on October 5, 2014
Keeping this review succinct and to the point, this latest release of Sleeping Beauty (aka the Diamond Edition) has the same excellent A/V presentation as the last Blu-Ray release (the 2008 Platinum Edition), four of the same special features found on the 2008 Blu-Ray release (the audio commentary and making-of doc "Picture Perfect: The Making Of Sleeping Beauty" being the best of the lot) and adds a few never-before-seen deleted scenes (storyboarded with newly recorded voicework), and a few new brief extras tying Sleeping Beauty into Disney's live-action film Maleficent.
What's missing on this "Diamond Edition" is nearly an entire disc (!) worth of special features that were previously released on the Platinum Edition of Sleeping Beauty ... special features that were among the most intriguing ever released for a Disney animated Blu-Ray. They include the following:
*Cine-Explore In-Movie Experience: Featuring original concept art, production photos and other materials
*Grand Canyon: Short film shown before Sleeping Beauty during its original theatrical release
*Original Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Walkthrough Attraction
*History of the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough Attraction
*Sequence 8: A closer look at a particularly difficult scene that was in production for 2 years
*Sleeping Beauty Deleted Songs: "It Happens I Have A Picture," "Riddle Diddle," "Go To Sleep"
*Sleeping Beauty Alternate Opening
*Storyboard Sequences (SD): "The Fairies Put The Castle To Sleep," "The Capture Of The Prince"
*Original Live-Action Reference Film Footage (SD)
*The Peter Tchaikovsky Story: 49-minute dramatization
*Four Artists Paint One Tree: Featuring Walt Peregoy, Josh Meador, Eyvind Earle and Marc Davis
*Sleeping Beauty Art Galleries: Which featured hundreds of images
*Publicity: Which housed three theatrical trailers
*4 BD Games: Dragon Encounter, Maleficent's Challenge, Briar Rose's Enchanted Dance, Fun with Language
*Princess Fun Facts: Trivia Track
*Music Video: Once Upon a Dream
*Disney Song Selection Suite
*Song Lyrics Subtitle Track
In short, if you are a casual viewer who doesn't care about copious extras, this latest release will likely suit you just fine, and there are some good extras to be found on the Diamond Edition, even if the best ones are recycled from the prior Blu-Ray release. However, if you already have the Platinum Edition of Sleeping Beauty, you can definitely take a pass on this one ... and if you're a fan/collector, skip this edition (if you can afford to) and seek out the 2008 Blu-Ray release (a used copy or otherwise) before the price gets jacked up to a ridiculous degree. C'mon, Disney ... Diamonds are supposed to be a step up from platinum!
I vividly remember the release of Sleeping Beauty. I was old enough to go see it myself - just barely. There I was sitting way up front eating my popcorn and all of a sudden this spectacular dragon materialized right before my eyes. Popcorn forgotten, I was hooked. Cartoons never looked the same to me, and I spent the rest of my life inhaling fantasy and science fiction on a quest for the same thrill.
Animation has changed quite a bit in the ensuing years, but even today Sleeping Beauty is a towering achievement. Now I'm more sensitive to the tricks of the art and can see the masterful use of perspective that made the scenes leap out at you. When I first picked up this DVD I half expected to be disappointed, to find it really wasn't so glorious in retrospect. This is hardly the case - this film is just as vibrant and alive as it was in 1959.
The added dimension now is that I can see how Disney's work was a formative influence on animation even today. Artist/Directors like Miyazaki owe much to this film and its predecessor Snow White. And they freely admit it. As a production, Sleeping Beauty created a sense of legitimacy for animation that proved that high quality animation was something well beyond the Saturday morning funnies.
Disney took a great risk when creating this film, pouring a tremendous amount of resources in making it something as perfect as was possible for his time. While the studio reaped the financial benefits, the audience was the real winner, as a whole genre exploded before our eyes. Even now, with anime rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with, this film stands out for story, art, and music.
The additional features, especially those that retell the making of the film, are excellent as well. All captures in fine detail on this DVD. This is a must see for anyone who still loves a fairy tale.
This movie is one of the great classics of animation, especially for Disney. The DVD version is significantly improved compared to the previous VHS tape. The picture and sound were both greatly enhanced for this release. Furthermore, both widescreen and full screen versions are available in this package.
