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4.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 15 October 2008
Unfortunately demand from the public caused Sleeping Beauty to be almost rush released a few years ago. Now it's fantastic to have this classic back getting the 'Platinum Edition' treatment it deserves.
The digital restoration makes Sleeping Beauty look incredible... beautiful is kind of an understatement. If you researched into this film you'd discover that Walt's vision was for the art to carry the movie. Being able to see Sleeping Beauty in its original widescreen splendidness certainly highlights that. The restoration really makes those colorful backgrounds stand out. It's incredible to think that this entire movie was produced by hand even though some of the special effects look like they could have been produced in the computer editing process (that kind of editing wasn't invented in the era of this movie though). Sleeping Beauty truly was the end to an era.
The extras are the standard kind of thing we've come to expect from Disney's 'Platinum' series... deleted scenes, a making of featurette, deleted songs, an alterate opening and some games for the really young ones. The 'making of' is extremely informative and a must for anyone fascinated by the art of this movie. Disney have kept this fresh for the new generation by having Emily Osment of Hannah Montana fame sing a new version of 'Once Upon A Dream' in an exclusive music video just for the DVD.
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on 29 August 2003
Keyed to the style of Disney artist Ervind Earle, SLEEPING BEAUTY has long been renowned as one of Walt Disney Studio's most artistically beautiful films--and now with this meticulous restoration Earle's vision comes to the home market in a DVD package that is sure to win praise from every fan of hand-drawn animation.
The story, of course, is the time-honored fairy tale. Princess Aurora is cursed at birth by the evil Maleficent, who declares that on her sixteenth birthday the princess shall prick her finger on a spinning wheel's spindle and die--but fortunately the powers of good are able to mute the effect of the curse; the princess shall not die, but shall instead fall into a deep sleep from which she can be only awakened by love's first kiss.
Earle's vision for the story is drawn from a host of sources, some of them more immediately apparent than others. The result is a curious mixture of flat illustration and meticulous detail that imparts both a modernist edge and the quality of an ancient illuminated manuscript--a truly remarkable concept that gives the film a visual style completely unlike any other among the Disney classics. The DVD offers the option of viewing the film in either its original widescreen ratio or pan-and-scan format--but why any one would elect pan-and-scan is completely beyond me; if ever there was a film that made good and full use of the widescreen ratio, this is it, and you'll want to see every inch of Earle's remarkable work.
Earle's style aside, SLEEPING BEAUTY has been influenced by a number of films that are worth noting. In terms of plot detail, it has been very clearly influenced by Disney's earlier SNOW WHITE, and the designs for the evil Maleficent and her "goons" are very clearly influenced by FANTASIA's "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence--and to magnificent effect; Maleficent is easily among the darkest characters ever created for film. Interestingly, many visual set-ups also seem to have been influenced by MGM's THE WIZARD OF OZ, most notably in the scenes in which the three good fairies rescue Prince Philip from Maleficent's nightmarish castle.
Unlike some animated films, the voices are beautifully matched to the characters, with Mary Costa as Princess Aurora and Eleanor Audley (who also performed the Wicked Stepmother in Disney's CINDERELLA) as Maleficent standouts among the cast. The score, which is based on the brilliant Tchaikovsky ballet score, is also extremely well handled and includes the memorable "Once Upon a Dream."
All of this has been lovingly, shining restored, and quite frankly even if you saw the film in its first release the result here will no doubt surpass it. There is not a blip, a glitch, or a sound-surge to be found. And as is usual with Disney "limited release" DVD editions, the package includes a host of extras, some designed to appeal to the younger set (there are two simple games, neither of which require a CD-ROM) for children and a host of interviews and documentaries. Fortunately, many of the people involved in SLEEPING BEAUTY are still with us--including Ervind Earle and Mary Costa--and their various contributions make the bonus package truly superior.
All of this said, it should be noted that like FANTASIA, SLEEPING BEAUTY is more likely to appeal to adults who can fully appreciate the visual charms of the film than to children, who may find the film's tendency to linger over visuals a bit too much for a limited attention span. But this is indeed a Disney masterpiece, and it belongs in your collection.
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on 15 December 2009
Blu-ray zone B only

