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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
PHOTOGRAPHY

WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY

DVD Review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS:   86 minutes, audio commentary, four featurettes, Studio Tours videos, deleted scenes

VIDEO:  1.78:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

AUDIO:  English 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles:  English SDH

 

STUDIO:  Buena Vista Home Entertainment/ Stone Circle Pictures/ Red Shoes

RELEASE DATE:  11-30-2010

The animation department of Walt Disney was in trouble in 1984.   WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY chronicles the decade long story of how the animation studio rose back up leading to the successful animation films such as THE LITTLE MERMAID, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and THE LION KING.   This documentary directed by Don Hahn and produced by Peter Schneider gives an honest insider’s view on the drama and tension from 1984 to 1994 from several key figures, and also from Hahn and Schneider, who were part of the animation department.   Home movies, photographs, interviews from 60 Minutes, review footage from Siskel & Ebert, and other footage form this film along with interviews with several people including Michael Eisner (who was brought in to head Walt Disney Pictures and formed Touchstone Pictures), Jeffrey Katezenberg (who went on to form Dreamworks with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen), the late Roy E. Disney (who believed animation was the heart of the company), John Lasseter (the key figure behind Pixar), and others.

 

WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY doesn’t shy away from the truth or even try to censor itself.  It is a candid and very truthful portrait.    It shows the dreams and struggles, the battling egos in the top leadership, the experiments to push animation further, and the tensions that helped define the animation films into what they are now for Walt Disney Pictures.   It is a unique behind-the-scenes experience into a company that struggled since the beginning and still continues to survive due to the risks that everyone took because they understood that Walt Disney needed to change with the times always.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

WHY WAKE SLEEPING BEAUTY?-  an overview featurette that tells about why the film was made and the response to the film

THE SALIOR, THE MOUNATIN CLIMBER, THE ARTIST, AND THE POET-  a tribute to four of the many key figures in the documentary: Roy Disney, Frank Wells, Joe Ranft (an animator), and Howard Ashman (a gay man who brought musical theater to the animation films).

A REUNION- Rob Minkoff and Kirk Wise recount their history of working together that lead them to direct a couple of the animated films talked about in WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY.

WALT-   The people involved in making this film give their opinions on what Walt would have thought of the documentary and the story that was told.

 

Director Don Hahn and Producer Peter Schneider give more insight into the story in the film along with playing more interview snippets not in the film.

Rounding out the extras are six deleted scenes of material that didn’t make the final cut and just as fascinating as the material that did make the final cut.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY is a fascinating and truthful portrayal of the ten year period that made the Walt Disney animation department soar again.

 

This DVD review is 11-26-2010 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com