Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Pocahontas of its day when originally released in 1959, Sleeping Beauty was Disney's most lavish (and expensive) film, as well as something of a financial and critical disappointment. But time has been kind to it, as this much-hyped video re-release shows. The elaborate, gothic-inspired designs look great, and the supporting characters—most notably the three good fairies and the Joan Crawford-like villain Maleficent—liven up the proceedings despite the bland hero and heroine. The repackaging itself should serve as an example for future Disney reissues: The documentary featurette is slightly less self-congratulatory than most of Disney's, but by making a widescreen version available, the company has every reason to be proud. Sleeping Beauty is one of only a handful of animated Disney features to be produced in widescreen format, in this case a process using the same dimensions as those used to film The Wild Bunch. Consequently, if it had been formatted to fit your television screen, much of the carefully crafted, intricately detailed design would have disappeared. If Disney is going to go to the trouble of making each carefully timed re-release seem like a historic event, it should make a point of adhering to historical accuracy, as it has on this release.

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