Waking Sleeping Beauty (2009)
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For years the film department did things their way only a new wave of young artist would arrive in the early 80's(note footage of legendary Tim Burton(1989's "Batman") starting out in the art department!)Disney began to want movies with more live action and more wilder stories and this became more of a reality with the arrival of CEO Michael Eisner and film department head Jeffrey Katzenberg as ideals and new techniques started to unroll. The best of this is evident in films like the live action "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and other hits like "Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast", and "The Lion King" were mixed with great Broadway musical scores and computer generated graphics which would be the new Disney discovery like "Pixar".
Sure the company still had it's ups and downs but these works and methods and people would change Disney film forever. Overall good educational documentary that any history or film fan would enjoy so please watch you will be educated.
The only negative about the film is that it had you wanting more. That's because although it was only recently released, it stopped in the early-mid 1990s--and a lot has happened since then (mostly with Pixar taking over most of the animation duties). Seeing the film through "The Princess and the Frog" (possibly Disney's last traditionally animated feature) would be a great follow-up to this splendid documentary.
My only gripes with this doc is that there's SO much stuff to cover it can't possibly be done with the confines of a feature length. So to me it felt very rushed as they were pushing through subjects and materials really fast. You may think you'll get a lot of John Lasseter in this and Tim Burton but you don't. they only mention Nightmare Before Christmas and move on. A bit dissatisfying for me since I'm fascinated in the outside people who were working for Disney at the time.
All in all a great Doc on a fascinating subject. But it felt rushed and leaves out quite a bit of stuff I felt should have been mentioned. Maybe one day Ken Burns will make a doc on the subject and I'll finally get my 10 DVD box set! Until then, it's great for the basics. Still a MUST SEE for Disney fans!!! Go see it!
From the workers it seems that they were tossed back and fourth. they love their job, but it was and properly still is a very stressful place to work.
I didn't know all the facts of when it started, who they had been working with etc. and its really interesting to see that both Pixar and Dreamworks have been "insiders" at Disney from the beginning and themselves brown to so much. Disney have had some difficult years, but is now a very successful business again, it seems to be running smoothly.
I can only say, I love all the animations movie, and the ones from Disney have something special, Pixar and Dreamworks have their separate own style today and I love them as well, but there still is something special about a Disney release.
I must say, that their feature films of today are also very magical in a Disney kind of way, and that is also great to watch.
So to all your that was in this film and to the workers of today and tomorrow, Disney will always have a special place in many of our hearts, and it's because of all you hard working people, those who kept it together and stuck it out in the rough times and those who are still fighting this day today, to make Disney as vivid, groundbreaking and refreshing as it has always been.
But nonetheless, it still feels like an incomplete movie.
Waking Sleeping Beauty is a heart-wrenching and interesting movie that pulls back way too many punches to be considered outstanding or groundbreaking. It covers the rock bottom period of the Disney Animation Studio (Losing to Care Bears movie?!?!) and chronicles its rise to the top with The Lion King—while monitoring all the setbacks, tragedies, controversies, and obstacles that were in the way. But here is where it gets interesting: this film was made in 2009, and the Disney Renaissance period it decided to cover was only 1988-1994, totally neglecting the 1995-2000 period that always gets forgotten or flies under the radar.
You will see most of your books and movies about the Renaissance period cover Little Mermaid to Lion King, but then neglect Pocahontas, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, and Mulan; four movies that had just as much impact in the Disney company and the animation studio than the other movies mentioned. Even Toy Story, the Disney film that would revolutionize the entire movie industry was just a mere blurb in this documentary. And there is still no love for Tarzan, a 1999 $450 million and Academy Award-winning success.
Waking Sleeping Beauty does beautifully and in detailed fashion discuss the everlasting battle between business and art, as the business aspects of Disney were crumbling and it ushered a new era of businessmen and bosses that would clash with the ragtag animation group that was heavily leaning on the Disney Way. As the movie progresses, it chronicles Disney's rise to the stratosphere and all the bubbling tension underneath. The amount of archival footage is a near miracle especially considering Disney's tight lip policy. Some can wonder just how much of a hand the company had in making this, which could also explain the lack of mentioning as to just what happened to Jeffery Kratzenberg—whom would become Don Bluth part 2 and challenge the Disney studio with one of his very own in the mid-1990s.
It might be me coming off as picky to knock on a documentary that wanted to focus on a specific time period. But it is rather unfair to the audience that would be interested in this type of movie in the first place---film and Disney buffs. It is only 85 minutes, you could have added 30 minutes of post-Lion King details which would include the death of Don Bluth animation, the rise of Pixar and Dreamworks, and the slow downward spiral of Eisner's interest in the animation industry (He nearly killed it altogether, this should be worth noting).
Those that would watch this in the first place are more informed than the average moviegoer, so therefore, should have been more detailed and should have included more. In an era where Ken Burns meticulously exercises every detail in his works, Waking Sleeping Beauty executes its material well---but just wasn't enough material.