Monday, March 28, 2011

Disn-A-Thon: Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Adaptation of the fairy tale of the same name. Princess Aurora is cursed by the evil witch Maleficent - who declares that before Aurora reaches her 16th birthday she will die by a poisoned spinning-wheel. To try to prevent this, the king places her into hiding, in the care of three goodnatured - but not too bright - fairies. [imdb]
Sleeping Beauty definitely is top of my list in special features... I've owned the DVD set, and it was packed full of extras.  This was the first time I watched the blu-ray, and it has even more.  On the first disc, there's the movie, the movie with video commentary, simple audio commentary, "fun facts" popups during the movie, and an additional feature that is by-far my favourite extra from any of the Disney releases:

Grand Canyon is about a half-hour of footage (in wonderful depth) of the national park, accompanied by the music of "The Grand Canyon Suite" by Ferde GrofĂ©.  This short film accompanied the inital release of Sleeping Beauty and is included here on the DVD and blu-ray sets... Honestly, I could watch this again and again.

Okay, that was disc one(1)... On the second disc, there's a virtual walk-through of Sleeping Beauty's castle at the Disneyland park.  As the walk-through goes along, some "imagineers" describe each stop and explain the technical details behind them.  After this, there's a bit about the creation and history of the attraction, which explains the various changes over the years... and then we have a nice long documentary about the making of the film itself.  I fell asleep during this, but I've seen it many times before.  It's quite good.

Then there's a history of the stylist and background designer, Eyvind Earle, in depth on his personal style and how it affected the entire film.  As we go on, there's a couple "The Story of Tchaikovsky" bits which are rather entertaining, and some TV bits...  Oh yes, then there's a few deleted scenes, excluded songs, and a few games.

I'm sure I'm forgetting quite a bit, but there was a lot to get through.  One last special feature was a television special surrounding four(4) of the Disney artists each painting one specific tree, focusing on the diferences in style and form between them all.

Yeah, this is a very rewarding set, and I'll always be really happy with it.  I'd recommend it to anyone.