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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2004
One of my favorite movies (animated or nonanimated). THere is a quality and rich story that seems lacking in so many of todays movies (Disney movies included). The music just lifts you up and carries you into the Princess's world, and the ending leaves you with a pleasant sigh without being totally predictable. If you liked the Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast, you'll love this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon October 6, 2008
I have been trying to remember the first time I saw Walt Disney's "Sleeping Beauty," and I cannot remember if I ever saw it in a theater, caught it on television some time, or never sat down to watch it until it came out on videotape. What I did remember is not being particularly impressed by the movie. Certainly I did not consider it to be a classic Disney animated film like "Bambi" or "Cinderella," which is a way of saying that it was not on my "must have" list of Disney movies. Then I watched this 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition of "Sleeping Beauty" and all I can say is that however I saw this film for the first time it was NOT in this expanded version that has restored the original Super Technirama 70 dimensions of the film. I would have remembered a film that had art this gorgeous, even when it is this stylized and even when the music is classical high brow stuff. In the final analysis, "Sleeping Beauty" is clearly like no other Disney animated film, and that is a good thing.

Disc 1 includes "Grand Canyon," a contemporaneous Disney feature (1958) that combines photography of the national park with Ferde Grofe's "Grand Canyon Suite," and it would be the classical music that is the common denominator to the main feature. Disc 2 has Games & Activities over in the Cottage, while the Castle is devoted to the Backstage Disney special features. The games are pretty much geared for younger children (e.g., see "mop" and click on the item the word represents), so most of the goodies on the second disc are for the adults. There is a new documentary on "The Making of 'Sleeping Beauty,'" which combines archival footage with contemporary interviews. The "Never-Before-Seen Alternate Opening" and "Deleted Songs" are not animated but storyboard drawings accompanying the original, more traditional Disney-like, songs that were written for the film before Walt decided to go primarily with a score based on Tchaikovsky's ballet version of the fairy tale.

If you have picked up any of these platinum editions, then you should be well versed in the sort of extras you can expect here in terms of storyboards, artwork, live-action reference footing, music video by some teenage singer, etc. The other one that stands out here is the fully immersive virtual tour of the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough, a Disneyland attraction that actually existed before the part opened and years before the movie was released.

Besides reminding us again that Walt Disney was a true visionary, the special features highlight the pivotal role of Eyvind Earle, the film's production designer. It was Earle who was given an amazing amount of freedom by Walt to design the settings and to paint most of the film's elaborate background paintings (which usually took a week to do, rather than a single day like in most animated films). The interviews with surviving members of the studio make it clear that Earle did not play well with others, but he was fully committed to creating a unique animated film and now that we can see the expanded version, there is no denying that is exactly what they accomplished. Consequently, I am confident I can remember in the future that "Sleeping Beauty" is a beautifully stylized animated film that is a unique jewel in the Disney crown.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2007
This film is another Disney Masterpiece - I really enjoyed it. I've always love fairy tales and even as an adult, I still love them. "Sleeping Beauty" is one of my favorite fairy tales from Charles Perrault, along with "Cinderella" and "Puss n' Boots."

I'd love the scenery, it's like stepping through a magic tapestry and going back in time to the Middle Ages. I'd also love the color-styling of Eyvind Earle, and this film was the reason Eyvind Earle became one of my favorite artists. This film has an excellent soundtrack with additional music from Peter Tchaikovsky's "Sleeping Beauty" ballet - I have the WHOLE score on LPs, and if there's one I love in a movie is a very,very good soundtrack. This film has a top-notch voice acting like :
· Mary Costa...Princess Aurora/Briar Rose,
· Bill Shirley...Prince Phillip,
· Eleanor Audley...Maleficent,
· Barbara Luddy...Merryweather, the blue fairy, and...
· Bill Thompson...King Hubert (Philip's Dad)

