Waking Sleeping Beauty is no fairy tale. It’s a true story about the renaissance that took place between 1984 and 1994 at the fabled Walt Disney Animation Studios and how Disney animation regained its magic with a staggering output of hits including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King and more.
Available on DVD November 30 from Buena Vista Home Entertainment, the 86-minute documentary features the people who were actually there — Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy E. Disney, John Lasseter and others. Directed by Don Hahn, who produced some of the period’s biggest hits, and produced by Peter Schneider, who led the animation group during this amazing period and later became studio chairman, Waking Sleeping Beauty gives viewers an unprecedented look at the conflict, drama and tension that ushered in a decade of unparalleled Disney creativity.
After Walt’s death, without his hands-on supervision, by the mid-1980’s the Disney animation division had fallen on hard times. The artists were polarized between newcomers hungry to innovate and old timers not yet ready to relinquish control. These conditions produced a series of box-office flops and pessimistic forecasts that led everyone to wonder if the best days of animation were over. Hahn and Schneider provide a fascinating and candid perspective of what happened in the creative ranks as Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and the late Roy E. Disney (Walt’s nephew) worked to breathe new life into the company. Hahn and Schneider bring insider knowledge, and offer refreshing candor and humorous anecdotes in describing ego battles, cost Waking Sleeping Beauty DVD– November 30, 2010 overruns and failed experiments, set against dynamic tensions with top leadership.
Each DVD is packaged with a special replica caricature of a particularly tough Beauty and the Beast story meeting drawn by Kirk Wise. Director Don Hahn puts several memorable samples on display and marshals a vast array of
interviews, home movies, internal memos and unseen footage. Waking Sleeping Beauty celebrates the rich history of Disney animation and honors the many writers, artists and composers who created the Disney magic.
Announcing the world premiere of Waking Sleeping Beauty at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, the festival’s documentary programmer Thom Powers said, “The treatment of Waking Sleeping Beauty is so thorough that it (even) includes key figures who famously left Disney such as Don Bluth, John Lasseter and Tim Burton. At one time, children imagined that Walt Disney’s signature meant a film was the creation of one man. This is a more grown-up portrayal that reveals the collaborative, often contentious, experience in all its complexity.”
- Why Wake Sleeping Beauty? Overview featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- Black Friday
- Howard’s Lecture
- Losing Howard
- Recording ‘Part of Your World’
- Research Tips
- To Sir With Love
- The Sailor, the Mountain Climber, the Artist and the Poet – Celebrating Roy Disney, Frank Wells, Joe Ranft and Howard Ashman
- Studio Tours – Personal video footage from animator Randy Cartwright documenting the Animation Studio in 1980, 1983 and 1990
- A Reunion – Rob Minkoff and Kirk Wise
- Walt – What would Walt do? A comparison of Walt’s era and the current era
- Audio Commentary – View the film with commentary by director Don Hahn and producer Peter Schneider
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- DVD Review: Waking Sleeping Beauty (imaginerding.com)
- Review: Waking Sleeping Beauty (chipandco.com)
- Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s Exclusive Boston 70th Anniversary Celebration of Fantasia (chipandco.com)
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