Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Waking Sleeping Beauty (2009)

"Waking Sleeping Beauty" is the story of how a struggling Walt Disney Animation Department got on top of the world again and became the dominating animation studio.

The entire documentary is done with archival footage along with newly recorded narration.  The film begins in 1980 where we meet the animators of "The Fox and the Hound".  Here we meet a few people that would become giants in the film industry including the disembodied voice of John Lasseter (He was the cameraman), and a young animator with a look of displeasure named Tim Burton.  It was very fun to see these people at such a young age.

Most of the film deals with the tension between Roy Disney, Michael Eisner, and Jeffrey Katzenberg.  While they ultimately had the same goal in mind, they each had their own way on getting there.  Katzenberg is made out to be the villain of the documentary.  He was an executive for Disney and let's just say he was very executive like.  All he cared about was money and he seemed to have a big ego.  When films like "The Lion King" came out, he made the talk show rounds appearing with live lions.  He wanted to be the face of the Disney Company.  Michael Eisner and Roy Disney are portrayed in a brighter light.  Michael Eisner really became the face of the Disney Company and I think he was a good choice.  He was tough and stern, but he had a quality about him that was genuine.  I believe he always had the best intentions for everyone.

When the film got to the making of "The Little Mermaid", we are introduced to the musical team of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.  Howard Ashman was very charismatic.  He was extremely passionate about his work and he knew what he wanted in life.  He was very well respected and loved in the Disney Company.  He died in 1991 due to AIDS and this portion of the film was very emotional.  It will most likely bring tears to a viewer's eyes.

"Waking Sleeping Beauty" is a great documentary that people should see, even if you are not a fan of animation or Disney.  It is a good story with a beginning, middle, and end.  We begin with the making of some unsuccessful Disney films like "The Black Cauldron" and "The Great Mouse Detective", but by the end, the Disney Company is on top once again with films like "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Lion King".

A-  I recommend it.

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