The soundtrack and picture of this timeless Disney classic have been painstakingly restored and re-mastered for its 50th anniversary— Sleeping Beauty is back to reintroduce some of Disney's most enchanting characters to yet another generation. Based on the Charles Perrault version of Sleeping Beauty, the beautiful Princess Aurora is cursed by the evil Maleficent to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into a deep slumber—able to be awakened only by the kiss of her one true love. (Stacey Pendry)
Special features on Disc One of this two-disc set include a music video featuring Emily Osment singing "Once Upon A Dream" (three minutes); a Disney Song Selection featuring five of the film's songs available with or without the on-screen lyrics; an audio commentary track; a pop-up feature trivia track Princess Fun Facts; the "Grand Canyon" short film, which originally accompanied Sleeping Beauty in theatres (29 minutes); two versions of the classic featurette The Peter Tchaikovsky Story (50 minutes each); and previews. Disc Two contains a documentary Picture Perfect: Making Of Sleeping Beauty (44 minutes); two featurettes Eyvind Earle: The Man And His Art (eight minutes) and Sequence 8 (six minutes); a never-before-seen alternate opening storyboard (three minutes); three deleted songs; two storyboard sequences; three Live-Action Reference scenes; eight separate Sleeping Beauty Art Galleries; take a tour of the famous Sleeping Beauty Castle attraction at Disneyland available with or without a commentary track (eight minutes); a featurette History Of The Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough Attraction (nine minutes); the original theatrical trailer; the original theatrical teaser and the re-release trailer; a vintage featurette Four Artists Paint One Tree (16 minutes); and two games Briar Rose's Enchanted Dance Game and Sleeping Beauty Fun With Language Game. Additional Blu-ray Disc™ special features not included on the DVD are two games: Maleficent's Challenge and Dragon Encounte; a full-motion picture-in-picture experience in Cine-Explore; a featurette Restoring The Sound Track (11 minutes); and four BD-Live™ functionalities: communicate with your friends remotely on-screen while the movie plays in Movie Chat; Movie Mail allows you to superimpose a personalized video message on one of the pre-selected clips from the film; Movie Challenge an online trivia challenge against other users in the network; and accumulate Movie Reward Points in Disney Movie Rewards by participating in some of the many Disney BD-Live activities. For a limited time only, a DVD version of the restored film will be included with the Blu-ray Disc.
The animated, anamorphically enhanced 2.54:1 DVD is an improvement over the previously reviewed DVD (Issue 76), with more naturally saturated colors and the overly bright colors toned down. The less vibrant colors now appear more natural, and the entire image seems to have a layer of grime removed from it. The blacks are deep, and there is a good sense of dimension to the picture, even though shadows aren't part of the animation. The fluctuating luminance that was distracting in the previous release has been corrected in this version. The picture can appear somewhat digitized at times, and edge enhancement is used, but neither is overly distracting. The H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc does look cleaner than the DVD, with no compression artifacts noticeable and better color definition, but the increased resolution afforded by high-definition does not add much to the detail in the animation. Still, the improvement in the color resolution makes it worth buying over the DVD. (Danny Richelieu)
The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack has been remixed for the home, labeled as the first "Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix." The front stage is wider than in the previous release, and the surrounds are incorporated very nicely. The soundtrack is quite engaging throughout, compared to the previous DVD. Dialogue still sounds dated, but music has been improved noticeably. The majority of effects have been improved as well, but there are times when they can sound flat and muddy. Bass is better defined, but there are passages in the music that sound thin and flabby. Dynamic range is limited and subtle noise can be heard at times. But this noise is at very low levels and is rarely a distraction. The Blu-ray Disc's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio™ 7.1-channel encoding does sound more fluid than the DVD's lossy encoding. The biggest improvement, though, is in the fidelity of voices, which still sound slightly dated but are much better than in the DVD. The additional two channels increase the envelopment in the surround stage, but only slightly. (Danny Richelieu)