on May 10, 2004
This is my favorite of all the animated Disney films..... and I have reasons... it was the first to be filmed in wide screen.... it was also made with a stereophonic score and it was stylish and artistic, not "cartoon-like"...... this Disney restoration is amazing however, and the film looks like I remember it when I saw it in 1959. The colors are brilliant and clear.... the blue is sky blue and the pink is true rose pink.... and every color has the subtile shades that they should have... obviously reproduced from the exsisting cells and background art in the Disney archives. The additional features are plentiful and fun, and the menus are consistant with the look of the film. There is a game section that uses rock and roll music for an intro and there is a modern interpretation of the main song by a pop group, but these are very minor concessions to modern maids..... on the whole, this is an incredible 2 disc package for anyone who loves the painstaking and time consuming art that these pre-computer animations now use.
There are several short subjects, including a biography of Tchaikovsky, "Four Artists Paint a Tree" and "Grand Canyon" which are all pluses and fun to see and take us back to 1959.
on May 3, 2004
I bought the Disney's Sleeping Beauty on DVD for my daughter's first christmas...but in all honesty I really bought it for myself. I love all of Disney's fairytale adaptations, and this one is one of my favorites, right up there with Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast.
Althought the animation is done by hand and not by the newest digital technology(by computer), it looks a little dated compared to some of the newer animation movies released by Disney. Like other Disney classics released on DVD, they have remastered the film and made the colors vivid. You can also chose what format you want to watch the film in either full or wide screen. Not to mention added lots of bonus materials including some about the making and design of the movie, which should be interesting to adults that have seen this movie during their childhood. Also there are a couple of games included on the DVD which are good if your children are old enough to play on the computer(my daughter is only 6 months so she is not quite ready for those). Another interesting feature found on the DVD is about the music, if it sounds formiliar that is because it was written by composer Peter Tchaikovsky, Disney only added lyrics to the music scores of the "Sleeping Beauty" ballet.
The story is excellent, one for the ages. The only thing that I have caution about is that if you have younger children I would think twice about showing them this movie, speaking from personal exprience, when I first saw this movie at the age of five our six I was very scared when the wicked fairy Maleficent transformed into a fire breathing dragon. I really don't plan on showing my daughter this movie until see gets much older, being only a baby now I don't think will have much interest in it now anyway.
I definitely recommend Sleeping Beauty to your Disney DVD collection.
on April 12, 2004
"Sleeping Beauty" is one of the first Disney films I remember watching; I was 3 or 4 I think. We used to rent the video in the late 80s one time after another (it wasn't available for sale back then). But then, I started collecting Disney movies and by the time I was 11, "Sleeping Beauty" was a faded memory, and though very young the last time I saw it, I was so struck by it, that I could remember a few details from it (such as the "Once Upon A Dream" sequence and the dragon fight). Then, in 1995, Disney rereleased it to theatres and one can only imagine how excited I was to watch it again. I can never describe the feeling I had while watching it. Everything just looked and sounded so familiar, as if I never stopped watching it. I eagerly awaited for the January (1996) video release. The tape never left my VCR. I watched the film night and day for a year, seriously. Everything about this film is so magnificent: the animation is stunningly detailed, the music is magical and the characters are highly appealing. To this day, "Sleeping Beauty" remains one of my favorite Disney films ever. It holds childhood memories of mine and the beauty of all that's Disney.
on January 30, 2004
Finally, the apex of Walt Disney's achievement in animation is delivered on DVD in a breathtaking restoration. Certainly, the much-acclaimed artistic merits of "Sleeping Beauty" come to life here in a form that may actually surpass its original theatrical presentation. But the stunning visuals serve to enhance what is possibly Disney's most accomplished narrative. The subtle character touches and combination of drama, humor, romance and adventure play out in wonderful balance, all leading to an exciting climax that has often been copied in several subsequent Disney films...but never to the same effect. The story takes place within a completely convincing fantasy world, giving a real sense of time and place for the characters - and viewers - to inhabit. Children will never forget the warm and lovely princess, her charmingly realistic young prince, and the greatest villain in Disney animation. Adults will be caught up in a nicely paced story that unfolds with just the right mix of fantasy and magic.
"Sleeping Beauty"'s story and art touched me as a child, and the film continues to amaze and transport me today. The multiple galleries of production and concept art present a fine display of the substantial talent and imagination the went into the making of this elegant and elaborate film. This is truly a one-of-a-kind animated film that may never be surpassed, and this DVD package deserves a place in any collection of film classics, animated or otherwise.
on January 29, 2004
Looking at it today, one can't realize how could this film possibly flop in its initial release. Back in 1959, it cost a monstrous $6 million to produce and earned back less than that. Its failure almost caused the company a bankruptcy and as a resault, subsequent Disney releases used the cheaper Xerox style and the cut-in-costs immediately showed. Disney films never looked as glamorous or as lavish as they used to, up until "The Little Mermaid" arrived in 1989. Nevertheless, all the hard work put on "Sleeping Beauty" paid off. This film is still as breathtaking as ever, especially from today's point of view. Unlike today, where every animated film is made fully by computer, "Sleeping Beauty" dates back to a time where human hands used to do the whole job. And visually, it's definitely in the same league as today's features. One can't realize the amount of attention to detail (most notably in the forest where Aurora meets Prince Phillip). The music in the movie is by Tchaikovsky, so you might recognize some old tunes you know. Character-wise, Aurora is a pretty passive heroine, whereas her sidekicks, three charmingly sweet fairies, are much more effective in the story. The villainess in the film is the diabolic Melficent. She is up there with Ursula as the two best Disney villainesses ever. The film's highlight is generally thought to be the dragon fight at the end, and for good reason. It's masterfully animated and is an excellent example of how a good climax should be.
