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Sleeping Beauty

The Baltimore Sun

[Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment]

Featuring the voices of Mary Costa, Bill Shirley, Eleanor Audley. Directed by Clyde Geronimi $29.99 (Blu-ray $35.99) *** 1/2


The success of Disney's Enchanted helped revive the fortunes of its earlier Sleeping Beauty. Released in 1959, Sleeping Beauty was the last of the studio's classic fairy tale adaptations and, to many, the last film of the studio's vaunted Golden Age (though some argue that benchmark belongs to 1967's The Jungle Book, the last animated film Walt Disney actually worked on before his death in 1966).

Whatever its status in the Disney pantheon, Sleeping Beauty remains a film of great ... well, beauty.

Heeding their boss' instruction to come up with a film that was a "living illustration," the Disney animators (led by the legendary "Nine Old Men," including Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston) came up with perhaps their most distinctive work.

This golden anniversary DVD, which displays the film in widescreen Technirama for the first time on home video, certainly does the movie right - the colors are lush, the sound crisp and clear. And the extras provide a little something for everyone.

There's an alternate opening presented through original storyboards. There's a making-of documentary that includes interviews with much of the original talent - including Mary Costa, a 19-year-old high school student when she was chosen to voice Princess Aurora. There's an "Enchanted Dance" game that offers younger viewers dance lessons from some of Aurora's critter friends. There's even a new rendition of "Once Upon a Dream," performed by Emily Osment of Hannah Montana (perhaps Miley Cyrus was otherwise booked?).

In addition, the Blu-ray version offers a host of interactive features through the Disney BD-Live network, including opportunities to send text messages to friends that can be displayed onscreen while the movie is playing, make personalized video messages that include clips from the film, and try your hand at movie trivia.

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