Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A review of "Sleeping Beauty" (2014)

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “Sleeping Beauty” (2014)

By: Brian Cotnoir

Oh No, I’m going to talk about “Sleeping Beauty” again, aaahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!  Well actually, this time I’m not talking about the 2011 Australian version of “Sleeping Beauty” that stars my porcelain skinned goddess, Emily Browning.  No, I’m talking about the 2014 version released by Mock-Buster Kings “The Asylum”, the same studio responsible for classics like “Sharknado” and “Titanic II”.  So in an attempt to capitalize on Disney’s “Maleficent” they produced  Now just to clarify this: there have been two films this year released under the title “Sleeping Beauty” and the one I am reviewing is the version made by “The Asylum”.                                  

    So the plot starts out following the original Grimm fairytale: a king and queen celebrating the first birthday of their daughter, an evil witch (in this version she’s named Tambria) shows up and is furious that she wasn’t invited so she casts a spell on the child and her family proclaiming that on her 16th birthday she shall prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into a forever sleep when the Princess (named Dawn in this version) pricks her finger on the spinning wheel.  So the prophecy comes true and the whole kingdom falls asleep and Tambria takes over.
     One-hundred years later we go to the Kingdom of Lipscomb, and see Prince Jayson and his whipping boy Barrow.  Jayson wants so desperately to become King, but can’t until he settles marry’s a princess and has a child.  Barrow discovers a map telling of a sleeping Princess trapped in a faraway kingdom that can’t be awoken until she receives a kiss from her one true love.  So Prince Jayson forces Barrow and a group of other men to go and get the princess so Jayson can become a king.  However, the task isn’t as easy as it seems as the land and waters are crawling with monstrous beasts, undead soldiers, and other traps.  Now it’s up to our group of heroes to not only rescue the princess, but get out alive as well.                   
Our something resembling heroes, Ladies & Gents?
     This film is a mess.  As if changing the character’s names around wasn’t confusing enough to follow, they also had to go ahead and change the plot around as well.  The idea of zombies in the story of “Sleeping Beauty” sounds like it’d be a good idea, but in all actuality it’s not.  And let me just say, I thought the “Sleeping Beauty” (2011) was a dull film, but this one was so dull that I thought I was going to fall into a forever sleep.  It’s so boring!  And don’t even get me started on the CGI.  The CGI is crude and tacky even for The Asylum’s standards.  The CGI is so bad, I would say it’s on the same level as the CGI in a Uwe Boll film, and that’s freaking bad!      
Looks like Uwe Boll's table scraps!

Now the characters in this film are just as dull and generic as the plot.  The film was directed by Casper Van Dien (you know, the guy who played Brahm Bones in Tim Burton’s “Sleepy Hollow”?)  Well he took it upon himself to cast himself as King David in the film.  Not only did he cast himself in the film, but he cast his daughter Grace in the title role, and his other daughters Maya and Celeste in small supporting roles.  This film feels less like “Sleeping Beauty” and more like it probably should’ve been called “Casper Van Dien’s Family Reunion”!  I understand that directors sometimes want to cast their own kids in their films and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it felt so forced in this one.  I mean the character his daughter Maya played, Newt, was completely useless to the plot.  I just think her father put her in the film so she wouldn’t feel left out, but the addition of the character Newt, throws off the plot so much.  How is it that these grown men, with formal combat training are constantly being vanquished by Tambria and her supernatural creations and powers, and yet an 11-year-old peasant girl managed to not only make it onto the castle property without being attacked, but has been living there for weeks without even being noticed!  I’m calling bullsh!t on that one movie.  None of the Van Dien children give a standout performance in “Sleeping Beauty”, so don’t expect to see them in any other films soon unless daddy is directing or producing it.                            
    The only character I actually kind of liked in this film was Prince Jayson, who is played by actor Edward Lewis French.  Even though he is not the protagonist of the film (if anything he’s an anti-hero) I still found his performance to be good and enjoyable.  He’s rude, he’s obnoxious, he’s cocky, and yet I found myself enjoying his character so much, and normally I despise characters with those traits.  So yeah, props go to Edward Lewis French for making me like an unlikable character.        
     Well this is the 3rd film I’ve seen with the title “Sleeping Beauty” and I have to say it’s the most boring one yet, but really would I expect anything less from “The Asylum” film studios?  The Asylum is known for putting around unoriginal low-budget crap, but I still feel like this is pretty bad even for their standards.  That’s right, I feel like the studio that made a film about a tornado made of sharks, held this film to a lower standard then their other works.  There isn’t any group or demographic of people, I could or would recommend this film too.  The only way I could see anyone watching this film is if they mistake this one for the other “Sleeping Beauty” film released this year.  Trust me, you read this blog to know what films to avoid, if I’m saying don’t see it then don’t see it.


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