Written by Erdman Penner
Directed by Clyde Geronimi
Running Time: 1:15
The Sleeping Beauty DVD proves that when Disney puts their muscle behind something it can turn out to be pretty amazing.
There's probably not much need to go into the story but since that's how I do things here we go... Young Princess Aurora is cursed at birth by Maleficent who says that, on her 16th birthday, Aurora will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die. The King send Aurora to live in the woods with three faeries in order to protect her. But things never go quite the way you want them to and 'lo and behold, Aurora pricks her finger. But the faeries did manage to save her, turning the curse of death into a curse of sleep, until true love's kiss awakens her.
Whether the movie is any good or not is almost irrelevant in this day and age. Sleeping Beauty is at the point where it's an icon more than a simple movie. And so I won't go into what I like and don't like about the story because no one really cares. This is all about whether or not buying it for the umpteenth time on DVD is worthwhile. And I'm here to say, very simply, yes it is.
First off the movie looks spectacular on DVD so I have to imagine it looks even better on Blu-ray. The movie was the first animated film to be shot on 70MM which means that theater owners had to modify their screens to have it shown correctly. Over the various video releases, it has never been shown in its original format, and you can clearly see through the numerous documentaries how much better it looks now. So let's go through all the extras you get.
Disc one (of two) has a music video by Disney elf Emily Osment who sings a version of the theme from the movie "Once Upon a Dream." It's not a great song but you can see how Disney is starting to groom Osment to be the next Miley Cyrus. There are also these very strange... music videos I guess you'd call them that showcase scenes from the Grand Canyon set to music. Yes, the Grand Canyon. What any of this has to do with Sleeping Beauty is beyond me, but they're certainly nice to look at. Granted at 30 minutes it goes on a bit too long, but still, it was interesting. Then there is this fascinating documentary/film about the live of Peter Tchaikovsky, the composer whose version of Sleeping Beauty was the inspiration for the movie. It is a true short biopic that was actually quite informative.
Disc two (and I may be moving things around, sorry) has a whole ton of extra stuff. We see deleted scenes and songs, some of which have been hiding out in a vault somewhere, thought to be lost to the ages. There is a lot of stuff for kids including a dance game (played with your DVD remote) and a language function that teaches kids certain words associated with the movie. It's not something the entire family can sit through (since the woman doing the voiceover talks very, very slowly) but I can see how really young kids would be able to watch and learn. There are a couple of documentaries about the making-of the movie and then there is my absolute favorite extra on the DVD. Apparently back two years before the movie was made, you could actually walk through Sleeping Beauty's castle. The tour was shut down a long time ago, but on the DVD you can take a virtual walk through and see what the attraction used to look like. And along the way there are places you can go for more information and learn about how live special effects were done back in the day. It was one of the few extras that I could not stop watching and didn't feel the need to fast forward through. I'm a big fan of the Disney theme parks so to be able to take a trip through an attraction I've never seen was quite amazing. There are a bunch of other things on the DVD as well that I won't go into but suffice to say that the extras go on hours longer than the actual film running time.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall if you already own the movie on VHS or some other incarnation and you're wondering if you need to pick up the DVD I have to say absolutely yes. The DVD is so much more than just the movie.
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