Ratio of the feature film:
2.55:1 (original ratio)

Languages of the feature film:
- DTS Master Audio 7.1: English
- DTS 5.1: Latin Spanish, Italian, Dutch
- Dolby 2.0: Audio Descriptive Service

Subtitles for all the videos:
- Latin Spanish, Italian, Dutch, English, English for the hearing impaired

Verdict:
An outstanding picture and sound quality, Disney in charge of this restoration did an excellent job, this film couldn't have been watched in better condition than it is today. Bravo !!!
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Visually, this is without a doubt the most beautiful piece of work that came out of Disney studios, and for mainly economic reasons, it just wouldn't be topped after. But just like Pinocchio [Blu-ray] [1940], another wonderful film, it is the blu-ray format itself that unlocked a film I hardly recognised compared to my VHS version. In its original 'Technirama' super wide format (the only Disney film to have this) and completely restored musical score, Sleeping Beauty appears as though it was filmed yesterday thanks to the amazing restoration and digital clarity that, once paused, allows the viewer to calculate how just one paused frame of animation is a work of art in itself.

Sleeping Beauty is notable for its original style of art that that took nearly a decade to research and complete, as Walt was defiant on having a film that, visually, was very different from his other films. The outcome is an amazing mix of Medieval stylistic shapes and incredibly bold colours that makes this one of the most original Disney films of the past. The backgrounds are often almost photographic quality whilst being contrasted by the geometric shape of the characters with bright, bold paint that just jump out the screen. Perhaps the most impressive scene in the film now is towards the end where Malificent, the villainess, transforms into a beautifully modelled dragon just oozing of 1950's stylistic elements, and yet retaining the terror of such a simple, alarming form.

The popularity of Sleeping Beauty is still rather inconsistent though. Despite the flawless visual elements, many believe the plot itself is weak and doesn't flow as well as earlier films. This is a good argument, but one which can be argued against because Disney wanted to produce a different kind of fairy-tale; one that was more progressive and shared the story more between the characters, rather than letting the Princess have most of the screen time.

The restoration makes the film a brand new experience. The ultra-wide scope reveals things you've never seen before, as well as giving a huge benefit to the animators in that movements and actions could sweep straight across the screen for a whole new dimension - one such example being the lightening bolts darting across the screen before the dragon fight. Every detail of the artwork is crisp as it could possibly be, whilst looking astonishingly like a brand new film because its so darn clear.
Soundtrack wise, its also very interesting that the original musical score was discovered in its original takes during practice sessions (on magnetic tape), allowing the people at Disney to use these un-blemished cans and do away with the original soundtrack! An amazing discovery that again, gives the film a new feel because the Stereo and clarity is far greater than old nitrate film.

As usual, the second disc is crammed full of featurettes and galleries, making the most of the Blu-Ray disc. In fact, theirs probably about 3 times more information on the disc than that of 'Pinocchio', with many featurettes being at least half an hour long. The one I have particularly enjoyed the most is called 'Three Men Paint One Tree'; a short documentary from the time of release where Walt narrates how some of his artists have gone out to a field and painted a tree in their own unique way. Such rare documentaries as this included in the package makes this the best value Blu-Ray I've bought - something of a major bargain.

Up to now, I'll still conclude that Disney have given Sony a 'major' helping hand in showing off the capabilities of blu-ray, as the few other publishers seem to take advantage of it, let alone show it off. Sony could be blamed partly for this, but the format in question, even down to its anti-scratch coating, should be preserved for the near future.

