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Sleeping Beauty Blu-ray Review

Sleeping Beauty Blu-ray

Maleficent steals the show in the flawed “Sleeping Beauty.”

After King Stefan and Queen Leah’s daughter Princess Aurora is born, the evil fairy Maleficent curses the innocent child by having her set to die on her sixteenth birthday. Luckily, one of the three Good Fairies (Merryweather) manages to alter the curse by having Aurora enter a deep sleep instead of dying. Moreover, Merryweather’s “gift” offers a way for the curse to be broken via a true love’s kiss. With everyone fearing for Aurora’s life, the 3 Good Fairies decide to protect Aurora by raising her in the isolated forest.

The story jumps ahead 16 years later where, by fate or perhaps chance, Aurora (whose name was changed to Briar Rose while in hiding) meets and falls for Prince Phillip not knowing who he is or the fact that she was arranged to be engaged to him when she was born. Alas, her newfound love and birthday celebration are cut short when the villainous Maleficent shows up. Can Maleficent’s evil plan be stopped? I’m sure you know the answer to that

Disney’s 1959 animated adaptation of the classic fantasy fairytale has long been a favorite amongst Disney enthusiasts, but I’ve never been overly enamored with it. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to admire here. Not only is the animation work some of the finest in Disney history, but the evil Maleficent is also one of the very best villains in their growing catalogue. Additionally, I like that “Sleeping Beauty” actually gives the normally generic Prince character something to do other than to exist as a plot point! But, with all of that said, the screenplay (which took a whopping SEVEN writers to construct) has always been problematic to say the least. Not only is the story rushed, but there’s very little in the way of characterization. Far too much screen time is devoted to the Good Fairies (especially their party plans for Aurora) and poor attempts at humor while the title character (Aurora) is barely given much screentime. Had the film trimmed out some filler moments and added more scenes to develop the characters more, it would have been a stronger movie. As is, it feels like it’s missing quite a bit.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.55:1 1080p. How does it look? The film, which is presented in the rare original theatrical aspect ratio, has never looked better. The beautiful and colorful hand drawn animation is positively striking in hi-def.

Audio Track: 7.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The film’s audio is livelier than ever. From the iconic “Once Upon A Dream” song to the climactic fight between Prince Phillip and Maleficent, the DTS track is positively brimming with life.

Extras:
* Digital HD copy and DVD copy.
* 2 deleted scenes (“The Curse Is Fulfilled” and “The Fair”) and an alternate scene titled “The Arrival of Maleficent.”
* A sing-along option for “Once Upon A Dream” called “Beauty-Oke.”
* “Once Upon A Parade”- A spotlight on Disney’s Festival of Fantasy parade.
* “Eyvind Earle: A Man and His Art”- A featurette on the talented art director Eyvind Earle.
* “Picture Perfect: The Making of Sleeping Beauty”- A thorough making of that contain interviews with multiple Disney employees. Topics include the music, the groundbreaking animation work, Disney’s history, the production of “Sleeping Beauty,” and much more.
* “The Sound of Beauty: Restoring a Classic”- A piece on the sound restoration for the 2008 release.
* A commentary by Leonard Maltin, Andreas Deja and John Lasseter.
* “@DisneyAnimation: Artists In Motion”- Footage of Disney visual development artist Brittney Lee creating a paper Maleficent sculpture.
* “The Art of Evil: Generations of Disney Villains”- An extra about, you guessed it, Disney villains.

Overall Thoughts: If you’re a lifelong “Sleeping Beauty” fan, it doesn’t get much better than this set. Not only is the picture and audio outstanding, but you also get loads of extras.  Check it out.

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October 16, 2014 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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