Waking Sleeping Beauty
Having grown up at a time when Walt Disney was known more for their animation films than anything else, I never would have guessed that the studio almost shut down the division due to financial reasons. I can honestly admit that I have never seen The Black Cauldron, nor have I even heard of The Mouse Detective.
I know films like The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Oliver and Company. Those were my childhood; my biggest and most exciting encounters with movies when I was a child. They contained the songs that I loved to listen to, the characters I longed to be, and the fairy-tale endings that seemed almost too good to be true.
But all of these movies almost never saw the light of day. In fact, almost all of the animated movies that I cherish now would not be here if certain things hadn’t taken place within the Walt Disney Company. Waking Sleeping Beauty addresses these monumental changes and how they impacted the wonderful world of movies.
Featuring a combination of interviews with CEO executives, animators and archived home video, the documentary features a bunch of facts in an educational, yet entertaining way. I was never bored as the full history of Walt Disney was revealed, and the political scheme of egos and politics unearthed. It is always interesting to see how a billion dollar company operates. The jealousy, the publicity, and the internal operating structure prove that no family is truly happy—not even one within Cinderella’s castle.
Waking Sleeping Beauty is a documentary worthy of its affiliation. It is a winner on all accounts, and is just as informative as it is entertaining. It hits hard on the key points, yet contains enough emotion for us all to connect to the animators as they struggle to save the genre. I got goose bumps when they began showing footage of Beauty and the Beast’s remarkable award season run. Disney makes classic animated films. Now, they are the subject of a phenomenal documentary.