Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Waking Sleeping Beauty

Could this DVD have been released at a better time?  

Everyone knows that Disney's animated films released in the early 80's tanked at the box office.  The company experiencing a changing of the guard.  The nine old men were retiring, new animators were being hired on, and the people at the top didn't care about animation.

Waking Sleeping Beauty is the story of how Disney went from making films like The Fox and the Hound and The Black Cauldron to the classics like Little Mermaid and Aladdin.  The film is directed and narrated by Don Hahn who was a producer at the time and saw it all go down.

The story takes place from 1984 to 1994 and shows you how Disney went on to make these great films.  the compnay was doing great financially but on the inside though there was a power struggle between Michael Eisner, Jeffery Katzenberg , and Roy Disney.  if you've read Disney War you are familiar with this story.  If you have not read it I highly suggest it.

Disney War is obviously not authorized by Disney and Waking Sleeping Beauty was released by Disney which leads me to believe that Don Hahn could not give us the entire story in the film.  The movies opens with an excited young animator giving a tour of the Animation building.  He and the camera man go into animators offices and introduce them to the camera.  We see a young Tim Burton at his desk drawing and looking very un-enthused. Then the camera man introduces himself "And I'm John Lasseter."  We do not hear about Lasseter or Tim Burton again until Toy Story and Nightmare Before Christmas are being made towards the end of the film.  In my opinion these are two huge stories the film just ignores.  John Lasseter was fired by Disney in the 80's and now he practically runs the place.  Why not dive into that story a little?  I can see Tim Burton not caring to discuss his time at Disney but John Lasseter, how hard is it to find him?

Earlier I said this movie was released at the perfect time, well here's why.  This film stops in 1994, right before Disney was eclipsed by Pixar.  After Lion King was released Disney fell off the wagon again.  Sure some people like Mulan and Hercules but the studio has not had another huge (memorable) hit since 1994...until now. 

Tangled made almost 60 million dollars over the weekend.  Are we at the beginning of another Disney comeback?  Looking at the trailer for the new Winnie the Pooh film i'd say yes, but only time will tell. 

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