Final note - Unlike Pinocchio, this does not contain the additional standard DVD disc in the case. Just the 2 blu-ray discs.
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I have been trying to remember the first time I saw Walt Disney's "Sleeping Beauty," and I cannot remember if I ever saw it in a theater, caught it on television some time, or never sat down to watch it until it came out on videotape. What I did remember is not being particularly impressed by the movie. Certainly I did not consider it to be a classic Disney animated film like "Bambi" or "Cinderella," which is a way of saying that it was not on my "must have" list of Disney movies. Then I watched this 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition of "Sleeping Beauty" and all I can say is that however I saw this film for the first time it was NOT in this expanded version that has restored the original Super Technirama 70 dimensions of the film. I would have remembered a film that had art this gorgeous, even when it is this stylized and even when the music is classical high brow stuff. In the final analysis, "Sleeping Beauty" is clearly like no other Disney animated film, and that is a good thing.

Disc 1 includes "Grand Canyon," a contemporaneous Disney feature (1958) that combines photography of the national park with Ferde Grofe's "Grand Canyon Suite," and it would be the classical music that is the common denominator to the main feature. Disc 2 has Games & Activities over in the Cottage, while the Castle is devoted to the Backstage Disney special features. The games are pretty much geared for younger children (e.g., see "mop" and click on the item the word represents), so most of the goodies on the second disc are for the adults. There is a new documentary on "The Making of 'Sleeping Beauty,'" which combines archival footage with contemporary interviews. The "Never-Before-Seen Alternate Opening" and "Deleted Songs" are not animated but storyboard drawings accompanying the original, more traditional Disney-like, songs that were written for the film before Walt decided to go primarily with a score based on Tchaikovsky's ballet version of the fairy tale.

If you have picked up any of these platinum editions, then you should be well versed in the sort of extras you can expect here in terms of storyboards, artwork, live-action reference footing, music video by some teenage singer, etc. The other one that stands out here is the fully immersive virtual tour of the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough, a Disneyland attraction that actually existed before the part opened and years before the movie was released.

Besides reminding us again that Walt Disney was a true visionary, the special features highlight the pivotal role of Eyvind Earle, the film's production designer. It was Earle who was given an amazing amount of freedom by Walt to design the settings and to paint most of the film's elaborate background paintings (which usually took a week to do, rather than a single day like in most animated films). The interviews with surviving members of the studio make it clear that Earle did not play well with others, but he was fully committed to creating a unique animated film and now that we can see the expanded version, there is no denying that is exactly what they accomplished. Consequently, I am confident I can remember in the future that "Sleeping Beauty" is a beautifully stylized animated film that is a unique jewel in the Disney crown.
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on 28 May 2002
The film is visually stunning and beautiful which is why it was made in widescreen which was very advanced for 1959. So WHY WHY WHY is this DVD in full pan and scan screen when I know the movie was made in the widescreen format?? (It even says so in the 'making of' documentry) One of the reasons I bought this movie on DVD was to see it in widescreen. I wish i saved my money I've got the pan& scan VHS anyway. The extras though are quite good. The making of feature is very informative and the virtual galleries are very well made. The movie itself is brilliant thanks to the impressive art. (which we can only see half of)
Disney can You swap my DVD for a WIDESCREEN one!!
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on 16 October 2008
What is so exquisite about Sleeping Beauty is that it looks like a medieval tapestry coming to life. If you look closely at the details in the backgrounds you can see little twists in the leaves and curves in the tree bark which overall gives an ornate and opulent look still refreshing to this day. It was the most expensive film in it's day, it took over four years to make and Walt Disney stated to his artists and animators that they should take their time over it, make it beautiful and so it came as a shock when it didn't do all that well in the cinemas. It wasn't really able to communicate to an american youth who were smoking things they shouldn't and it seemed this highly romantic film was too idealistic in it's portrayal of young love, it felt as if it should have been released earlier than the late 1950's, so culturally you can see that it wasn't able to make audiences identify with it. But this is probably the one Disney film which stands the test of time better than any other, artistically speaking; since the music is exemplary and the imagery and animation highly captivating, more so than anything Disney has attempted in recent years. In places it is so beautiful to watch.

