Waking Sleeping Beauty 2009 ★★★★

WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY is a documentary marking a distinct moment in time for the Walt Disney Company's Animation department, what is often called The Disney Renaissance, that started with the appointment of Michael Eisner in 1984 and culminated in the worldwide phenominon of The Lion King in 1994.

The story of how the executives and animators turned the almost defunct animation division of the Walt Disney Studios back to prominance seems like a plot out of their many fairy tale based animated movies. Yet producer/director Don Hahn seems to tell the story straight, showing some darker shades and revealing truths that frankly I was surprised were allowed for a documentary on the Disney company by the Disney company.

What keeps it interesting is the presentation of the movie. They don't just have boring shots of people sitting in chairs recollecting that time. They take those new interviews and use them as voiceovers, combining them with actual news coverage, press junket footage, and, most impressively, home movies taken by the animators. Whether they are marking an actual storyboard meeting, or the animators goofing around, having that footage peppered throughout the movie lends an authenticity to the words being spoken. So while you may think you know all about the subject matter going in, they present in a way that you haven't seen before. And on top of all that, they show snippets of finished scenes of the films they are speaking about as well for good measure. A good watch. Recommend.

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