Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sleeping Beauty Blu-ray Review

by Nick 

I bought this Sleeping Beauty Blu-ray several years ago, when I first got my Blu-ray player, but just got around to watching it last weekend.

A couple of things prompted me to finally pop in this disc which was released in 2008, for Sleeping Beauty's 50th Anniversary.
D23 Magazine's article on Eyvind Earle and Sleeping Beauty for one, and Maleficent for the other.
Eyvind Earle was chosen by Walt Disney to be the driving creative force behind Sleeping Beauty, responsible for the absolutely gorgeous styling of every frame of this masterpiece.
And this Blue-ray release brings those images to the forefront. This is arguably the most beautifully rendered of all of Disney's animated classics, seen for the first time in 1080p Hi Def. And the extra wide picture really showcases this.
The story, well, it's...slow at several points. Not enough to lose an adult's interest perhaps, but I could see how a child's attention might wander at times. Barbie and I, on more than one occasion, asked each other if we remembered one scene or another from previous viewings, or remembered things very differently.
The 7.1 surround sound is terrific, I felt I was at Aurora's Christening, dancing with Briar Rose in the forest, and fighting the dragon!
And, finally, it was great to compare Maleficent's take on the tale compared to Sleeping Beauty. As anticipated, the former has completely altered how I view the latter.

The second disc in this collection has a wealth of wonderful extras.

 Games and Activities: 

Maleficent's Challenge.
This is very entertaining Maleficent herself appears to tell you that the magic orb on her staff will read your mind, through a series of questions.
Choose a "Creature," "Element," "Vegetable," or "Other."
You are then asked a series of questions.
My wife chose lettuce. After several questions "Maleficent" guessed that we were thinking Salad!
I chose a dog. Yep, she got it!

Briar Rose's Enchanted Dance Game.
This teaches you the dance steps to Waltz! I confess, we didn't do this one.

Fun with Language Game.
Learn words with the 3 Fairies. For very young children, this teaches you words like "bowl"

Backstage Disney has many "making of" features, with a look at the original Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle walk through attraction, a biography of Eyvind Earle and a look at his art, alternate and deleted scenes, storyboard and art galleries, a look at how they restored the soundtrack, and trailers!
In addition, there is a 16 minute segment from the original Disneyland TV series titled "Four Artists Paint One Tree" featuring a bookend introduction from Walt Disney, and a look at four of the Disney Studios artists, including Eyvind Earle and Marc Davis, and a look at each artist's creative interpretation of one subject. This alone was worth the price of the Blu-ray set.

There is also a DVD which has a view extras of it's own, including a short titled "Grand Canyon" which a visual interpretation of the Grand Canyon Suite, with absolutely beautiful images of the Canyon and surrounding areas, like Monument Valley, which I'd never seen before.

There is a "Diamond Edition" of Sleeping Beauty due to be released later this year, no doubt to coincide with the release of Maleficent.
I'm not sure how they will possibly improve on the visuals and sound, but I confess I am curious to see what extras the new edition will hold.

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