The Disney studios today have developed the way they tell fairy tales now to another stunning level as 2010 will mark a new leap in visual storytelling for the company with the release of Rapunzel Unbraided, a computer animated film which has the feel and sensitivity of a traditional animated 2d film yet with the texture of an oil painting coming to life. For years now the company has been trying to reinvent their style, pushing their visual language to another stratosphere and they may well have done it in Rapunzel, but from what I have viewed it does echo slightly the romantic style of Sleeping Beauty, it's attention to detail is just as shimmering and splendid ... we'll have to see. We can see though that this film, Sleeping Beauty, set a standard which modern animators and film makers still aim for and that is why Sleeping Beauty is such an enduring work of art, as it really aimed to make animation a cinematic art form, it was ahead of it's time and held a maturity wiser than it's time.

This edition is presented in a beautifully gold embossed covering, with a thoughtfully produced book, printed very well (with more care and attention than the previous editions; The Jungle Book ... collectors edition with book wasn't that well produced). The book has art work and an informed text which makes this version very attractive.
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on 22 October 2012
Having previously worked for Walt Disney Company UK Management and acquired most of the original Animated Classics from source - I decided to put my collection up for sale (some 2 years ago) as I planned for my retirement and give other serious Disney enthusiasts a chance to own genuine UK DISNEY DVDs still NEW and FACTORY SEALED (yes, kept that way as a potential investment collection). In doing so I have been alerted to the obvious and numerous sellers offering illegal Disney DVDs for sale, and wanted to do something about it.

How do I know and what is being done about it... Appropriate Disney offices/management in UK are aware of problem and together with the Disney's Global Anti-Piracy team have launched investigation which is on-going (post-September 2012) and I am contributing to it. It would be hard to prosecute individual sellers so in first instance Amazon have been challenged and it has been requested that they themselves must take action.

Inspite of numerous notifications from a few honest sellers on Amazon struggling against tide of endless CHEAPER Fakes, Imports or Digitised Copies, Amazon are doing little except profiteering from numerous sales, only closing offenders down when bad feedback is unacceptable - only, to relaunch as a new seller under different name.

Sadly, all too often buyers are unaware of the unlawful item they've just purchased - and don't leave the appropriate feedback or if suspicious they ask seller who quickly offers refund and DVD for free.

Now, I get to my point. The investigation and clean-up will take time - especially as BAD SELLERS are getting more devious. So WITH INFORMATION SUPPLIED TO ME from Disney, other sources and my own knowledge (some descriptions offered by some sellers are so obvious that they are fakes) - I thought I would LIST a FEW POINTERS that would ensure you buy the GENUINE item (obviously if you happy to buy CHEAP and have poor quality reproduction which is likely to skip, be out of focus, dubbed language, etc. then my offer of help is no use). See next part of my Review - What to look out for.

BEWARE FAKES & COPIES & CHEAP IMPORTS - What to look out for.
Most of the Disney DVDs sold on Amazon as Brand New are FAKES, DOWNLOADED `DIGITISED' COPIES or FOREIGN IMPORTS and there are OBVIOUS SIGNS what to LOOK FOR to ensure you purchase a GENUINE UK DVD as originally distributed by Disney.

- Any DVD with a Release Date prior to 2011, HOLOGRAMS are a MUST. e.g. in these cases, no Hologram then NOT GENUINE.

FIRST and EARLY EDITIONS have a Round Silver Hologram with Mickey Mouse dressed in Fantasia suit on bottom right corner of back of casing. (see photos loaded in customer images for example). Later UK EDITIONS must have Gold/Silver HOLOGRAM on Spine, and occasionally on rear of casing. HOLOGRAM is in form of FILM CLIP CELL (Gold Colour) with Mickey Mouse Head and Ears in middle (Silver bit).

- DO NOT be FOOLED by POOR COPIES of holograms which use impressed tin foil or cut-out from Silver Foil Mickey Mouse holographic wrapping paper.