So watching this movie is definitely worth watching; I give Sleeping Beauty two BIG thumbs up!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2004
Sleeping Beauty is one of the most ambitious animated films ever made. It's a gorgeous, elegant, and absolutely amazing landmark in animation; a film so charming, memorable, and beautiful that it has been hailed as the most incomparable film in the animated genre, and with good reason. Detailed backgrounds, glorious colors, outstanding visuals and beautiful music are all contributing factors to the grandeur pageantry that "Sleeping Beauty" enthralls on its audience.
Up until the last few years, "Sleeping Beauty" was actually considered one of the few Disney 'failures.' That means, a poor box-office success. But that was 1959. Since then, the film, like "Pinocchio" and "Fantasia," has returned to theaters many times and made way on video for new generations to enjoy, earning large estimates of money and critical praise, not to mention being the most requested Disney film on video after "Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs" and "The Lion King."
It was finally re-released in a fantastic Special Edition DVD, and looking back, I can't believe this was once considered a failure. As if! This is not just a timeless tale of good and evil; the plot is elegantly portrayed with rich textures and stunning animation.
Sleeping Beauty is one of Disney's best animated films, EVER, and a must-own DVD for any collection. If only Disney still made films like this. I don't think we could be so lucky. Don't delay, get this before time runs out!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2014
This Film was made when Disney Still had a hand on approach to his animated films. This was one of the last pictures where each cell was hand drawn and pated. The Blu-Ray brings this classic to life in such a way that I almost felt like my home experience was BETTER than back in the day. The bonus disc is a true bonus ad it gives you history galore I am glad I picked it up verses waiting 10 years
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SLEEPING BEAUTY [1959/2014] [Diamond Edition] [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD] [US Release] Treasure Animated Classic Brought to Life like Never Before! One of Walt Disney’s Most Elaborate and Engaging Animated Features!

Fall under the glorious spell of Disney's Ultimate Princess Fairy Tale! The magic is real as you experience all the pageantry and power on Blu-ray – and for the first time ever on Digital HD – with incredible high-definition picture and thrilling, soaring sound!

Beauty, wonder and adventure spin together in a grand legend that transcends time as Maleficent, one of animation's most spectacular villains, sends the kingdom's beloved Princess Aurora into an enchanted sleep. In a majestic story that awakens all your senses, Good Fairies arm brave Prince Phillip to defeat a fearsome fire-breathing dragon and rescue Aurora. But success in battle may not be enough, for the only way to awaken the Princess is with True Love's kiss!

Create memories that will last a lifetime with Disney's illustrious ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ a must-own for every family's classic collection! Narrated by Marvin Miller

FILM FACT: ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ marked the first animated feature to be shot in Super Technirama 70mm, a technique that exposes images onto double 35mm frames, which are then processed on a 70mm print. The film was printed on special printer lenses developed for Disney by Panavision. The format, which allows the film to move horizontally through the camera instead of vertically and provides a greater range of vision, required the artists to move the characters through a large field of action via intricate mathematical calculations, and to create new colour schemes.

Voice Cast: Marvin Miller (Narrator voice) (uncredited), Mary Costa, Bill Shirley, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Barbara Luddy, Barbara Jo Allen, Taylor Holmes, Bill Thompson, Bill Amsbery (uncredited), Candy Candido (uncredited), Pinto Colvig (uncredited), Rosa Crosby (uncredited), Dal McKennon (uncredited), Thurl Ravenscroft (Singer voice) (uncredited)

Directors: Clyde Geronimi (supervising director), Eric Larson, Les Clark and Wolfgang Reitherman

Producer: Walt Disney

Screenplay: Bill Peet, Joe Rinaldi, Milt Banta, Ralph Wright, Ted Sears, Winston Hibler, Erdman Penner (story adaptation) and Charles Perrault (story "Sleeping Beauty")

Composer: George Bruns (score), Jack Lawrence (score), Tom Adair (songs) and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (adaptation)

Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1 [Super Technirama 70mm]

Audio: English: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English: Original Stereo Theatrical Mix, French: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Russian: 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian

Running Time: 75 minutes

Region: Blu-ray: All Regions and DVD: NTSC

Number of discs: 2

Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ was originally made available in 2008 by way of the 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition Blu-ray release, which was such grand treatment on Blu-ray is only befitting of the labour of love that ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ became from the Walt Disney Studio in the 1950s. The film's production spanned almost the entire decade, beginning with story concept work in 1951 and ending in 1959 with the film's theatrical release. ‘Sleeping Beauty’ was a great strain on the studio's finances, especially from its concept and of course its manpower. It cost so much, in fact over $6 million, that even though it was a box office success upon its release, the animation film still did not recoup its production costs on its initial run. Since then, however, ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY,’ has become a most profitable property for the Walt Disney Company, as its nearly 50-year legacy has touched generations of filmgoers...

