Waking Sleeping Beauty - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Waking Sleeping Beauty Reviews

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michael e.
Super Reviewer
½ November 14, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
½ April 30, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
March 28, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
February 22, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
December 17, 2010
Fantastic, great footage that shows Tim Burton as the creepy weird kid you always knew he was.
Super Reviewer
½ October 5, 2011
"Waking Sleeping Beauty" is a breezy backstage look at the reemergence of the formerly moribund Disney animation studios, starting in 1984 with the hiring of Michael Eisner and Frank Wells to run the company, with Eisner bringing in Jeffrey Katzenberg. It had been decades since Disney was tops in animation and "The Black Cauldron," the first production under the new regime, was less than successful. So much so, at one point, that it looked like the animation division was going to be shut down, so the animators staged their own version of "Apocalypse Now." But then Disney went on a winning streak starting with "The Little Mermaid" which led to "Beauty and the Beast" which led to "Aladdin" and finally "The Lion King."

Even with all the glitz and glamor, "Waking Sleeping Beauty" rightfully concentrates on all the hard work it took to get there.(How anybody could concentrate on drawing with a live lion in the room is beyond me.) But I disagree with the assertion that the above films made it cooler for adult audiences to like animated films. That would come later with the rise of Pixar. In fact, a lot of this entertaining and insightful documentary feels like prologue, and not just because a young Tim Burton is photographed at a drawing desk.
Super Reviewer
April 8, 2010
Wonderful documentary covering the Disney animation years from 1984-1994 (the re-birth of the brand, from LITTLE MERMAID through LION KING). Full of insider you-were-there interviews, footage and home movies, this film also covers the great infusion of creativity that Howard Ashman brought to the studio when he and writing partner Alan Menken came on board. It also, quite movingly, chronicles Ashman's last days, and that alone is enough to make this essential viewing for not only the animated film fan, but the musical theatre fan as well. It's one of those documentaries that zooms by, and leaves you wishing it were twice the length, because every tidbit you get is a gem. Don't miss the gems!
Super Reviewer
June 20, 2013
I'm always fascinated by the story of Disney and how it has evolved over the years. Those who can remember that far back will remember the problems of Disney in the '80s. An interesting look as to how Disney recaptured its animation magic.
Jason Vargo
Super Reviewer
½ October 5, 2011
Does Waking Sleeping Beauty get deep enough or honest enough about the trials of the Disney company? Not really. Does it give a tantalizing glimpse into a dysfunctional organization where expectations kept getting raised without needed improvements in staffing and infrastructure, not to mention in interpersonal relations? Absolutely. Are some of the films between 1984 and 1994 glossed over with precious little information (like The Rescuers Down Under)? Yup. Are there fundamental problems with the way the doc is edited together, such as not having current interviews on camera and opting for only the audio of those conversations? Double yup. But you know what? For a company with an image of family and friends, Waking Sleeping Beauty throws cold water on the entire endeavor. A brisk 85-minutes, WSB gives the audience a starting place from which to seek out other docs on the Disney company. It begins the conversation and doesn't pretend to finish it.
Super Reviewer
April 6, 2011
The true story about the people behind Disney's magic who brought in millions and could "do no wrong." The truth is that they were arrogant and prideful and fought all the time but they were brilliant entertainers and amazing businessmen who took risks and succeeded in delivering some of the most beloved Disney films of all time. This movie includes testimonies and vintage home videos along with clips from our favorite stories. I never knew they basically made up the story as they went along. No wonder The Black Cauldron sucked so bad!!!
Super Reviewer
January 15, 2011
Fascinating and insightful, but it felt a little too much like one big commercial for Disney.
Super Reviewer
June 12, 2013
Fascinating documentary charting the fall and subsequent rebirth of Disney animation.
Super Reviewer
½ June 24, 2010
Facsinating and enthralling documentary of "The Disney Renaissance," the period from 1984-1994, where Disney hit their all-time low (The Black Cauldren) followed by a gradual increase both critically and commercialy, until they hit their all-time high (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King). It chronicles the rise and fall of big names such as Roy Disney, Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Frank Wells, Peter Schneider, Howard Ashman, Ron Clements, John Musker, Don Bluth, Tim Burton, Richard Williams, John Lasseter, Joe Ranft among others. See this if you are interested in Disney, Animation, or can appreciate documentaries in general.
April 13, 2012
Good, although I was hoping for great...great insight to the biz and dynamics at Disney at the time...would recommend the BS Report podcast with Eisner to go along with this as background...
April 1, 2012
Great movie about the Renaissance of Disney animation. I grew up during this period, so these movies, at least to me, are classic. They created characters & songs that will stay with me for my entire life. This story needed to be told because the journey to get those movies made was hard & grueling. Those animators are amazing & so are the big-wigs who supported them.
½ November 23, 2011
It's a really good look at the Walt Disney company of old and the transition into the mega-90's power mouse house it becomes. Also a very interesting dynamic of personalities and attitudes in the work place.
½ April 20, 2011
Intriguing documentary detailing the Renaissance of Disney and it's animation department during the late eighties and early nineties. Three things in particular stood out to me. First, the rise and fall of one of the standard Hollywood genres. Animation was thought to be dead and the target audience that the studios aim for in particular did not go see animation. So to see the genre rise again not only is a testament to the work achieved by those who helped revive it but it also shows just how fickle audiences are. Second, the traditional clash between guards old and new. The old line Disney animators were so reluctant to let go and do different things and it seems that this is always the way, the young breed just pushes until the walls come down. The final, rather exceptional point in the documentary is the tremendous clash of egos that helped to rebuild the animation giant and how that same behemoth reared it's ugly head in tearing the team apart. This theme can be played out in just about any power struggle Hollywood has ever seen, but it is still amazing to see that people don't learn and that greed and envy are eternal. Like I said, interesting documentary, nothing spectacular.
½ May 21, 2010
Awesome insight in to a period of animation that I grew up with (which undoubtedly influenced my life) that humbly demystifies the magic of Disney and brings it down to Earth.

"History passes by, and memories are very short."

Great documentary for artists interested in working for major companies like Disney.
December 13, 2010
It seemed to lack a focus: basically it felt like a documentary that said "oh, this happened. then this happened." It also simply hints at things, but doesn't ever seem to want to go deeper into the details of it. Therefore, it just feels like a short summary...which is great to hear, but not enough to really sink into the story and get truly involved.

if you're interested in this era of Disney history, i'd recommend reading Disneywar instead.
March 25, 2010
Great movie - not to be missed. Loved the inside look at artistic process and I thought it was beautifully made. Really, really interesting documentary, excellent film-making and wonderful story telling.
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