I'll admit it's more style over substance, and I generally prefer a bit more substance to films, but the style was a real eye-catcher. It's basically just a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and perhaps the reason it's story-lite is because it's probably made for a younger audience, though I enjoyed it enough too. I guess the draw for me was just the way many of the scenes in the film were composed to please the eye, and they really achieved that at least in my mind of how a fairy tale should look. Sure there's tons of CG to the film, but they did a pretty good job of making it all mesh. What they also did right was add some darkness to the tale, which is why Jolie looks so evil. She doesn't start out that way though, and that helps to form and inform some empathy with the character, and also gives it a nice Brothers Grimm feel to it. I thought it felt a bit like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter a bit, but without the underpinnings of all the history, so you get a story that's pretty superficial and pretty to look at, but enjoyable too. So I'd have to say, it's hard to recommend the film with high merits, but if you're looking for something entertaining, without a lot to think about it would probably work for you.
James MacArthur plays a Swiss youth (Rudi Matt) who vows to be the first to scale a formidable Matterhorn-like mountain called the Citadel. MacArthur's father was killed attempting a similar climb, but is seen by all the people in the village as a local hero and one of the best climbers. Though discouraged by his mother and uncle, due to his father's death, they try to steer the young MacArthur into going to school and finding another profession. But like father like son, his heart is set on being a mountain guide. The film also stars, Michael Rennie, who played Klaatu in the film, The Day the Earth Stood Still. Rennie is the mentor to MacArthur, and understands the boy's excitement and love of mountain climbing. He wants him to go with him to scale the Citadel, but his mother and uncle are against it, which sets up the conflict.
There's also a romance in the story between MacArthur, and one of the local girls in the village. The only criticism with the film, isn't the story itself, but with the film transfer--looking like it was transferred from VHS, plus no extras. You'd think Disney would come out with a very good remastering of this film, it certainly deserves it. Like a lot of the movies from this era, it is full of adventure, some romance, some lighthearted fun, and great scenery. After watching it I went over to Netflix and added some other early Disney films to my ever-growing list.