"Sleeping Beauty" is a masterpiece which should be enjoyed by everyone.
on November 28, 2003
This movie is probably my favorite old Disney movie, and it's digitally remastered, which makes it especially great. The colors are spectacular, and the story makes you fall in love with animation all over again.
Sleeping Beauty (in case you didn't know) is a story about Aurora, a princess, who, on the day she was to be given special gifts by her fairy godparents, she was cursed by an especially evil fairy. The curse was that on her 16th birthday, she would prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die. So, she gets taken away by her fairy godmothers and hidden in a small cottage in the forest, not told of her royal heritage. Everything is all fine and dandy until the day of her sixteenth birthday, when she meets a boy in the woods (who just happens to be her betrothed, though she doesn't know it) and her fairy godmothers give her a magical (which they REALLY weren't supposed to do) dress and cake. A spy for the evil fairy sees the magic, then the princess, and tells her, so Aurora actually ends up pricking her finger.
But, everything turns out fine and dandy, and everyone lives happily ever after.
Recommmended for: EVERYONE. Everyone loves this movie (for the most part), even if they won't admit it.
on November 26, 2003
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.
on November 24, 2003
Between the classic Armitage backdrops and the beautiful animation (it's hard to explain to kids today that Maleficent was drawn BY HAND, not in a computer, a'la Pixar) this ranks among the most intricate animated films ever made.
This film is from an era when feats of animation were displayed without apology- the flames licking the vine that envelopes Sleeping Beauty's castle, for example(and really, the vine itself) are testament to a bygone time when stunning visual effects were all the more stunning for having come from a real hand, a real paintbrush, liquid ink.
The story itself is a departure, in classic Disney style, from the original Sleeping Beauty stories from cross-cultural folklore. Disney implements such characters as the fairies, the bumbling King Hubert, anthropomorphic animals (always) and the greatest villian of all time- Maleficent. These characters mesh with the sheer animation artistry to raise this bedtime story from the context of simple narrative to the epic romantic accomplishment of the type Disney is known for.
While we all, of course, anticipate the happy ending, the wedding, the classic Disney optimism, this one is worth looking at not only as an archetypical fairy tale, but also as an exemplar of mid-century animated art.
on October 29, 2003
The Disney of today could take a lot of lessons from this movie. Eisner has taken a wonderous, sweet, innocent, and childlike American Icon and turned it into the corporate entertainment equivalent of a fast food chain, desperately trying to please everyone, including audiences not normally associated with what Disney used to stand for (think Tarantino's "Kill Bill").
Most of Disney's recent animated films tinker with the classics in an effort to bring them up-to-date. As if today's kids are so hip, so thoroughly modern in every way, that they can't take a step back in time without references to modern-day satire. Who, I ask you, wants to bother with "Lilo and Stitch"?
This masterpiece was Walt Disney at his best. Look at the landscapes. The artists didn't bother with 3 dimensions. They revelled instead in creating terrific designs based loosely on the shapes and lines of nature. This was more in keeping with medieval painting. And listen to the lush musical score. Not a late 50's sound to be heard. All the music for "Sleeping Beauty" is adapted straight from Tchaikovsky's ballet of the same name. The creators of this movie heralded back to previous centuries not only for the story, but for the soundtrack and artistic inspiration as well.
This is exactly what Disney was meant to do, and sadly, no longer does. Put in the DVD and escape.
on October 13, 2003
Sleeping Beauty was one of the first Disney animated films I remember my folks taking me to see. As a child during my 'dinosaur' phase, I loved watching Maleficent turn into the dragon and fight Phillip. The story, you should know by now of course, young princess whisked away by three fairy 'godmothers' to protect her from evil sorceress, raised in the forest unaware of her heritage, meets prince charming unaware he's a prince, eventually finds out they're betrothed to each other as prince fights sorceress. The re-mastering technique employed on this DVD yielded incredible results, the image was actually more vibrant and colorful than originally aired in 1959 and it looks marvelous on today's widescreen HDTVs. I was quite taken with the art, quite unlike anything Disney has done before or since with it's angular geometry and perpendicular themes. Aurora and Maleficent duel for most beautiful Disney female forms to date. The extras on the DVD are quite interesting as well. The original theatrical companion pieces The Grand Canyon was sublime and the snippet of how four artists paint a tree helped glean a bit into the mindset of the brilliant artists on the Sleeping Beauty project. Highly recommended, not just as a child's story, but as an impressive art piece and study of mood and texture.