I'm sure I'm not the first to make the observation that the villains of Disney's animated features are often more interesting than their heroes and heroines. Think of Cruella de Vil in '101 DALMATIONS,' the Wicked Witch of 'SNO WHITE,' or the Beast of 'Beauty and the Beast,' and it's easy to savour all of the cruel wickedness far more than the blandly-vanilla sweetness. Nowhere may this be more true than with ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY,’ a perfectly fine fable in the Disney canon, but one where its titular Princess Aurora and her romantic melodrama are overshadowed by the vividly drawn supporting characters, and particularly the delightfully-demonic Maleficent. ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ is one where all of the story and character elements all come together in letting us see how the Disney's technical artistry create something truly special.

By now the story of ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ is known by just about anyone who ever had a fairy tale read to them as a child. Based on the first section of Charles Perrault's short story "La Belle au Bois Dormant" and published as part of Perrault's 1697 book "The Tales of My Mother Goose." It's only fair to Disney to say the source material is slim at best. Culled from a mere four paragraphs from Perrault, the tale is quite straightforward and simplistic. Running a brilliant 75 minutes, and the film shows all aspects of its main human characters, which are generic at best. The villain, Maleficent, energises the film, and even the animal characters seem more, well, animated. The real beauty of ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY,’ is in the stunning details, its supporting characters, its wondrous visual acumen, its memorable songs and its beautifully-rendered animation.

‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ is remembered as much, if not more, for its sights and sounds. 'Sleeping Beauty' was produced at a crucial period in American cinema, as television was sweeping the nation and moviegoers were rapidly abandoning the theatre seats for the comfort of their couches. Like all of the major studios at the time, Walt Disney was looking for something new to attract its dwindling audiences. ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ was the first Disney feature to adopt many technological advances of the time, including 70mm (Super Technirama 70) and six-track audio. The film is also a widescreen beauty, composed in 2.55:1, and produced in three-strip Technicolor. It is also the last hand-drawn Disney feature to be inked entirely by human hands.

The result is that there is much to savour and admire in ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY.’ The film is absolutely and undeniably beautiful and its animation is as splendid as any of the unquestionable classics in the Disney pantheon, including 'SNOW WHITE,' 'CINDERELLA' and 'BAMBI.' Marking a further creative departure from past Disney features; ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ has a more arch and defined visual style. Next to the Barbie-like Aurora and angular evil of Maleficent, the plump Snow White seems positively cherubic by comparison. The colour palette, too, is darker and more foreboding. The forest is teeming with menace, thanks to the use of rich, deep purples, green, and reds that are gorgeously realised. The contrast with the far more cheery world of Aurora is also thematically ripe, adding a suggestion of complexity to a story that is greatly in need of depth.

With its action and intensity, ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ is also more aggressive than some previous Disney features. The climactic battle to lift the curse that imprisons the slumbering Aurora, between Prince Philip and an awesome dragon Maleficent, is quite suspenseful and visceral, enough that I'm sure it has scared the out of many small children over the years. The reign of misery that Maleficent and her shadow self/raven Diablo cast upon the kingdom is also no child's play. There is a heft to the darkness in 'Sleeping Beauty' that further helps to off-set the clichéd and conventional aspects of its romantic confections.

‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ may have a plain story, but its strengths are in its spectacle and its select memorable moments and characters. Maleficent is superbly designed, and brought to smooth, scheming life by the excellent voice work of Eleanor Audley. Even her raven sidekick has a pronounced personality, becoming a creature the viewer just loves to hate. Aurora and Phillip's initial meeting and courtship in a highly stylized forest setting is probably the film's most memorable sequence. If not that, then certainly the thrilling climactic battle between Phillip and Maleficent, transformed into an awesome and gorgeously evil dragon. Every turn of a head is carefully drawn and choreographed, and every corner of the screen is filled with luxuriant detail. All of it, down to the last leaf, tapestry, or rocky crag, shines through in this totally beautiful stunning in this high definition Blu-ray release. “It is truly a sight to behold."

