Although the Sleeping Beauty fairytale has been around for much longer, Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty was inspired by the Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky ballet – some of Tchaikovsky’s music is even quoted in the score.
Sleeping Beauty is remarkable for a number of reasons: it was the first Disney film to be done in an angular, more medieval style in which every aspect of every scene was detailed and in focus; it was the first Disney film which Disney didn’t work on from beginning to end; it was the last Disney animation to use hand-inked final art. From the opening sequences, the film is more vibrant, more alive than any previous Disney animation – and it remains almost impossibly lovely to look at today.
As with previous Disney animations, the voice casting is superb: Mary Costa did both speaking and singing for Princess Aurora; Eleanor Audley’s Maleficent is pretty much the standard for evil females in animation, even now; and the Three Good Fairies – Flora [Verna Felton], Fauna [Barbara Jo Allen] and Merryweather [Barbara Luddy] – are quite possibly6 the best example of characters who not only provide comic relief, but are actually integral to the story.
The new restoration of Sleeping Beauty marks the first time since its original theatrical run that we can see the film in its original widescreen aspect ratio, with the additional edges of the film adding even more richness to the experience.
This 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition of the Disney classic also comes with enough Bonus Features to please the most discerning film buff: disc One: Audio Commentary by PIXAR CEO John Lasseter, Film Critic/Historian Leonard Maltin and current Disney Animator Andreas Deja; Once Upon a Dream Music Video by Emily Osment [Hannah Montana]; Disney Song Selection [plays just the actual song sequences from the film]; Princess Fun Facts – Pop-Up Video-style track that provides some historical background both for the film and princesses in general; Grand Canyon – a beautiful half-hour film that explores the Grand Canyon, set to the Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofe; The Peter Tchaikovsky Story – an episode of the Wonderful World of Disney that featured a biographical film of Tchaikovsky’s life, plus sneak peeks at Sleeping Beauty. Disc Two: Briar Rose’s Enchanted Dance Game; Sleeping Beauty Fun With Language Game; Picture Perfect – The Making of Sleeping Beauty; Eyvind Earle – The Man and His Art; Alternate Opening; Sequence 8 [Forest Scene; Deleted songs; It Happens I Have a Penny [Version 1]; It Happens I Have a Penny [Version 2]; Art Galleries; Original Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough Attraction; Publicity; Four Artists Paint One Tree; Storyboard Sequences.
Grade: Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty: 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition – A+
Grade: Features – A+
Final Grade: A+