As with Disney's other classics, some liberties were taken with the original story of Sleeping Beauty. Disney took the classic story and made it unique and special. In some ways the story is less violent and dark than the original fairy tale. In other ways, such as the portrayal of Maleficent, the movie is dark and forbidding. While the movie is generally a children's movie, Maleficent's dragon and her general demeanor can be somewhat frightening for some in the pre-school and younger set.
Aurora was the first love for many a young boy, and was also the model for the aspirations of millions of girls. The romantic love story of Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip enchanted would-be princesses everywhere, and in some cases became the measure by which future spouses were measured (and many of us struggled to meet the ideal).
Of course, the romantic story and the evil of Maleficent were balanced by the comedy of the animal characters and the three bumbling, good-hearted fairy godmothers. While their goodness may appear a bit too vanilla and sweet for some, it is perfect for those longing for the innocence of their youth.
While the movie is the most important part of the DVD, this two CD set contains a phenomenal number of extras. I found the audio commentary by various key individuals to be absolutely fascinating. I planned to listen to portions of the commentary in preparation for my review, and instead found myself listening to the entire thing because it was so incredibly fascinating. Mary Costa (Princess Aurora) and others provide their perspective on the creation of the movie, as well as personal memories of Walt Disney and his influence on the film. The audio commentary by itself is worth replacing your VHS tape, particularly for aficionados of Disney movies.
In addition to the audio commentary are numerous, emphasize numerous, other bonus features. Some I felt were less than worthwhile, others, such as the shorts "Grand Canyon" and "The Peter Tchaikovsky Story," were excellent bonuses. The number of bonuses on this two disc set was so large that there is a navigational overview included in the DVD that categorizes 38 features found on the second disc.
With the movie and the wealth of bonuses, this movie is a must-buy for those who have yet to have "Sleeping Beauty." For those who have the VHS, the bonus material is nearly worth the cost of the DVD. Certainly those who are collectors of Disney memorabilia and historians of Disney will find the DVD to be a concise compendium of some of the best information available regarding this film. I highly recommend this DVD!
on October 1, 2014
One of my favorite movies! And it comes with new bonus features!
· ‘Once Upon A Parade’ (Starring Sarah Hyland) - Behind every attraction, event and parade at the Magic Kingdom is a unique story.
· Art of Evil: Generations Of Disney Villains – This legacy piece spotlights Disney’s favorite villain animator, Marc Davis and his infamous creations of characters such as Maleficent and Cruella. Throughout the piece, we will talk to modern day animators like Andreas Deja and also the new generation of Animators (Lino DiSalvo Animation Director of FROZEN) on how Marc’s designs and characters influenced what they do today.
· @DisneyAnimation: ARTISTS IN MOTION (Extended Edition) - Join Walt Disney Animation Visual Development artist Brittney Lee as she goes through the process of creating a three dimensional sculpture of Maleficent, completely out of paper. In this extended edition, go deeper into Britney’s process
· Never Before Seen Deleted Scenes:
o The Fair (With Deleted Character – The Vulture) – In this version of the story, the fairies do not take the Princess to live with them in the forest. Convinced that King Stefan's order to burn all the spinning wheels in the kingdom will not prevent Maleficent's curse, the good fairies put a magic circle around the castle and cast a spell: "No evil thing that walks or flies or creeps or crawls can ever pass these castle walls."
o The Curse is Fulfilled - The three good fairies have just returned Aurora to the castle and give her a crown. They leave the room to give Aurora some time alone…but Maleficent pays her a visit.
o Arrival Of Maleficent (Alternate Scene) – Maleficent arrives uninvited to the christening of the Princess Aurora.
· BEAUTY-OKE “Once Upon A Dream” - Sing along to this kinetic text video of Aurora’s signature song.
· Classic DVD Bonus Features Include:
o The Sound Of Beauty: Restoring A Classic - This featurette covers the creation of the 7.1 mix of the score of Sleeping Beauty that was done for Blu-ray, using the source tapes from the original recording sessions resulting in an audio experience of superior quality with greater detail and fidelity that you have ever heard before.
o Picture Perfect: The Making Of Sleeping Beauty - Discover the behind-the-scenes magic that transformed a beloved fairy tale into a cinematic work of art. Legendary Animators, actors and film historians reveal the secrets behind Disney’s masterpiece.
o Eyvind Earle: A Man And His Art - Early in his career, renowned American Artist Eyvind Earle worked as a background painter at the Walt Disney Studio. Walt Disney liked his work so much that he entrusted him with the assignment to be the Art Director for Sleeping Beauty. This was the first time that one artist was given the responsibility for the entire look on one of Disney’s animated features. This piece follows Earle’s development as an artist and his years at the Studio.
o Audio Commentary by John Lasseter, Andreas Deja and Leonard Maltin
on May 26, 2002
"Sleeping Beauty" has always been something of an anomaly in the Disney canon. There isn't another movie like it, animated or otherwise, and its tendency to go overlooked renders the distinction all the more tragic. With all due respect to "Pinocchio," "Bambi, "Fantasia," "Cinderella" and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," they're just not "Sleeping Beauty."