Blu-ray Video Quality – ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ has received a wonderful and stunning 1080p encoded offering of a beautiful transfer restoration, with at last framed at 2.55:1, showing more area at the top/bottom and sides of the picture than ever seen before). According to a provided Disney's press materials, 'Sleeping Beauty' has undergone a meticulous frame-by-frame clean-up, culled from the original nitrate negative and requiring years to complete. The result is clearly superior to any video or theatrical, for that matter, presentation seen before. If this is indicative of Disney's future Platinum Series presentations, fans are in for a treat. The source is just about impeccable, with no traces of dirt or blemishes. Blacks are pure, with little of the print fluctuations that usually plague material of this vintage. Contrast is vibrant but retains a film-like look, and there is no faux-digitisation of the image. The originally, already-brilliant Technicolor palette is superior and, in some cases, greatly improved over the previous DVD version. Darker scenes, such as night-time forest scenes and those with Maleficent boast much cleaner and deeper purples, reds and blues. And thanks to the wonders of digital technology, the often disastrous misalignment of three-plate Technicolor is absent here, so the image is always uniform. Detail and sharpness also receive a noticeable boost. The image is three-dimensional, with appreciable depth and excellent clarity even in the most detailed shots. Shadow delineation sees a jump over the inferior DVD release, such as fine textures of Aurora's clothing or minor details in background plates which are now clearly visible rather than vague mush. It's also no surprise that this is a rock-solid encode, with no apparent edge enhancement or motion artefacts.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – Going above and beyond the audio usually offered on re-masters of classic titles, Disney offers a stunning awesome 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track for 'Sleeping Beauty.' It's an excellent beautiful remix, with the studio utilizing newly-discovered 35mm 3-track recordings. Certainly, ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ has never sounded better. It also offers the Original Stereo Theatrical Mix. ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ has been expanded nicely to 7.1. The rear soundstage is nice and full, with the original sound stems utilized to create truly discrete effects that pan smoothly between channels. I did not notice any great exploitation of the two extra surround channels, but certainly the surrounds are full and alive with sound. Minor ambiance is also nicely sustained, particularly during the outdoor and action-y moments. Clarity and depth to dynamic range is full-bodied, with the elements betraying their nearly 50-year age. Low bass is also deep and tight, but not overpowering. The score is also technically impeccable, with a richness I wasn't expecting from the original older title release. All spoken words are very clean and very nicely pronounced. As with this Blu-ray release, Disney has more than earned the Platinum designation with this 7.1 DTS HD Master Audio upgrade.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Special Feature: 3 Deleted Scenes (Never Before Seen Deleted Scenes) [1080p] [13:00] Here we have three new, never before seen deleted scenes like:

“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.’

“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.

“Arrival of Maleficent” (Alternate Scene) Maleficent arrives uninvited to the christening of the Princess Aurora.

All three items are presented by way of original storyboards, narration and newly recorded voice work.

Special Feature: Once Upon a Parade [2014] [1080p] [9:00] Modern Family's Sarah Hyland shares the fairy tale "history" of Walt Disney World's new “Festival of Fantasy” Parade with a small group of young Disney tourists and how the “Festival of Fantasy” Parade was saved by a quick-thinking peasant girl, whom she plays in the story. “Once Upon a Parade” stars the amazing Sarah Hyland from ABC’s “Modern Family”, and we had a fantastic time working on the project. I’m not certain I know a bigger fan of the Disney Parks than Sarah? Check out this video, where Sarah talks about the project, her passion for all things Disney!

Special Feature: The Art of Evil: Generations of Disney Villains [1080p] [10:00] Animators Lino DiSalvo [‘FROZEN’] and Andreas Deja [‘ALADDIN’ and ‘The Lion King’] share memories of their favourite Disney villains and discuss the keys to creating memorable antagonists, all while looking back at the career, contributions and iconic characters of classic Disney animator, Marc Davis [‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’], among many others, who appears via vintage interview snippets.

Special Feature: @DisneyAnimation: Artists in Motion (Extended Edition) [1080p] [4:00] 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, we go deeper into Britney Lee’s process. I thought this particular item was a complete load of old rubbish and a total waste of time!

Special Feature: Beauty-Oke: Once Upon a Dream [1080p] [3:00] A dynamic sing-along for "Once Upon a Dream."

