship, it has well rounded and interesting female leads.  Alas, the same cannot say the same for Aurora.

I70:  Aurora, also known as Briar Rose, debuted in 1959’s “Sleeping Beauty,” the last fairy tale Walt Disney ever personally worked on. This film is well known for many things: it’s got gorgeous animation, a beautiful score based off Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Ballet, an amazing visual style based off Renaissance tapestries, the most recognizable and beloved villain in all of Disney, funny protagonists in the Three Good Fairies, a charming male lead in Prince Phillip (the first with a given name in the story no less!), and one of the most pulse-pounding climaxes ever to exist in Western animated film. The dragon fight at the end of this one set the bar for animated films for decades to come.

Personality

Moviefan12:  Let make me one clear,  while I do not like this film,  I find that I cannot hate because the film doesn’t  give me any reason to be invested in Aurora as a character and that’s because she isn’t a character. She is a device, to keep the plot moving. She’s macguffin.  Simple as that, sure, we see that she is nice and sweet,  and maybe a little naive in the first act but she is such a blank slate of a character, that I have to wonder why Walt Disney at one point envisioned this horrid film as his masterpiece.  There is absolutely nothing of interest about Aurora as a character. And yes,  I know her defenders will say that is true to her source material.  But Disney has expanded and tweaked material to put their own stamp on the films and they could’ve done the same thing here but instead, we get a character that is the epitome of the stereotypical complaints that people have with the princesses.  That they don’t do anything and wait for a man to save them.  And that could NOT be truer as Aurora.  She is the worst example of a Disney princess.  To have her in this line-up is a disgrace to the ladies that came before her.  Snow White and Cinderella at least actually interesting and engaging personalities that make them memorable.

I70:  Aurora, being the titular Sleeping Beauty, is asleep for fully half the film, so her personality’s not going to be winning her any “Strongest Disney Princess” awards any time soon. However, that’s not to say that she’s COMPLETELY flat as a character. During the first act, we spend quite a bit of time getting to know her. We learn that Briar Rose is naive thanks to being sheltered and protected by her three “aunts” and that she both resents and dearly loves them. We learn she has a playful, mischievous side, that she truly cares for her friends in the forest, and yearns to be free of the Fairies’ restrictions but would never do anything to let them down or disobey them. She is somewhat fixated on the notion of romance, but both in the time the film was set and the time it was released, romantic aspirations were the most a girl of the era could hope for. We also learn she’s painfully naive, as she’s almost immediately enthralled by Prince Phillip when she meets him. However, she invites him back to her cottage to meet her aunts that night, so it’s not like she’s stupid.

Favorite Moment

Moviefan12:  I don’t particularly like this film and I honestly thought my choice  for Favorite Moment was going to be  Aurora pricking her finger, and that did come mighty close.

This is perhaps the most iconic scene for this character but  the scene that I chose as my favorite moment, which is being generous is Aurora crying after finding out that she after finds out that she cannot be with the one she loves because she is a princess.  Granted, this ties into the stupid misunderstanding that could’ve been avoided, if Phillip had just told Aurora, who he was.  And not just use the stupid line that they had met in a dream.

I chose this scene because this to me is the one scene where Aurora actually feels likes a real teenager whose world  had just come crashing down.  This is the one time, where Aurora felt like a character and not just a device to advance the story.  This scene displayed very real and genuine emotions and I like how Aurora is all quiet throughout this scene as to show that she doesn’t know what to say in this situation.

 

I70:  The “Once Upon A Dream” sequence is where Aurora has her most character-defining moments, and is one of the most instantly recognizable musical numbers in Disney. Raised alone and sheltered as she had been, Aurora dreams, like Anna would later, of being around people, of meeting someone she can love. This wish comes from a deep, desperate loneliness, which is expressed more subtly than Anna’s, but is still very keenly felt by the way she speaks with the forest animals around her. When the animals decide to do their best to cheer her up by swiping Phillip’s cloak, boots, and hat and dancing with her, she giggles and plays along while singing. Not only is the song itself beautiful, Tchaikovsky’s score and Mary Costa’s one-of-a-kind voice blending perfectly, but it provides the most characterization of Aurora throughout the whole film, both good and bad.

