Saturday, December 18, 2010

New to DVD: Waking Sleeping Beauty

Waking Sleeping Beauty

While I'm here doing some catch-up on fairy tale related films, I failed to post earlier about Waking Sleeping Beauty being released to DVD. This one is for Disney fans, not its detractors, although it should be interesting to all as a documentary.  Due to illness, I didn't see it during its week-long run in Nashville, but I am interested in seeing it after viewing the trailer as well as remembering the time it covers and working in Burbank near the studios six years after this period drew to a close and began bowing down to Pixar's influence. (Not a bad thing when one sees Toy Story, but sad, too, nevertheless for hand illustrators of which we numbered a few as friends during our time in California.)

Product description from Amazon:

In the decade between 1984 and 1994, the animators at the Walt Disney Studio created an unprecedented string of critical and box-office hits that included The Little Mermaid, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. The documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty offers a rare inside look at the studio's renaissance--and at the internal tensions that led to its subsequent decline. In 1984 a stockholders' revolt brought in a new management team that included Michael Eisner, Frank Wells, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Roy E. Disney (Walt's nephew). In the years after Walt's death, the studio seemed to be sleepwalking, producing well-animated but dull films like The Aristocats and Robin Hood. Instead of asking "What would Walt have done," the new team and their young artists set out to reclaim the Disney legacy of making films that represented the cutting edge of animation, technology, and filmmaking. But the films' success led to quarrels among the executives over who deserved the credit. The death of chief operating officer Frank Wells in 1994 exacerbated these problems. Director Don Hahn (the producer of Roger Rabbit, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King) and Peter Schneider (who headed feature animation) combine clips from the films, behind-the-scenes footage, home movies, and interviews with Eisner, Katzenberg, and Disney to present a fascinating portrait of the rise and fall of an entertainment empire. In addition to its obvious appeal to animation fans, Waking Sleeping Beauty offers object lessons in sensible management and the dangers of corporate gigantism.
In small part, the documentary talks about how fairy tales helped to save the studio. I remember being mesmerized by The Little Mermaid despite my feelings for the interpretation--way before I became SurLaLune and was still a teenager.  Disney became cool again.

Here's the trailer:

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