[critical] Waking Sleeping Beauty

In the mid 80’s, the fabled animation studios of Walt Disney are going through a difficult time. The future is among the new artists eager for innovation and the elders who refuse to cede control. It is in this context that the studio saves some chess history who have been able to think of as the golden age of animation had happened. This film explores how Disney regained its magic over a period of ten years with a series of successes as The Little Mermaid, beauty and The Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King.

Author’s Note


Release Date : October 6, 2010

Directed by Don Hahn

Film american

With Tim Burton, John Lasseter, Don Bluth, Rob Minkoff, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ron Clements, Michael Eisner

Duration : 1h26min

Original title : Waking Sleeping Beauty

Trailer :

This documentary shows behind-the-scenes of the machine Disney by its branch animation and trafficking, in the manner of a snapshot of this time, the return to the success of the cartoons of the firm-between 1984 and 1994, Taram and the Magic Cauldron to The Lion King (recently re-released on 3D in the theaters). Nowadays, we cannot imagine a studio in trouble, but the gadin taken by Taram at its output (less than 6 million entries) had greatly weakened the historic business of the Walt Disney Company, widely more cost-effective on its merchandising and its amusement parks.

Waking Sleeping Beauty tells the story without animosity or sympathy excessive the implementation of the internal changes that have brought Disney animation to the front of the stage with a trio of leaders on the agreement and fragile the egos necessarily huge, Michael Eisner, Roy Disney (nephew of Walt), and Jeffrey Katzenberg. The film follows as much as possible a chronological order even if sometimes the projects carried out in parallel lose a little to the viewer. Composed of voice-over narration and archival images, Waking Sleeping Beauty goes to the essential and treats more specifically of the company as the animation itself : it is the human face of relationships between decision-makers, animators and creative people who are at the heart of this documentary.

A documentary objective enough on revenue of the rise of Disney in the 80-90s but can be a little too focused on the strategic and operational orientations as the true creative work.

Indeed, one learns of various anecdotes related to the choice of editing of some films (such as “go There” in The Little Mermaid) as well as the analogy desired of the Disney movies with the structure of musicals to success, but Waking Sleeping Beauty speaks more often of human relationships and trade-offs or initiatives put in place by the trio Eisner / Katzenberg / Disney-real cinematography. However, this angle of view allows you to attend the Disney’s adaptation to the machine of Hollywood with his code (back of an animated movie by cutting scenes, for example) and financial pressures (to move the branch animation of his building for a less expensive in an industrial area).

Waking Sleeping Beauty is, therefore, a documentary is quite objective on revenue of the rise of Disney in the 80-90s but can be a little too focused on the strategic and operational orientations as the true creative work. This does not prevent it from being well provided with information that are not common, cross-heads known (such as Tim Burton, then moderator or Robin Williams, 1st doubler with his name on the poster of Aladdin) and video vintage very relevant.

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