Disney's Medievalesque Sleeping Beauty
"It was not once upon a time, but in a certain time in history, before anyone knew what was happening, Walt Disney cast a spell on the fairy tale. He did not use a magic wand or demonic powers. On the contrary, Disney employed the most up-to-date technological means and used his own American "grit" and ingenuity to appropriate European fairy tales. His technical skills and ideological proclivities were so consummate that his signature obfuscated the names of Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Collodi. If children or adults think of the great classical fairy tales today, be it Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or Cinderella, they will think Walt Disney. "
--Jack Zipes,…show more content…
(Zipes 141). While well-versed in Disney's ability to produce socio-cultural stagnancy, work such as that done by Zipes, Byrne and McQuillan do not address the specific ways in which Disney perpetuates particular socio-economic myths with its fairy tale appropriations. While work is currently being done on how Disney's theme parks play upon socio-economic conservatism, and the 1970's saw a key text in Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart's How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic, Disney's animated fairy tales, especially the earlier ones, have long been neglected and are all due for a serious reading in terms of the socio-economic messages they implicitly convey to their audience. In a paper of this size I neither wish to criticize scholars for neglecting this area, nor do I hope to remedy this problem in one blow. Instead this paper will examine the particular ways in which Disney uses the medium of animation in order to incorporate the medieval into his adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, as well as the very pointed anachronistic exceptions it makes to this medievalesque trend. I will then analyze how these particular implementations of the medieval, as well as the exceptions, serve to create a fantastic feeling of nostalgia for a