 Later Appearances

I70:  Interestingly, perhaps because of the lack of personality she was given in her original film, Aurora has never appeared in any sequels, prequels, or midquels, not getting a new story until 2007’s “Follow Your Dreams” collection, where she is temporarily given control of Stefan’s kingdom and Merriweather’s magic wand, and hijinks ensue. I have not seen this, so I can’t give any honest criticism of it, but if Disney sequels of the time are anything to go by, it’s probably not very good. From the trailers, the animation quality certainly looks horrid.

One other thing to note was that there was originally another short planned, as part of a collection called “A Kingdom Of Kindness”, which was cancelled due to poor sales of “Follow Your Dreams,” the first Disney Princess collection. In the proposed short, the Three Good Fairies assist Aurora in planning a surprise party, but they continually interfere, meddle, and do her work for her despite her repeated pleas for them to let her do things herself like she wants to. I personally am disappointed, despite the terrible quality of the animation, as I feel this would have been a good chance to make Aurora more decisive and independent, two things she does very badly need. The trailer is on YouTube should you wish to search for it.

Moviefan12:   Now,  besides these two appearances,  Aurora also appeared in the Christmas episode  of  Sofia The First,  just like most the other princesses but she was the first princess to not have a song.  There are varying reports that this was because of her VA’s singing in the short that Ingonyama70 brought up (which  I actually liked as it gave Aurora character) but the more likely scenario and I believe is that they just couldn’t fit a song into the episode as they only had 23 minutes to tell a story.

Aurora also  made her Once Upon A Time debut in the second  season opener, where she  spent most of the season with Mulan.  And in the first half with Emma and Snow as they had been trapped in the Enchanted Forest.

Aurora in this show started out a little ditzy and vain but over time, her adventures grew to make her a more well rounded character over time as she faces adversity such as having Cora take her heart.

And we also learn that she is not the first Sleeping Beauty as many years before,  her mother was put under the same sleeping curse that Maleficent placed on her .   You see during the 28 years that the curse was in effect, the fairy tale characters that remained in Fairy Tale Land were frozen in time but after Emma broke the curse,  Phillip was able to resume his search for his love and during this time, he was aided by the help of Mulan.

Mulan as a character is integral to Aurora’s development as these two characters could not be polar opposite as Aurora is played up as a damsel in distress that has to learn to defend herself and Mulan is depicted as a brave and noble warrior.     And   this’ll be covered more in the Mulan article but there hints of a romantic relationship that was blossoming between Mulan and Aurora.  Granted, this doesn’t work out because Aurora is in love with Phillip, who both the girls were trying to save in the second season, after he let  a Wraith consume his soul.  And  Mulan is told by Robin Hood in a season 3 episode that she should tell the one she loves, how she feels, so she went to do that but it turned out that the Sleeping Warrior ship would not set sail as Aurora and Phillip were with child.

Another interesting thing of note is how Aurora was able to help the residents of Storybrooke know where Emma and Snow were as she went  into this sleep and contacted, Henry (Emma’s son) to try and give him this info.  What the show gave us, looked like fiery hell, that no one should have to endure.  I applaud  Once Upon A Time here as they took a terrible  flat and boring character, who was essentially a blank slate and made her interesting and  one of the most important characters of season 2. They expanded upon Aurora’s template and added to it, so that she would not be the same dull character that she is in that horrid film.  This to me is the best, nay   perfect iteration  of Princess Aurora.  Because she is actually an interesting character, who you can get invested in!!!!!

Also, coming  out this year is Maleficent, a live action fantasy film that seems to be giving the Sleeping Beauty tale the Wicked treatment by showing the story from Maleficent’s point of view.  And Elle Fanning will be playing the role of Aurora in that film.

And  from what I’ve seen thus far from the trailers,  I’m getting an Elphie/Glinda vibe between Maleficent and Aurora in that, it seems like there will be a friendship that blossoms between the two.  Don’t care enough to see the movie though.  Hate the source material and was offended when they called the most overrated villain of all time,  the greatest Disney villain ever. She does NOT deserve that title,  when it should go to someone like The Wicked Queen or Jafar or Ursula or Dr. Facilier.  Sorry,  that just offends me on so many levels because she doesn’t even deserve to be in the top 20 greatest Disney villains list.

Now besides these aforementioned appearances,  just like most of the princesses, Aurora could be spotted on House of Mouse.  Interestingly,  she was usually in her Briar Rose outfit and not one of her princess dresses.

I will say that I do think the ribbon tied on her finger and the sewing machine behind her make for a good joke.