- UK Release WILL ALWAYS have BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) Mark dependent of Rating, U in Green Triangle, Red Circle with 12 or 15, Yellow Triangle with PG Rating. Lack of this or with Red/Yellow star means it is import. No Rating Mark - a FAKE or COPY.

- Disney ALWAYS sell their BRAND NEW DVDs FACTORY SEALED. Genuine BRAND NEW Disney DVDs have NEAT FOLDED EDGES on top and bottom and NEVER are vacuum sealed (with exception of Large Boxsets) or clingfilmed. If one you have purchased is clingfilmed or vacuum sealed or unsealed then it is likely to be a COPY, FAKE or even a reconditioned USED one.

- A lot of FAKES, COPIES are NOT in Disney Blue casings - although to be fair EARLY FIRST EDITIONS (I tried to give a date but not been able to determine accurately) were in black casings. And also, since 2010, Disney have launched Special colour-coded releases (with holograms) for their different channels, e.g. Disney Clubhouse/Junior in White, Disney Toon Releases in Yellow, and Special New Releases with different colours to suit packaging.

- Even if you buy Disney DVD in blue casing (some fakes do now are in close blue colour matched casing) it must have Disney Branded Logo on inside to be genuine, that is what fakes can not reproduce.

- Beware the quality of Packaging and colour production of printing of insert sleeves, Disney always use high quality distinctive colourful images - they are never blurring, weak outlines of print often associated with poor imitations. The cheap, highly flexible plastics used by FAKE COPIERS are a dead giveaway, Disney use high-end rigid cases, especially older versions.

- A lot of FAKES also employ use of stickers on outside of sealed casings or directly on to unsealed case, specifically to mask areas where print reproduction of underlying sleeve is flawed or to hide missing barcode or hologram. Ones Disney already aware of are SECURITY PROTECTED label on bottom left of casing (to mask no BBFC Mark) or A White sticker with Typed Barcode and Description covering the lack of Genuine barcode and Hologram underneath on sleeve as these are Imported Fakes.

- Any Disney Enthusiast knows that each release is available for a limited period and then put into 'Disney Vault' in other words taken out of production and only occasionally, re-released at specific anniversaries such as Jungle Book 40th Anniversary Edition - this was back in 2007. So obviously any seller reporting to have OVERSTOCK or have MULTIPLE ITEMS for Rare Out of Print Disney DVDs is a pretty sure way of determining that these are FAKES or COPIES and NOT GENUINE.

- PRICE is a FACTOR, CHEAPER THE PRICE less HOPEFUL I WOULD BE THAT YOU ARE BUYING GENUINE DISNEY DVD especially if buying BRAND NEW.

- Another Trick used by Megasellers not always just fraudsters is to identify the listing categories of more Expense RARE FIRST EDITIONS or OLDER SPECIAL EDITIONS and send a more recent release of same Disney DVD Title in its place which is more READILY AVAILABLE AT A LOWER PRICE under its correct listing. Therefore profiteering from deception.

THIS IS NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF TRICKS OF THE FRAUDSTERS BUT I HOPE IT GIVES YOU RIGHT KNOWLEDGE TO BE CONFIDENT IN WHAT YOU ARE BUYING. Other ways of avoiding Fakes are to read descriptions of item by Seller (what are they saying e.g. SEALED does NOT mean FACTORY SEALED : BRAND NEW does not mean FACTORY SEALED) If no description - What are they hiding? A Good Seller with nothing to hide will always be happy to provide photos of item, check out customer images in Product Details Section for Customer Photos - Sellers can provide them for you to check.

If you have misfortune to purchase a SUSPECTED FAKE/COPY then DEMAND FULL REFUND from seller, LEAVE BAD FEEDBACK so Amazon can keep tally and take action where necessary and email Disney on both these addresses : help@disney.co.uk and tips@disneyantipiracy.com to add to their investigation, remembering to forward photos to support your claims.
THANK YOU.

