This is a new release of a Disney classic that first appeared in 1959. As is my custom, I much prefer to watch an animated feature film with several of my younger grandchildren (ages 3-7) and did so again with Sleeping Beauty on its 50th anniversary. Once again, they were engrossed in the story line whereas I was somewhat more interested in how the quality of animation measures up (after 59 years) when compared and contrasted with recent films such as Toy Story and Toy Story 2, the three Shreks, Ratatouille, Cars, and Wall-E. It measures up remarkably well. Just as there is a certain charm in black-and-white classic films from the 1930's and 40's (e.g. Casablanca, The Little Shop Around the Corner, and It Happened One Night), the same is true of older Disney features (e.g. Dumbo, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Pinocchio) despite relatively less sophisticated animation.
There were also generational differences when my companions and I examined the special features that include "Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough (a fully immersive virtual tour), an all-new "Enchanted Dance Game," the "Dragon Encounter Audio Sensory Experience," and an all-new "Making of Sleeping beauty." Predictably, my grandchildren much preferred the supplementary games whereas I was (as always) intrigued by the "behind the screen" material such as a discussion of the film by John Lasseter of Pixar, the film critic Leonard Maltin, and the Disney animator Andreas Deja. The production values in this new edition are superb, especially in the Blu-ray version. The running time of 75 minutes seems just about right. Whatever the ages of those who see this film and one or more of its numerous special features, they will find much to enjoy and appreciate.
The story line is strikingly similar to the one in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A daughter named Aurora is born to royal parents and then cursed to die by her 16th birthday by an evil fairy, Malificent. To protect her, three good fairies take her away, re-name her Briar Rose, and raise her themselves. A handsome prince meets her by chance, they fall in love, and agree to meet again soon. However, on the night of her 16th birthday, as she prepares to return to her parents and be crowned a princess, the evil fairy locates her and then.... Fortunately, everything eventually works out for Aurora as it also does for Snow White, Belle, and other Disney heroines.
I highly recommend this 50th anniversary celebration of one of Disney's most delightful animated films. Although it was under-appreciated when first released, I think it will now receive the praise it so clearly deserves. Bravo!
For all of the thirty two years I've been on this planet, "Sleeping Beauty" was one of the few Disney films that I never viewed. My wife and daughter have watched it numerous times on VHS, but I either wasn't home at the time or I was interested in something else. My wife considers this film to be her favorite Disney movie. Having watched it for the first time tonight, I understand why. The Disney version of this fairy tale is inspired by Tchaikovsky's ballet. With the wonderful … more
Disney's SLEEPING BEAUTY is based upon the story of Briar Rose by the Brothers Grimm. In this version of the tale, a beautiful baby girl named Aurora is born to a friendly king and queen. After her birth people and creatures from all around come to give her gifts, including three good fairies. Two of the fairies give their gifts to the child but before the third fairy is able to do so, an un-invited guest, the evil sorceress Malificient, appears and places a curse upon the child. Before the end … more
In 1987, as a wide-eyed 6-year-old, I saw SLEEPING BEAUTY during it's cinema re-release. It was probably the first time I ever went to the movies. The experience definitely stayed with me and fired my love of Disney movies which had begun when I was a toddler with ALICE IN WONDERLAND and MARY POPPINS on video. Now so many years later I have relished collecting and revisiting all the Disney classics on DVD, and the 2-disc edition of SLEEPING BEAUTY is something really special. Six years in the making, … more
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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Disney's 1959 animated effort was the studio's most ambitious to date, a widescreen spectacle boasting a gorgeous waltz-filled score adapting Tchaikovsky. In the 14th century, the malevolent Maleficent (not dissimilar to the wicked Queen in Disney'sSnow White and the Seven Dwarfstaunts a king that his infant Aurora will fatally prick her finger on a spinning wheel before sundown on her 16th birthday. This, of course, would deny her a happily-ever-after with her true love. Things almost but not quite turn out that way, thanks to the assistance of some bubbly, bumbling fairies named Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. It's not really all that much about the title character--how interesting can someone in the middle of a long nap be, anyway? Instead, those fairies carry the day, as well as, of course, good Prince Phillip, whose battle with the malevolent Maleficent in the guise of a dragon has been co-opted by any number of animated films since. See it in its original glory here. And Malificent's castle, filled with warthogs and demonic imps in a macabre dance celebrating their evil ways, manages a certain creepy grandeur. --David Kronke