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Waking Sleeping Beauty (2010)



Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 49
Fresh: 35 | Rotten: 14

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.


Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 5

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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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 4,083

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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,


Documentary, Television

Nov 30, 2010


Walt Disney Pictures

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All Critics (49) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (14) | DVD (3)

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

October 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

August 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

April 6, 2010 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

March 26, 2010
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop 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

March 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Waking Sleeping Beauty doesn't have as much behind-the-scenes juice as you'd hope.

March 26, 2010 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An intriguing yet uneven documentary...

September 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Carries the mystique of Walt Disney, whose animated features can be regarded as a genetic line with ups and downs as compellingly dramatic as the history of royal families.

January 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

Combining honest commentary with archival footage, Waking Sleeping Beauty offers a refreshing look at a side large companies often steer clear of.

November 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Views

[Director Don Hahn's] interviews are used as voice-over to a lively mix of Disney film clips, behind-the-scenes footage and rare home movies taken by Disney staffers.

October 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

Featuring interviews with such luminaries as Tim Burton, John Lasseter, Don Bluth, Michael Eisner, the late Howard Ashman, the irascible Roy Disney and others, the film is a self-congratulatory dud.

October 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Herald | Comment (1)
Boston Herald

A subpar movie about exceptional ones, and you won't really care who was responsible.

October 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Washington City Paper
Washington City Paper

It's not one of those documentaries whose appeal stretches beyond people who are already interested in the subject, but animation buffs will eat it up.

September 3, 2010 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

[It] may not be thrilling, riveting viewing for some, but for animation fans, and for aficionados of Disney, the movie is must-see.

August 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Instead, it's a fascinating look at how a group of talented, flawed individuals managed to pull together for a while and make some beautiful and lasting films. There's something kind of magical about that, too.

August 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Wisconsin State Journal
Wisconsin State Journal

Waking Sleeping Beauty will matter only to those who grew up on Walt Disney's animated films. In other words, all of us.

May 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

Feature animation had an explosively great year in 2009, so it's startling to be reminded in Waking Sleeping Beauty that it was all but dead 20 years ago.

April 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

It's a must-see for any Disney purist, but is also an emotive, stunningly valuable documentary in its own right.

April 16, 2010 Full Review Source:

The entire story is worked into a perfect success story package, concluding right before the studios more controversial period begins, which just goes to show, you can always have a happy ending, if you know where to stop the story.

April 8, 2010 Full Review Source: New York Press
New York Press

Just extraordinary enough to make you really long for all the stuff that it's too-short running time and too-tight focus had to leave out.

April 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

The film feels too often as though it is pulling some punches so as not to enrage its corporate parents.

April 2, 2010 Full Review Source:

All too often the movie's breadth comes at the expense of its depth.

April 1, 2010 Full Review Source: NYC Film Critic
NYC Film Critic

Objectivity is impossible under the best circumstances, and perhaps Hahn comes as close to "fair and balanced" as possible. But unavoidably there's a sense of untold stories and elided details lurking right beneath the surface.

March 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

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.
November 14, 2011
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.
April 30, 2011

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.
February 26, 2011
The thing I love the most about Waking Sleeping Beauty is that it really is about absolutely nothing. I mean, alright, there's stuff going on, but it's not this complicated, detailed mess. It's more like, 'yeah, this what we did and how we felt while doing it. Isn't it great?' It's just this celebration of what was arguably the greatest era of Disney animation. That is just before Pixar's thugs took over the market. Personally, I got a bit sentimental, curz tha little mermaid is like the best movie eva! <3 And then there are also a couple really brief shots of Jack and Sally - if you don't know who they are by name alone, just leave. Now. Anyway, I was really surprised and the film is a helluva lot of fun. It's sort of reminder of why you fell in love with Simba, Ariel, Lumier, or Miku to begin with.
January 13, 2011
Jake ....

Super Reviewer

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