Classic Bonus Features:

Special Feature: The Sound Of Beauty: Restoring A Classic [1080p] [11:00] Presented in 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, this stunning feature, where we sit down with Randy Thornton and Terry Porter, the sound restoration technicians that worked on the film's [2008 50th Anniversary Edition] sound mix. As the men point out with "before and after" comparisons, the lack of compression has yielded hidden intricacies of the soundtrack that have been lost for decades. As Walt Disney Music President Chris Montan makes clear, the difference is quite audible, and it makes the luscious experience of the film that much better, with sound and music to match the picture.

Special Feature: Picture Perfect: The Making of Sleeping Beauty [2008] [1080p] [44:00] The centrepiece of this making-of special fresh documentary, mixes newly-discovered production footage, vintage interview material with Walt Disney, and new chats with Disney historians, animators and industry luminaries, especially among them is PIXAR's John Lasseter. It nicely encapsulates the production troubles that befell 'SLEEPING BEAUTY,' which at the time represented a considerable cost investment for Disney, as well as a shift in the studio's animation techniques, among them being the fact that this was their last hand-inked feature. Kudos to Disney for not whitewashing the story and details of wild cost overruns and internal politics are not discarded, which makes for really fascinating viewing.

Special Feature: Eyvind Earle: A Man and His Art [1080p] [8:00] Focuses squarely on the life and career of Sleeping Beauty's most talented art director Eyvind Earle who directly painted or at least supervised the production of every single background seen in the film, with incredible amounts of detail crammed into every angle.

Audio Commentary: Commentary is with PIXAR guru John Lasseter, film critic and historian Leonard Maltin, and Disney animator Andreas Deja: The trio offers a nice balance of perspective. Deja illustrates the technical aspects and changes in animation styles that 'SLEEPING BEAUTY' ushered in, as well as some behind-the-scenes Disney politics; Maltin gives his typical lavish spin on the film's legacy within the Disney canon, while John Lasseter is the most persuasive in detailing the lasting influence the film has had on the medium. Before the audio commentary starts, you get to actually see Andreas Deja, John Lasseter and Leonard Maltin in the studio with a short introduction before the start of their very nice and interesting audio commentary in conjunction with the film. You also get other original audio snippets from Walt Disney and some of the original cartoonist.

Blu-ray Sneak Previews: Disney 101 Dalmatians [Diamond Edition]; Maleficent; Disney FROZEN Sing-Along Edition; Disney PLANES: Fire & Rescue and Disney Legend of The Neverbeast.

Finally, this ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ 2014 Diamond Edition release is filled with endless features and bonus footage taken right from the Disney Vault that’s sure to excite viewers of all ages; the ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ set includes an all new making-of documentary. Plus, it takes you further inside the pre and post-production process, serving up an alternate opening, and it is a beautiful celebration of Tchaikovsky as well as the Disney artists, along with countless other snippets that have never before been seen. This 50th Anniversary Diamond Edition is a veritable set that is a definite “once upon a dream” for lovers of all things Disney and especially their magical animation feature films and the treasure trove. Although, this new 2014 Diamond Edition has the same brilliant digital presentation as the 2008 Blu-ray edition, the biggest flaw is the bonus content, which sadly the Disney people have decided to drop some of the special extras from this 2014 Blu-ray release. So if you happen to own the 2008 edition, hold on to that. But if you aren't a fan of supplements or feel this will be a better upgrade, fell free to indulge in this new edition of a delightful Disney animation classic. Watching the film again, I was also struck by its script. Much of the dialogue is extremely poetic, which simply adds to the film’s overall mystique. Most animated films do not have particularly outstanding dialogue, but are just well-plotted. Sleeping Beauty not only has wonderful dialogue, but also improves on the overall plotting of the original piece, by reworking the original story and having Aurora and Phillip meet and fall in love before Aurora is put to sleep my Maleficent’s curse. There is simply so much here to appreciate, from the great script, outstanding voice talent, brilliant animation, the wonderful song “Once Upon a Dream” that always stays with you, and the Tchaikovsky score that is perfectly fitted to the film, despite having been composed decades before the animation film’s conception. ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ is truly a masterpiece and one of the best of the Disney classics. Very Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon November 7, 2013
I realize that this DVD was expensive but I felt that I'd take my chances this time. I thought that because it was around my birthday, that I'd like to have this one and was glad that it finally came out on DVD. It was still a very good movie, I thought. It brought back many memories for me when I was growing up and now that I have it, I can enjoy for a long time and watch it whenever I want!