Walt Disney made his sixteenth animated feature (and there is no more appropriate number for this particular fairy tale) at a volatile stage in his studio career, and the final product reflects many experimental but surprisingly harmonious influences. The entrancing score was taken from an original ballet by Tchaikovsky, and the animation, clearly derived from medieval imagery, has both an astonishing purity and a curious quaintness. It doesn't leap off the screen the same way "Snow White" does, and the human characters, many of whom are intentionally comic as opposed to heroic figures, don't have nearly as much fullness or dimension.
"Sleeping Beauty," based on a story by Charles Perrault, transforms that vice into a virtue. What to make, after all, of a fairy tale whose heroine spends most of the movie out of commission? Well, if you're Walt Disney, you relegate the near-perfunctory love story to the backburner while the Good Fairies and Maleficent calmly steal the picture. A risky solution, but in this case, the best one. Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, who were inspired by real-life old ladies at the supermarket (Merryweather, in particular, is so cute you wish you could keep her on your bookshelf), have an intoxicating fussiness, and their conversation sparkles with the sort of pleasant banter you can enjoy as a child and enjoy even more as an adult. As for Maleficent (magnificently voiced by Eileen Audley), running neck-and-neck with "The Little Mermaid's" Ursula for the title of all-time greatest Disney villain, she's a wickedly charismatic presence, as chillingly beautiful as she is demonic.
Scene for scene, "Sleeping Beauty" has more imaginative visual curlicues and hidden-gem sequences than nearly any other Disney movie. To watch the film a second, third or fiftieth time is to be in a state of constant anticipation of the next glorious set-piece, whether it's the harrowing extended climax -- a truly thrilling clash between good and evil, and a considerably more violent spectacle than we're accustomed to in movies like this -- or a moment as simple and luminous as the Fairies disappearing into a jewelry case.
The animators have employed a higher degree of stylization and more surreal touches than usual (watch the early scenes in which the Fairies bestow their individual gifts upon the princess), complemented in full by Tchaikovsky's marvelous music. I can't remember when I've seen such an impressive confluence of sound and image, such a seamless match-up between the nuances of melody and rhythm and the accompanying shifts in color and movement. The score is unapologetically devoid of Broadway-style numbers and tongue-in-cheek lyrics (there is one musical sequence featuring the requisite "cute" rabbits, robins, squirrel and owl, none of whom, thankfully, burst into song), lending the film a timeless classicism that today's animation, steeped in pop-culture references and misguided attempts at Gen-Y appeal, can only dream of.
I watched "Sleeping Beauty" recently for the first time in nearly a decade, and the experience was like reuniting with a very old, very eccentric friend. I could analyze it to death (I probably already have), but fairy tales, especially Disney fairy tales, aren't made to withstand academic scrutiny. They're made to be remembered, not as a homogeneous mishmash of stale happy endings, but as individual vintages, each with its own vivid flavors and memories. "Sleeping Beauty" -- to quote a lesser classic, the fairest of them all -- is a film to savor and cherish.
on May 4, 2001
Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" is one of the most macabre and dark pictures ever. The tale of good versus evil is magically brought to life through an astonishing visual display of elite and sinister animation, combined with our heroes and villians, and a well-rendered musical score that is taken from the very music of Tchaikovsky. There is no doubt about it: this is a meticulous and excellently crafted motion picture which remains one of Disney's most ambitious and intriguing.
The story remains the same: the princess Aurora is born into King Stephen's royal court, the pride and joy of all the kingdom, where celebrations and gifts are bestowed upon the small child. Tragedy strikes when the lone misfit of the kingdom, the evil and crafty Malificent, rains on their parade to place a curse on the child: "Before the sun sets on her 16th birthday, she shall prick her finger on a spindle of a spinning wheel, and die!" The kingdom is in peril with this news, and so the three fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merriweather conceal the child deep within the forest in a hidden cottage, raising the child under the assumption that she is of no royal relation.
