To commemorate its 50th anniversary, Disney is reissuing the classic and restored Sleeping Beauty in 2-Disc Platinum Edition DVD and 2-Disc Blu-ray™ Hi-Def. Packed with extra features, the release is a great addition to the film library of Disney fans of all ages. Many of us are familiar with the classic fairy tale, but if you’re like me, you may never have seen the Disney version, which adds much more to the story.
Here’s how I explain the story to Anya every night at bedtime: the King and Queen welcome their first child, a daughter that they name Aurora, but fail to invite the evil fairy Maleficent to her party. As the good fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, bestow the baby with talents and good qualities, but the mean fairy curses Aurora- when she turns 16, she’ll prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die (though I tell Anya that she’ll "sleep forever"). The good fairies power can’t reverse the spell but they change it so Aurora will sleep until she awoken by her true love. To protect her from Maleficent and pricking her finger, the fairies decide to raise Aurora in the woods themselves until she’s 16. Of course, the day she turns 16, Maleficent discovers where she’s been hiding AND Aurora meets the man of her dreams. When she tells her godmothers, they tell her that she can’t be with the "cute boy" (as Anya says) in the woods, that she’s betrothed to Prince Phillip and bring her to the castle. Unbeknown to all of them, the cute boy in the woods IS Prince Phillip but before they can be reunited, Maleficent entrances Aurora who pricks her finger and falls into a deep sleep. Because they don’t want to break her parents’ hearts, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather cast a spell on the whole kingdom, putting them all in a deep sleep until they can find Aurora’s true love and have his kiss awaken her.
Usually by this time, Anya has fallen into a deep sleep and so have I when watching the film with her, so my memory past this is fuzzy. However, as we all know, the prince does end up kissing her and she wakes up, as does the whole kingdom, and they all live happily ever after.
The scenes between falling asleep and the kiss are a little scary, as are all of the scenes with Maleficent, so be ready to skip ahead when watching with young kids. Also, though the film is just 75 minutes long, it feels much longer and, to me, is one of the more slow moving Disney titles. Still, it IS a classic, with beautiful visuals, lovely singing (opera star Mary Costa played Aurora), and a Peter Tchaikovsky score. And for us, it has additional charm because Anya refers to Aurora as "Sleeping Cutie."
Watch the trailer.
DVD Bonus Material (Standard Definition DVD)
- Original Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Walk-Through Attraction With Walt Disney Imagineering – A fascinating fully-immersive 3-D experience recreating the original Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-Through that Walt supervised over 50 years ago. Viewers can choose to tour the attraction in “Auto Mode,” where you get to experience it the way it was originally intended, or choose to view the experience with “Commentary” by Disney’s famed “Imagineers” and take a look behind the magic of these detailed dioramas.
- Alternate Opening – Recently discovered storyboards from 1952 reveal that the original opening of Sleeping Beauty was planned as a big musical production number. Using all of the existing color storyboard art, this alternate opening is recreated with a new demo recording of the song – “Holiday.”
- All New Documentary “Picture Perfect: The Making of Sleeping Beauty” – an exciting and inspiring behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the final fairy tale to be produced by Walt Disney himself.
- A New DVD Game, “Briar Rose’s Enchanted Dance Game” – Relive this magical moment and help Briar Rose’s animal friends to dance, and take lessons to learn to waltz.
- Four Deleted Songs – Four new musical numbers that were not used in the final film are presented using original storyboard art and demo recordings.
- Grand Canyon (Featured in HD on Blu-ray™) – This Academy Award® winning short accompanied Sleeping Beauty in its release in theatres.
- The Peter Tchaikovsky Story (Featured in HD on Blu-ray) – An episode of Walt Disney’s legendary TV series in which Walt previews the Studio’s upcoming release of Sleeping Beauty which uses the Tchaikovsky score as the source of its music. Also included is a dramatic re-enactment of how Tchaikovsky came to write his score for the ballet.
- Four Artists Paint One Tree (Featured in HD on Blu-ray) – This featurette looks at one tree interpreted by four distinguished Disney artists, including Eyvind Earle, the well respected American painter who served as stylist for Sleeping Beauty.
- Fun with English Game – Help the 3 fairies prepare for Briar Rose’s 16th Birthday and learn English by playing a series of innovative DVD games.
Blu-ray Exclusive Bonus Features
- Everything on the DVD, plus…
- Maleficent’s Challenge – Go head to head with one of Disney’s most infamous villains. Think of anything in the world and Maleficent will read your mind. Keep your wits about you, for that is the only way to defeat her.
- Dragon Encounter – The ultimate audio experience utilizing Blu-ray high-definition 7.1 or 5.1 audio quality. Explore Maleficent’s dungeon in a fully-immersive audio sensory adventure like you’ve never experienced before. Deep in the bowels of Maleficent’s dungeon a dragon encounter awaits.
- Cine-Explore – An all new Cine-Explore experience with full motion Picture-in-Picture featuring commentary by John Lasseter, Andreas Deja & Leonard Maltin.
- Restoring The Sound Track – This featurette will cover the creation of the all new 7.1 mix of the score of Sleeping Beauty that was done exclusively for this Blu-ray release using the source tapes from the original recording sessions resulting in an audio experience of superior quality with greater detail and fidelity than you have ever heard before.
- Customized Living Menu – This menu is exclusive to Sleeping Beauty Blu-ray Disc owners only. It is a “real time” virtual castle that magically changes based on the viewer’s location, time of day and current weather forecast (requires Live enabled players). If preferred, viewers will also have the ability to manually change the castle’s weather to match any of the Magic Kingdom Castles around the world.
- Disney BD-Live Network – The Disney BD-Live Network is just one of the many ways movie lovers, families, and loved ones can continue to stay connected and engage in their favorite movies.
- Movie Chat – Communicate with your remote friends on-screen while in a synchronized viewing party using your remote control or any text enabled device such as a laptop, desk top or any PDA device such as a Blackberry, iPhone or most other regular cell phones. Your chat session will appear over the movie and occur in real-time while watching the movie together.
- Movie Mail – Blu-ray owners will be able to record a personalized video message of themselves, superimpose that capture onto one of many pre-selected clips of the movie, and send it off to a friend, colleague, or relative. This specific feature enables the Sleeping Beauty Blu-ray Disc owner to personalize a very special greeting as never before.
- Movie Challenge – Users will be able to test their skills against other players in a synchronized, real-time, online trivia game while watching Sleeping Beauty with anyone online. Movie Challenge is always active no matter what time of the day it is, and there will always be a game in progress.
- Disney Movie Rewards Live – Sleeping Beauty Blu-ray owners will be able to accumulate Disney Movie Reward Points by participating in many Disney BD-Live Network activities. In return, viewers can redeem points for exclusive content such as Avatars, downloadable extras and many more exciting possibilities.
- A DVD of Sleeping Beauty –Blu-ray owners will also receive a special bonus DVD of the movie!