As for the parks,  Aurora’s castle is the castle of Disneyland

And she can be found at Fantasy Faire for Meet & Greets in Disneyland while at Disney World, she can be found at the France pavilion of EPCOT and Magic Kingdom’s Town Square Theater.

    1. And  at one point during the planning stages of New Fantasyland, there were plans to add Aurora’s cottage as meet & greet where guests would celebrate her birthday.  However this along with Pixie Hollow and Cinderella’s Chateau were gotten rid of to make way for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

I’m now going to turn this over to DisneyOtoko so that he can fill us in on Aurora’s presence in the Kingdom Hearts games.

Aurora In Kingdom Hearts

Aurora in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep

DisneyOtoko:  Aurora is probably the most indirectly used character in the whole series. As opposed to reinventing the wheel and possibly making the least developed princess worse Square Enix decided to take a different direction and have the character be very minimally involved yet still to use her presence and her effect on others to the maximum potential. Throughout the campaigns Aurora has already pricked her finger on the spinning wheel and is the castle’s tallest tower awaiting true love’s kiss. The Keyblade Masters arrive at various parts and encounter Maleficent who has her plans to gather the Princesses of Heart.

Terra’s Story

DisneyOtoko: Terra arrives and defeats a pack of Unversed and proceeds to the castle where he finds Maleficent on the Bridge and she asks Terra what his business is. Terra asks the standard questions about Master Xehanort’s whereabouts and Maleficent gives a vague response that he might have been there looking for a Heart of Pure Light and implies Aurora heavily. Terra arrives in the tower and is taken aback at Aurora’s beauty, but also senses the light within her heart and Maleficent appears and explains Aurora’s significance and role (for newcomers to the series) she offers for Terra to join her, but he refuses and Maleficent uses her magic to take control of Terra and Terra steals Aurora’s heart and gives it to Maleficent. When Terra regains control and is ready to put up more of a fight a powerful Unversed monster attacks the castle. Terra rightfully lets Maleficent escape because protecting the castle is a higher priority. After the boss battle he returns to Aurora’s tower where he apologizes to Aurora for what he did and laments his own weakness. He can’t risk being possessed again and vows to return to get her heart back when he’s strong enough to defeat the darkness within himself. What Terra did to Aurora continues to haunt him throughout his campaign and her lifeless shell is a symbol of his failure, inadequacy, guilt and weakness.

Ventus’s Story

DisneyOtoko: Ventus’s ties to Aurora are very limited. Ventus arrives and learns of what happened to Aurora from the 3 Fairies and they agree to get Aurora’s heart back from Maleficent’s castle  and they succeed. Ventus sees a vision of Aurora’s meeting with Prince Philip and it was the Light within Ventus (which is much stronger than usual) interacting with Aurora’s heart of pure light. Even in a cursed sleep Aurora still has something to live for and a dream that needs to be fulfilled. As Ventus and the fairies leave Maleficent is enraged and attacks Ventus and with the help of the Fairies he defeats the Mistress of All Evil. Maleficent slightly injured begins to even further explain Terra’s act and it casts Ventus into even more doubt than before even with Aqua’s reassurance. Ventus leaves Aqua to handle Maleficent and to protect Aurora while he chases after Terra.

Aqua’s Story

DisneyOtoko: Aqua’s story in the Enchanted Dominion is basically the ending of the Sleeping Beauty film. She gets put in the dungeon by Maleficent and she teams up with Prince Philip to bust out of Maleficent’s lair. They get to the castle bridge and Maleficent tries to cast Aqua’s heart into doubt against Terra and it doesn’t work as quickly as it did Ventus and Maleficent turns into the Dragon. The Fairies give Prince Philip the edge and the Sword of Truth defeats the Dragon, but Maleficent is only badly wounded, but not dead! Prince Philip runs to the castle to awaken Aurora and one of my favorite scenes in the game follows where Aqua proclaims that true love defeated Maleficent, but Maleficent scoffs at such a notion. Aqua gives a resonating speech that Maleficent is too blinded by Darkness to understand the happiness that comes from loving another. In defiance of fairy tale convention Maleficent may have lost the battle, but she has NOT lost the war and gives great foreshadowing to the horrible victories she achieves in the Kingdom Hearts mythology. Love may have defeated evil, but COULD NEVER kill it. Maleficent departs Aqua with this hard truth that the forces of good don’t like to admit if at all and has a foreboding ending to Auqa’s story in the world. Standard procedure for Aqua’s storyline where Aurora is a symbol of Light, but also juxtaposed with Maleficent’s hatred towards the kindness of Aurora. I love how Aqua’s story and Birth by Sleep as a whole celebrate fairy tale convention, but also have the harsh reality of evil’s immortality and never ending malice be front and center creating a true understanding of the relationship between good and evil aka Aurora and Maleficent.

After Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep

DisneyOtoko: During the credits Aurora and Prince Philip are seen in a reenactment of the film’s ending scene and Flora and Fauna keep transforming Aurora’s dress and it cuts to outside the castle where Maleficent lurks and awaits her chance to strike at Aurora again. She does when the Heartless are destroying the Enchanted Dominion and Maleficent obviously needs Aurora alive so Maleficent rescues Aurora and they both through corridor of Darkness are transported to the world of Hollow Bastion where Maleficent puts Aurora into suspended animation and plans on gathering followers and controlling the Heartless herself to ravage world after world looking for the other Princesses.

Aurora in Kingdom Hearts 1

DisneyOtoko: After the Princesses awaken and Sora, Beast, Donald, and Goofy return to Hollow Bastion’s Castle Chapel Aurora is there and assists the other sin holding the Darkness back and she in a way tells the cautionary tale of Maleficent’s arrogance thinking she could control the Darkness and cautions Sora to not underestimate the Darkness in one’s heart. Once the secret boss of Final Mix has been unlocked she comments on its foreboding power and wishes us to be careful if we investigate it.

Is Aurora A Good Character?

Moviefan12:  The better question to ask  here “Is Aurora a Character?”  and to that answer is no, she’s not.  Her film never grants her the opportunity to be a character.  We never get to know her or all that much about her. She is the weakest and most uninteresting Disney princess, because her film presents  nothing memorable about her. She just exists to drive the narrative forward.  She is not the worst thing in her film, that’d be the three fairies but she is not a good character either because she is never granted the opportunity to be a character.   And while I may not be looking forward to that Maleficent film, I do hope that they are smart enough to actually take time and develop Aurora into a character.   Because in her film, she’s just a non-entity.  I went in, watching this film, hoping that my opinion of her would improve but alas that was not the case and sad to say,  after re-watching the film, I  believe that my opinion of her has lessened.

I70:   Because of the nature of her story and the viewpoints of the time, it’s unfair to judge Aurora by the same standards as someone like Mulan, or Rapunzel, or Elsa, or Belle. As a character, she doesn’t have much to work with…she’s unconscious for the precise half of the film that all the other ladies come into their own as characters and face their greatest challenges.

 

 

The most important thing to remember about Sleeping Beauty is that it is not about its titular character but about the people around her – in the Disney film’s case, the prince, the fairies, and Maleficent. As a main character, yes, she’d be lackluster at best and bland at worst, but the important thing to remember is that she isn’t the main character. The Three Good Fairies are our central protagonists and Maleficent is our central antagonist. True to form, they’re where the movie really shines.

 

 

 

So as a supporting character, Aurora works fine. Speaking as a self-proclaimed feminist, she wasn’t the best role model for young girls, but that was never the point of her character. Her job in the film was to be lovely and have a wonderful voice, and on both those counts, Disney did a fantastic job…she looks like Audrey Hepburn and sings like a trained opera star. She may be one of the most archetypal damsels in distress ever to exist, but at least she’s a likable character whom we want to see rescued by the end of the film.

 

 

 

Aurora was my very first princess, so it’s hard for me to be unbiased about her. I think she’s handicapped as a character both by the sexist era of the time (1959) and by the story’s plot itself, but despite this has still persisted as a memorable character to this day.

 

 

She’s not my favorite Disney princess, or even in my top ten, but that’s a long way from saying I dislike her. Rather, I feel sorry for her for being judged in the same category as the later princesses who carried their films and did amazing, heroic things, when the sexism of her time simply would not allow for that kind of female empowerment. The fact that Maleficent and the Fairies are as central to the story as they are is a miracle, but it still takes Phillip, the dashing male Prince, to save the day at the end of the film.

 

 

All in all, even if she’s not a good role model, I feel she is a good character who gets a lot of unnecessary flak when her only real crime is to be the Princess in a story where the Princess’s job is to fall asleep for half the story.

 

Moviefan12:  Ingoyama70,  thanks for joining me on this rather polarizing look at Aurora.

 

 

By Moviefan12

Disney Geek, Oncer, Brony, and Expressionist

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