Briar Rose Symbols
Since the prominent animals in the film do not really exist outside of their relation to a human, the role of these animals is to serve as indicators of the humans' own characteristics. The cute, friendly animals in the forest, such as the smiling owl, the pair of wide-eyed rabbits, and the loping chipmunk, are all associated with Briar Rose. Because of them, her character appears gentle, free, playful, radiating good will for all, and, most of all, innocent. Samson, the strong white horse of Prince Phillip, reinforces Phillip's nature as innately pure, a master of beasts, and powerful, but also friendly and kind to all good creatures. Finally, Maleficent's raven insinuates that she is a spying, secretive, harsh creature. This style of communication is crucial to Disney films. Before the human characters act or speak, animals or other figures give an idea of how to understand them. These characters don't have to say much. Through the colors in which they are rendered and the animals that accompany them, they are clearly coded to be read in a certain way.
Most of the film's action results from a resident of one of these three places venturing into another's terrain, thereby presenting a clash of values and the instigation of some sort of conflict. For example, when Maleficent appears in Stefan's castle, she levels the curse upon Aurora that propels the plot. When the Prince rides Samson into Briar Rose's glen, they