“Sleeping Beauty” a Family Classic now on Blu-ray (Video Review)

SLEEPING Boxart diamond


Most every child knows the story of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty from early video, books and DVD. Unless you went to see the movie at a theater back in the 1959 however, you probably saw a version that was not crisp and colorful. Finally after what seems forever, the family animated fantasy has been Blu-ray remastered and digitally restored in super widescreen. The Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD have new bonus features and includes the DVD release’s special extras as well.

King Stefan and Queen Leah hold a celebration for their first child the Princess Aurora with guests from around the kingdom. They even invited the good fairies Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather who are excited to see the beautiful child. What they failed to do however was invite Maleficent, a not so nice fairy that has brought nothing by woe to the kingdom.

Malificent puts a curse on baby Princess Aurora

Malificent puts a curse on baby Princess Aurora

Maleficent arrives at the christening and after words of being purposefully omitted, puts a curse on Aurora. She tells all the people in the great castle hall that on her sixteenth birthday she will get pricked by the needle of a spinning wheel and die. She leaves and the three good fairies unable to take the curse off Aurora alter it to allow her to fall into a deep sleep only to be awakened by true love’s kiss.

The story goes on with the good fairies taking Aurora and renamed Briar Rose to a house in the woods to grow up away from Maleficent’s trickery. So begins a story of the beautiful princess and the curse that changes her life until one fateful day a noble prince arrives at the castle.

Prince Phillip and Aurora meet for the first time

Prince Phillip and Aurora meet for the first time

The colorful, charming and sometimes wicked story comes off the Blu-ray in grand style. This super widescreen version mirrors the original release in 1959 without any loss from side to side. What was missing due to the shortened former video edition now has been restored showing all the splendor of the castle, the woods and the final battle between Prince Phillip and the dragon.

Prince Phillip fights off Malificent disguised as a dragon

Prince Phillip fights off Malificent disguised as a dragon

Bonus features are also new on the Blu-ray and include:
“Once Upon a Parade” with Sarah Hyland taking children to see the Festival Of Fantasy Parade in Disney’s Fantasyland.
“Art of Evil: Generations Of Disney Villains” Here baddies like Maleficent are shown as the animators talk about their days drawing the wicked adversaries of some of the top films. Animators include the Disney legend animator Marc Davis.
“@DisneyAnimation: ARTISTS IN MOTION” Watch Brittany Lee show how she designs the character’s in special paper for artists to go by when making an animated film.
“Beauty-Oke sing-along to “Once Upon A Dream.”
“Deleted Scenes” are displayed using original charcoal drawings include The Fair, The Curse is Fulfilled and Arrival Of Maleficent each of which were omitted from the original film.

The picture quality on the Blu-ray is astounding with high definition animation that makes the colors pop and the figures more defined. I like the super widescreen that Disney developed for the film to compete with Cinemascope.

The sound quality is very good, especially for the digital Academy Award nominated musical sound track. The dialogue comes across crisp and clear and the excitement of special effects sound created during the Prince Phillip versus the Maleficent dragon scene stands out.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A charming classic film for families. (A)

Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Mary Costa, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Barbara Jo Allen, Barbara Luddy, Bill Shirley
MPAA Rating: G
Genre: Animation, Family, Fantasy
Running Time: 1 hr 15 min
Video Release Date: October 7, 2014
Original Film Release Date: January 29, 1959
Language: English, also French and Spanish versions
Format: Blu-ray, DVD + Digital HD copy
Audio: Blu-ray: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, DVD- Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Aspect Ratio 2.55:1 formatted for 16×9 TV screens
Subtitles: English SDH, French, spanish
Number of Discs: 2 Disc Diamond Edition
Distributed by: Buena Vista Home Entertainment

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