Dallas IFF '10 – Waking Sleeping Beauty Review

Reviews, Theatrical Reviews, Top Story

A candid behind the scenes look into the Disney Company from 1984-1994, during their less successful years.

It might be difficult to remember now, but there was a time where Disney wasn’t doing all that good. In the early ’80s, Disney was struggling internally and it was visible externally only by the quality of films being produced. There are only a certain few dedicated Disney fans who consider The Black Cauldron, The Aristocats, or Oliver and Company to be some of the studio’s best. Disney has always been a little guarded about their internal workings; it’s all a part of the magic. In Waking Sleeping Beauty, we get a candid behind the scenes look into the Disney Company from 1984-1994, during their less successful years.

For Disney fans obsessed with DVD and Blu-Ray extras, much of the footage here is already familiar. But there is plenty of new behind the scenes footage, including some of former Disney employees Tim Burton and Don Bluth, and new never before scenes interviews with Michael Eisner, Roy Disney, and more as we delve into the inner workings of Disney during their darker era.

The film is narrated by Don Hahn (who also directs) in a humorous style more reminiscent of The Sandlot than a documentary. We follow the Disney animators as they are kicked out of their animation building, into a warehouse off the Disney lot, and then eventually into a state of the art facility. We feel their pain, as we hear that more drawings for The Great Mouse Detective ended up in the trash than onscreen. And then when production begins on The Little Mermaid, and Howard Ashman came on board with his enthusiastic songs, we sing right along with their success.

We see the rise of Michael Eisner, who helped turn the company around, and the demise of Jeffrey Katzenberg (current CEO of DreamWorks), who hated The Lion King in concept but rode the coattails of the film’s success. But most of all, we get to see Disney rise out of a depression brought on after Walt Disney’s death and finally become the Disney that we all know and love.

Director: Don Hahn
Notable Cast:Don Hahn, Don Bluth, Tim Burton, Michael Eisner
Writer(s): Patrick Pacheco

Jenny is proud to be the First Lady of Inside Pulse Movies. She gives female and mommy perspective, and has two kids who help with rating family movies. (If they don't like 'em, what's the point?) She prefers horror movies to chick flicks, and she can easily hang with the guys as long as there are several frou-frou girlie drinks to be had.