Waking Sleeping Beauty (2010) - Rotten Tomatoes

Waking Sleeping Beauty (2010)



Critic Consensus: It doesn't probe as deep -- or tell as many hard truths -- as it could have, but Don Hahn's look at Disney's rebirth offers a fascinating and surprisingly candorous glimpse into the studio's past.

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Movie Info

Walt Disney Pictures has been the leading name in animated filmmaking since the 1930s, but the studio's crown was looking more than a little tarnished in the 1980s after a series of expensive commercial and critical disappointments such as The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, and The Great Mouse Detective. At that time, a handful of Disney executives were questioning the wisdom of continuing to make animated films, as the company was making more money in live-action movies, theme parks, and television. That changed when Roy Disney -- Walt's nephew and the last figure from the studio's Golden Age management team still on board -- teamed up with newly hired studio executives Michael D. Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg to restore their reputation for both quality and commercial appeal. With the success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988, the team sparked a new interest in animation on the big screen, and a string of smash hits that began with The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast launched a new era of both acclaim and box-office success for the company. But those successes didn't come without behind-the-scenes conflict, and Don Hahn, a longtime producer at Disney, offers an inside look at the creative squabbles and battles amongst the management that came during Disney's climb back to the top of Hollywood's mountain in the documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty. Along with behind-the-scenes footage and rare personal artwork created by the studio's animation staff (including some unflattering cartoons of their bosses), the film includes interviews with many key figures of this era in Disney history, and several people who enjoyed greater success after leaving the company, such as Tim Burton and John Lasseter. Waking Sleeping Beauty was an official selection at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: PG (for some thematic elements and brief mild language)
Genre: Documentary, Television
Directed By:
Written By: Patrick Pacheco
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 30, 2010
Box Office: $33.1k
Walt Disney Pictures

News & Interviews for Waking Sleeping Beauty

Critic Reviews for Waking Sleeping Beauty

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (16)

More Belle, more Ariel, more Simba -- and less of Eisner and Co. -- would have made a more interesting movie.

Full Review… | October 1, 2010
Washington Post
Top Critic

It's a not-so-great movie about some great movies.

Full Review… | August 6, 2010
Seattle Times
Top Critic

A few too many industry asides, but filled with behind-the-scenes moments.

Full Review… | April 6, 2010
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Sly retrospective exercise in corporate self-congratulation masquerading as an insider's tell-all.

March 26, 2010
New York Times
Top Critic

Even in its sanitized state, this movie about the generational revolt that reinvigorated Disney's animation department in the 1980s and '90s is fascinating

Full Review… | March 26, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

An intriguing yet uneven documentary...

Full Review… | September 29, 2011
Reel Film Reviews

Audience Reviews for Waking Sleeping Beauty


An interesting look back at the past of Disney's second age of Renaissance in the late 80s and early 90s. But my only problem with the film, its SO SLOW PACE. It may only be around an hour and a half, but it moves at the speed of a snail, and it feels like its 2 and a half hours, but still it is a very interesting look back at Disney's second rebirth.

michael e.
Michael Edwards

Super Reviewer


I really want to like this movie, but it was basically a big "aren't we all awesome" masturbatory celebration rather than any juicy dirt.

Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

Engrossing account of the men who saved Disney's animation branch and brought it to a second "Golden Age" from the late-eighties to the mid-nineties (and all the drama that arose between them). Touching film is filled with interesting trivia and little-known facts about the biggest name in family entertainment ever. Waking Sleeping Beauty incorporates testimonies old and new, vintage video footage, animated clips, and, most importantly, the opinions of everyone that matters. The many different points of view prevent it from becoming a one-sided account. Essential viewing for Disney junkies.

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