Having said all this - this Disney Animated Classic is 5 Star.
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VINE VOICEon 19 September 2003
It took Disney's animators six years to create "Sleeping Beauty" and the effort really shows in this magnificent rendering of the German fairy tale "Dornroeschen" or "The Little Briar Rose." The fairy tale is variously transcribed from European folktales by Perrault and The Bros. Grimm. (My favorite part in the Grimm rendering is how the arrival of the long-desired child is announced to the Queen-- she gets the news from a talking crab that jumps out of her bathwater. Now, what kind of crab would that be?)
Disney recreates the old tale with new characters--giving the good and evil fairies much more of a role--in fact, they steal the show. The good fairies are Flora, Fauna and Merrywether, three chubby, bell-shaped sprites, who were inspired by housewives the artists observed in grocery stores. And Maleficent, the stylish, Goth baddy who is tall, slim and has a bit of a smoker's rasp in her deliciously evil voice (played by Eleanor Audley.)
The fairies, good or evil, have so much to do, in fact, that Princess Aurora only gets to sing a bit (by an exceptional operatic soprano Mary Costa) and Prince Philip is equally reticent. The Prince gets a shocker early on in the tale--he has somehow been betrothed to Aurora since early childhood, but this interesting fact wasn't communicated to him until just before the wedding is to go off.) He is understandably miffed, gee, a guy should have SOME say in the matter, even if he doesn't get to pop the question, and after a set-to with Mom and Dad, he never says another word.
The real star here is the production, with the stylish Scandinavian Sixties art by Ervind Earle. Earle looked to folk art, Medieval art and tapestries for inspiration and mixed it with a fine modern sensibility to make a stunning set. The animation owes a lot to Fantasia, which is especially noticible in the automated mops (Night on Bald Mountain) and Maleficent's domain. The artists wanted to avoid a repeat of "Snow White" and they certainly achieved a completely different look and feel. And taking the best of "Fantasia" was a good idea--as "Fantasia" itself was way ahead of its time and underappreciated until much later than its release in the Forties.
As to quality of the DVD, there was a glitch just as Philip is delivering the wakeup kiss to Aurora, the film jumps as if a few frames were cut. A glitch on this particular DVD? Strange that this happens at a critical moment. The extras are well worth looking at, especially the interview with Earle and getting a look at the exquisite detail of the background artwork, giving any parent or grandparent a reason to enjoy the film for their own reasons while it runs for the umpteenth time on the DVD player.
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on 10 April 2003
"Sleeping Beauty", is a defining film in Walt Disney's career, breathtaking in it's visual scope and musical score. Released in 1959, the same year as "Ben Hur", "Sleeping Beauty" shares the same panoramic screen format as the former (sadly only available on the collectors DVD addition. The normal edition uses a 4:3 pan and scan screen ratio). "Sleeping Beauty" doesn’t disappoint the eye when it comes to art direction. Braking away from the traditional Disney look, it is truly one of the most artful films of Disney’s impressive film history. The music too is a brake from tradition, no "high ho, hi ho" lyrics to hum along to, "Seeping Beauty" borrows Tchaikovsky's score to beautiful effect. It is in every respect a film that is different to the norm, owing as much to Fantasia as its fairy tale counterparts, Snow White and Cinderella. And here is the catch, because "Sleeping Beauty" holds very little fascination to an audience made up of young children. True, the central story is very simple, but the films extended narrative does little to help you empathize for any one of the characters and it is this fault that makes "Sleeping Beauty" come of cold, despite it's brilliance. Valuable screen time is wasted developing the three fairies intro a comedy trio and the result is a story that is centered upon it's secondary characters instead of it's hero, Price Phillip and heroine, Aurora. It's a shame because the film boasts wonderful scenes, startling imagery and maybe the most scary of all the Disney’s villains.
All in all, a groundbreaking film that hold up every bit as much as it did forty-four years ago, it's flaws only more apparent by it's brilliance. Oh, and the animation isn't bad either.
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