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Awaken your senses to the majesty of SLEEPING BEAUTY, Walt Disney's classic fairy tale. See more than you've ever seen before through the magic of state-of-the-art technology, and experience this groundbreaking film restored beyond its original brilliance, in the way Walt envisioned it pristine, beautiful, utterly breathtaking. SLEEPING BEAUTY will transform your home into a fantastic world your family will want to experience again and again.
In the original story, Princess Aurora sleeps for 100 years before being awakened by a prince's kiss. In the Disney version, Prince Philip comes to her rescue much sooner. George Brun's orchestral score, which was nominated for an Academy Award, expertly blended famous themes from Tchaikovsky's ballet. With a budget that exceeded $6 million in 1959, this was Walt Disney's most lavish and expensive animated feature to date. Determined to make the characters as realistic as possible, Disney had a live action film shot with actors posing as Sleeping Beauty, the Prince, and Maleficent, for the animators to use. New York Times critic Bosley Crowther called the fight between Prince Philip and Maleficent the noisiest and scariest go-round he Disney has ever put into one of his films. All-New Digital Restoration With Enhanced Picture And Sound All-New 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Surround Sound All-New Once Upon A Dream Music Video, Performed By HANNAH MONTANA'S Emily Osment Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough A Fully Immersive Virtual Tour All-New Enhanced Dance Game With Help From Briar Rose's Forest Friends, You Can Learn How To Dance Never-Before-Seen Alternate Opening Deleted Songs All-New Making Of SLEEPING BEAUTY Featurette And Much, Much More
Disney's 1959 animated effort was the studio's most ambitious to date, a widescreen spectacle boasting a gorgeous waltz-filled score adapting Tchaikovsky. In the 14th century, the malevolent Maleficent not dissimilar to the wicked Queen in Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs taunts a king that his infant Aurora will fatally prick her finger on a spinning wheel before sundown on her 16th birthday. This, of course, would deny her a happily-ever-after with her true love. Things almost but not quite turn out that way, thanks to the assistance of some bubbly, bumbling fairies named Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. It's not really all that much about the title character--how interesting can someone in the middle of a long nap be, anyway? Instead, those fairies carry the day, as well as, of course, good Prince Phillip, whose battle with the malevolent Maleficent in the guise of a dragon has been co-opted by any number of animated films since. See it in its original glory here. And Malificent's castle, filled with warthogs and demonic imps in a macabre dance celebrating their evil ways, manages a certain creepy grandeur. --David Kronke
On the DVD Sleeping Beauty was the last and most lavish of Walt Disney's animated fairy tales. He told the artists not to hurry and to give him "a moving illustration": The film required almost four and one-half years and one million finished drawings. Instead of the 19th century storybook illustrations that had influenced the look of Snow White and Pinocchio, the artists adapted the flattened perspective and jewel-like colors of 15th century French illuminated manuscripts. The results remain unmatched for sheer visual opulence. However, Sleeping Beauty suffers from a weak story: the vision of an ageless princess slumbering in a vine-shrouded tower was replaced with elements of Snow White and a boy-meets-girl musical. The evil Maleficent and the three Good Fairies Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather dominate the film, rather than Princess Aurora and Prince Philip. Sleeping Beauty was originally released in 70mm, and the Blu-ray edition restores the film to its original splendor. Many earlier releases trimmed the wide-screen images and/or muted the glowing palatte. The Bonus DVD looks good on a flat screen monitor, but it pales in comparison to the richness of the Blu-ray. In addition to the commentaries and a making-of documentary, the set includes myriad extras that vary widely in quality. Nostalgia buffs will enjoy the recreation of the old Sleeping Beauty's Castle attraction in Disneyland, and the TV program "Four Artists Paint One Tree" provides a welcome showcase for key talents from the film. But the CG animation of the dragon and the voice imitations of the Good Fairies fail to capture the magic of the originals in the "Dragon Encounter"; the "Maleficent's Challenge Game"--a hi-tech Twenty Questions--sounds only vaguely like the redoubtable sorceress. Rated G: violence --Charles Solomon
Stills from Sleeping Beauty Click for larger image