But what Disney movie would be complete without the obligatory second act of villainous treachery and heroes saving the day? This movie follows that same pattern, but in such an intense way that outweighs some of the live-action suspense we get from mainstream films. Malificent's curse comes true, and so it is up to Prince Phillip, whose love interest in the young princess drives him on his journey to seek out and rescue the maiden while defeating the creepy witch.
Everything in this movie screams the word "medieval," from the animation of the elaborate castles to the creation of the forests and acts of mysticism and nature which accompany them. Attention to detail is great, focusing on such things as woven tapestries decorating the walls and ceilings of the castles, while the clothing worn by the characters dances between the elite society and the middle-class quite nicely. Other important settings in the movie, such as Malificent's castle, are given a gloomy, ominous look, dark and stormy, full of rotting and decay.
This is also a classic evil-against-good story as well, attributing its successful execution to thr dazzling displays of magical powers as well as swarthy swordfights. Prince Phillip's treck through the forest of thorns still brings a certain amount of heightened suspense to an audience, while Malificent's character brings unease and restlessness to viewers. She is the embodiment of true evil, which is easy to see, while Prince Phillip is everything we want in a hero: dashing, morally just, and committed to his one true love.
Comical relief is provided stupendously within the efforts of the three fairies, whose arguments amongst one another are hilarious and laugh-out-loud funny. Flora takes on the serious role, the one with the level head who makes sure that everything goes according to her plan. Fauna is douty and bird-brained, yet sweet-natured and high-spirited. Merriweather is the rebel, and her machinations in rebellion of Flora's perfect plans bring some funny moments, especially in a battle of the wills at the small cottage as they prepare for Aurora's birthday.
The musical score plays throughout almost the entire film, unlike certain Disney films which have breaks in the score. The musical numbers sung by Aurora and Prince Phillip sell us on their love for one another, while the dark and brooding music of Malificent's power and evil fit the scenes perfectly. There are times when the music is frightening, and times when it brings cheer and delight to us.
"Sleeping Beauty" remains one of my favorite movies, maintaining all the classical elements of the original work while giving it a wondrous and invigorating look. The visual style is comething to be admired and adored, while the story and the characters are crafted with heart and wit. This is Disney's darkest yet most complex piece, perhaps ever.
on October 8, 2011
I am a BIG DISNEY FAN and collector. When I saw this title here on Amazon.com, I thought, "Oh Wow! I can get the Disney Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack". And so I went ahead and bought it. But BEWARE!!! I think someone must have photoshopped the picture which we can see from above. YES, it is the 2 - Disc Platinum Walt Disney Sleeping Beauty 50th Anniversary Blu-Ray. But there is no DVD with this title. And it is not a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack. As you can see in the picture the package clearly states nothing about a DVD. When Disney does put out that kind of package, it would say, "INCLUDES BLU-RAY + DVD". So the picture above has a picture of 2 discs on the side of the package to mislead the public. If you do indeed want the "2-Disc Blu-Ray Walt Disney SLEEPING BEAUTY 50th Anniversary" edition, then this purchase is a great buy. But don't be mislead into believing that you'll be recieving a DVD disc included with this package. The picture of 2 discs being a Blu-Ray and a DVD were stuck onto the side of the title package. If in doubt, always ask your seller before you buy.
In 1959, the New York Times called Sleeping Beauty "a crisply stylized fairyland where the colors are rich [and] the sounds are luscious." In his book The Disney Films, critic Leonard Maltin writes that Sleeping Beauty is "a very good film, but more so for older audiences than for young children." The Gospel According to Disney says the movie illustrates "an eternal promise of resurrection," while From Walt to Woodstock claims it is a "therapeutic experience" that celebrates "a male-female relationship based on true equality."
As for me, I'd say that regardless of what you read into it, Sleeping Beauty is a must-own. A true Disney classic, the movie has such stunning visuals and such a strong villain that it makes up for its one major flaw: the lack of a good lead character.
The art, for example, is astounding. Full of bright 1950s color, each background is a graphic collage of rectangles and straight lines that is filled to the edges with meticulously sharp detail. On each tree you see every leaf; on each shrub you see every thorn. It's a look that set the stage for other Disney movies to come, such as Pocahontas,Mulan and Hercules.
