Waking Sleeping Beauty - DVD movie review

From August 26, 2013


I absolutely love this film!

Where does one begin?

This is the film about the Disney Renaissance period (1989-1999), starting with the unprecedented success of ‘The Little Mermaid’ (with the hiring of Howard Ashman, who wrote the Broadway musical ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ [bet you didn’t know that]) and ending with ‘Tarzan’. (For more info on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disney_Renaissance)

This movie is a behind the scenes account of the Disney that I grew up with. (It’s also somewhat of a companion piece to ‘Walt & El Grupo’ and ‘the boys’.) It tells the real-life struggles going on behind the scenes of some of my favorite animated films.

The film goes explains the bad blood between Roy E. Disney (Walt Disney’s nephew) and studio head Ron Miller (husband of Walt Disney’s daughter, Diane), how Miller was financially running the Studio into the ground and how Disney rallied the other board members to oust him. It goes over the hiring of Frank Wells and Michael Eisner and Eisner’s heated battles with Roy Disney and Jeffery Katzenberg (who eventually got fed up with the company, left, and sided with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen to make their own animation studio: Dreamworks).

The film talks about the amazing talent of Howard Ashman who Roy Disney describes an “another Walt Disney”. There’s even tidbits about the renaming of ‘The Great Mouse Detective’ being on Jeopardy and you even get a view of Tim Burton, who worked at the Studio in the 80’s, animating on ‘The Black Cauldron’.

The entire movie is made of archival footage (much of it from Randy Cartwright, the animator of the Rug in ‘Aladdin’, whose cameraman was none other than John Lasseter, the creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation and WD Imagineering).

Just please, please watch this film. It’s insanely good. Well done, Don Hahn.