Waking Sleeping Beauty
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By the mid-1980s, the fabled animation studios of Walt Disney had fallen on hard times. The artists were polarized between newcomers hungry to innovate and old timers not yet ready to relinquish control. These conditions produced a series of box-office flops and pessimistic forecasts - maybe the best days of animation were over. Maybe the public didn't care. Only a miracle or a magic spell could produce a happy ending. Waking Sleeping Beauty is no fairy tale. It's the true story of how Disney regained its magic with a staggering output of hits - "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin," "The Lion King," and more - over a 10-year period.
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A lot of the people that I remember and miss to this day. I started there in 1979 and worked various
positions until my retirement in 2000.
I remember when Eisner and Wells came to take over running things. Wells was truly the people person.
He had an open door policy, like Walt before him. As for Eisner, I was taught "if you can't say anything good about a person, say nothing at all."
It was good to see some of the old buildings,the orignal commissary, the Tea Room (which is long gone), the tunnel
under the Animation Building, which we used a lot when it rained. Ah, memories. Many thanks to the films producers.
I loved it and will enjoy it over and over.
The off-camera narration ties together the rise of the Renaissance of the Disney Animation Department with what could otherwise be unrelated charming anecdotes. The clash of the Titans of the Magic Kingdom brings in the requisite conflict without the sophomoric drama that could have easily have up-staged the magic of some of the pinnacle achievements of the Post-Walt Disney era. The story then culminates in the beginning of the fall without staged scenes or talking-heads deluging documentary media at present.
This and ‘Walt & El Grupo’ enhance the story, while bring to light the creative process as art form versus formula. One hopes that Disney will produce more like these and other victory stories of how to produce.