As a whole, the characters are terrific. Kids will love the fairies. On-screen longer than anyone else, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather fly like bumblebees, ooze oodles of personality and are truly funny. They lose their temper and make many mistakes, especially in their attempts to bake a birthday cake and sew a dress.
The villain is perhaps the scariest in any Disney film. "The mistress of all evil," devil-horned, green-skinned Maleficent is a sarcastic, high-class horror show all by herself. She curses baby Aurora to death, imprisons a prince so that he can't save the grown girl, and eventually turns herself into a towering dragon that breathes green fire.
The movie's only weakness is the princess herself. Aurora -- dare I say it? -- is quite a snooze. Unlike the leads in Cinderella or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, this 16-year-old is a plain, passive Barbie doll who sings like an opera star. Unlike Cinderella or Snow White, she has no history of being mistreated. She's likable enough, but tough to relate to.
Still, that's the opinion of an adult, not a child. I give Sleeping Beauty five stars because of the art, because young kids -- especially girls -- will love it, because parents will also be entertained, and because its wholesome message that love conquers hate has rarely been presented better. A product of its time, the film is not perfect but still tough to beat. If you have kids and are building a collection of DVDs for them, this should be on your list.
on May 7, 2003
1959: Disney's presence had already been established. "Snow White" was the first animated film ever to grace the big screen and Disney had dazzled audiences with the 1940 "Fantasia". But in 1959, "Sleeping Beauty" won the hearts of fairy tale lovers, romance lovers and the young at heart. Disney was back in the saddle. The animation to the Sleeping Beauty was taken from the greeting card designs and artwork of a 50's artist. Set in the medieval 14th century, at times resembling the beautiful tapestries and cathedrals of the day, Sleeping Beauty is embellished with cool hues of purple, blue, green and black. A magic romanticism fills the air from start to finish. The score to the film was taken from the ballet music of the Tchaikovsky ballet by the same name. "The Sleeping Beauty" ballet is in fact Tchaikovsky's greastet musical masterpiece, and Disney merely sliced up some of the melodies to fit certain moods and scenes in the film. He also put lyrics to the enchanting "Sleeping Beauty Waltz"- in the song "Once Upon A Dream" in which the Prince and the would-be Sleeping Beauty meet for the first time, waltz and fall in love.
True in many respects to the old fairy tale, which some claim originated in Germany, others in France, where it is known as "La Belle Au Bois Dormant"- the tale is brought back to life through classic Disney charm. Princess Aurora (named after the Roman goddess of the dawn) is born to King Stephen and his Queen (The March from the Tchaikovsky ballet plays) and all the inhabitants of the land come to her Christening in the great hall of the castle. Aurora's three fairy godmothers Flora, Fauna and Merryweather (later Disney animators said they based them on three actual little old ladies) bestow the baby princess with the gifts of song and grace. But the Gothic enchantress Maleficent, the rotten apple in the bunch, was not invited and naturally, she is outraged. She wears a purple-black robe, has Devil horns on her head and her constant companion on her shoulder is a black raven. "Sometimes I don't think she's very happy" Fauna says of her. Caught up in a nasty mood, the evil sorceress casts an evil spell on Aurora. She will prick her finger on a spinning wheel an die on her sixteenth birthday. To avoid this catostrophe, King Stephen orders all the spinning wheels burned. Merriweather, the fairy in blue, brings hope- only the kiss of a brave and noble prince will lift the curse of the death-like sleep.
That prince is Phillip, who was already engaged to wed Aurora as a boy, (in an obvious statement about political unions in European monarchies). The three fairies do their best to prevent the terrible fate on Aurora, so they hide with her in their cottage in the deep forest and change her name to Briar Rose, raising her as their own child. But.. luck would have it, she meets Prince Phillip as he is hunting, they waltz and fall in love and she is brought back to the castle where she was born. There, Maleficent makes her prick her finger on the spinning wheel in a hypnotic trance. The spell is cat Poor Aurora...
But you know the rest, don't you ? Fairy tale loves always have a happy ending. The Tchaikovsky music, the artistic animation, and the engaging story will delight audiences as far into the future as 2059. In 1959, children and young girls might have been captivated (they said that Aurora was based on either Leslie Caron or Audrey Hepburn) but in the future, the tale will still win hearts. Young girls will once again be gripped. Virtue will be rewarded. After all, "true love conquers all."