Sleeping Beauty Reawakened on DVD

Two major animated releases hit video stores today, one a classic fairy tale feature and the other a TV cult favorite that was axed by Fox but is finding new life on DVD. First we’ll take a look at Disney’s restored Sleeping Beauty Special Edition, a release long-awaited by animation fans everywhere.

The 1959 Sleeping Beauty emerges from the Disney vault complete with wide screen and full screen versions of the first animated film ever released in 70mm. The two-disc set also contains a host of extra features that promise to provide hours of fun for he whole family. What’s more, Disney says the classic has been “meticulously restored and painstakingly reformatted one frame at a time, allowing audiences to enjoy greater animated detail than was seen theatrically.” The film will also sound better than ever with all-new THX-certified Dolby Digital 5.1 re-mixed soundtrack.

Sleeping Beauty tells the story of beautiful Princess Aurora, cursed to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into a deep sleep on her 16th birthday. The spell was cast by the evil Maleficent, one of the silver screens most memorable villains, animated or otherwise. In an attempt to avoid the spell, Aurora is raised deep in the woods by three fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. Throw in a brave prince and a breathtaking, fire-breathing dragon, and you’ve got one heck of a third act.

Extra features include such interactive activities as the Rescue Aurora Game, featuring all-new animation; a music video for Once Upon (Another) Dream; a Once Upon a Dream sing along; the Disney Princess Personality Game; the Sleeping Beauty Ink & Paint Game; and an art project that shows you how to build a dragon and design a princess. There’s also the behind-the-scenes featurette Once Upon a Dream: The Making of Sleeping Beauty, a look at the music, backgrounds and live-action references used for the film. For hardcore animation fans, noted film historian Leonard Maltin, artists Eyvind Earle, Ollie Johnston and others share their thoughts on the movie’s unique design.

Other supplemental materials include the history of the story, the 1951 outline, original storyboard sequences, photographs, a behind-the-scenes look at the restoration process, a 3D virtual art gallery, three different trailers, a featurette on famous composer Peter Tchaikovsky, Disney’s 1958 Academy Award-winning short Grand Canyon, and a special exploration of the techniques of four Sleeping Beauty artists.

This G-rated Buena Vista Home Video release lists for $29.99 DVD and $24.99 VHS and comes with English, French and Spanish language tracks.