It seems that things in DVD are getting more and more expensive especially for these "classic Walt Disney movies" but I guess a person -- if they want it bad enough, like anything else -- has to just 'bite the bullet' as you might say, and just look at the fact that it is the type of movie -- if you like it, you will get to enjoy it more and more BECAUSE of the fact that you can watch over and over again if you choose to.

Going out to movies theatres these days are most likely more expensive to do these days too, so if you have a limited income, it to me, makes more sense to invest in the DVD's for your own enjoyment because you can see it as much as you'd like to, and WHENEVER you'd like to. When you have that privilege, the movies you buy, pay for themselves! I also feel that if you can at least have that kind of 'control' over what the media gives out these days on TV, it makes it more worth your while in doing so. Like my other DVD's of this same "Walt Disney classic's" genre -- like Aristocats etc. I have been able to enjoy watching those too more than once since I bought them, and have had just as much enjoyment out of them as this one and some of the other new DVD's I just bought. Since I got rid of the 'basic cable' that we had for TV, I have had NO REGRETS as I can now watch 'what I want - when I want' and not have to put up with what the cable companies have to offer these days. If you still have to put up with that, then we all know WHO has control of the media!
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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. Under-appreciated when first released, I think it will now receive the praise it so clearly deserves. Bravo!
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on May 24, 2004
Sleeping Beauty is Disney's retelling of the fairy tale of the same name. This DVD release of Disney's 75 minute movie features options to view it in either the original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio, or in a "pan and scan" 1.33:1 aspect ratio version that captures most of the action while using the full height of a standard television screen. A second DVD includes supplemental material on the history and making of the film.
The story itself departs somewhat from the traditional fairy tale version, with a story line that provides a little more scope for character exposition and interaction. The result still retains a fairy tale feel, and the plot remains simpler than most of Disney's other animated features.
The biggest strengths of the movie are in its wonderful animation, artwork, and music.
The animation is perhaps the best of any Disney movie. The animators were exceptionally good at using facial expressions to help tell the story - Maleficent's face perfectly expresses her smug satisfaction when something goes her way, and Princess Aurora's expression when she first meets Prince Phillip by surprise perfectly communicates the various emotions that are running through her. The animation of the action is also wonderful, with some of the best moments being Aurora's dancing and Phillip's battle with the dragon.
The background artwork is terrific. Each background is really a high quality painting, full of scene specific detail and yet all coordinating to give the picture overall artistic unity and medieval feel. And yet, all this beautiful background coordinates with the characters in a way that avoids overpowering them.
Unlike some of Disney's other animated classics, this film did not use original music, but instead wisely went with Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty ballet music. Tchaikovsky's beautiful classic music perfectly complements the beautiful, artistic nature of everything else in the film.
All the attention to artistry and detail made the film too expensive to be a commercial success in 1959, but it also made the film a timeless classic that can continue to be enjoyed today and far into the future. Get it now, or you may have to wait seven years for Disney's next rerelease.
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on May 11, 2004
One of Disney's best animated films has to be Sleeping Beauty. The story of Princess Aurora who is taken away from the kingdom by the three good fairies in order to protect her from the curse of the wicked fairy Maleficent. The film looks just like a medieval tapestry and the scenery is amazing. Disney's Sleeping Beauty has some of the best animation ever seen on film.
It is wonderful that Disney has been releasing these restored versions on DVD of their classic films and adding some wonderful documentaries and behind the scenes.
Sleeping Beauty contains some of the most widely recognized Disney characters: Princess Aurora(Briar Rose), The three good fairies Fauna, Flora and Merryweather and the most notoriously diabolical villain Maleficent.
While being an animated film, that doesn't make it any less thrilling, suspensful or exciting. I recommend seeing this movie just to see Maleficent. She appears in flames at Aurora's christening and she goes out with a bang as a ferocious fire breathing dragon. This movie is truly an epic in every sense of the word: from the wicked fairy's curse, to the princess hiding out in a cottage with the three good fairies, to the princess meeting her fate atop the castle to Prince philip slaying the dragon and running up the stairs to find the Sleeping Beauty. This is one film that both adult and child can truly enjoy.
The Perfect Disney Film!!!!
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