In terms of film classics, there is always a Disney film in that pantheon, but unfortunately Sleeping Beauty (1959) isn't the first title that you would choose when naming Disney's greatest films, but nonetheless, it is one of the last great, hand-drawn animated films, regardless of what you really think of it. It is hard to think of a film, especially for kids that has had such a huge effect on how they see fairy tales. Although the story is pretty common, and kind of a letdown in terms of the essence of the fairy-tale princess, it's still pretty impressive when it comes to visualization, and technicality in the animation. Bare in mind, it isn't the best animated film ever made, but it is still a great film watch, even for adults.
Everyone knows the story of Aurora, the beautiful princess of King Stefan, who as a baby, is blessed with the gifts of beauty and song by three fairies, Flora and Fauna, but just as Merryweather is going to give Aurora her gift, she is interrupted by the most evil of witches, Maleficent (one of Disney's famous villians), and cursed to die when she will eventually prick her finger on a spinning wheel's spindle. So in this case, Merryweather does her best to break Maleficent's curse by giving Aurora the gift of sleeping, so she won't die under the curse. Speaking of the curse, it will broken by her first true love's kiss. The story is rather cliched, since it has been used in almost every fairy tale, but it has never been done in such a way, that you could use animation to express it.
The voicework, especially by Eleanor Audley as Aurora, is nothing short of excellent. The characters she's surrounded by do give her a strength that she is able to live on. Even the animals she meets in the woods, where is sent to be protected from the curse, have memorable personalities. It is rather keen that a movie showcases every character equally, where everyone gets a chance to shine. It seems that every aspect of the film's entire production was completed quite carefully, right down to the most intricate detail. Even the music and scenery is given remarkable attention, where they eventually become center stage. It's just that the story is a too unoriginal, that's all.
Speaking of the film, it is rather short, clocking in just 73 minutes, but as soon as the action kicks in, it becomes very entertaining to the point of pure nostaglia, especially for people who saw it as children upon its release. It's no wonder why children still enjoy it, again despite the story.
Now for the Diamond Edition release, it is very underwhelming, since in 2008, the 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition was released, containing a huge amount of special features, including deleted songs, art galleries, trailers, walkthrough attractions, and more. But all of those are significally missing from this new release.
The features for this one consist of new features, such as 13 minutes of deleted scenes; The Art of Evil: Generations of Disney Villains, a 10-minute featurette discussing iconic baddies in many of Disney's most famous films; DisneyAnimation: Artists in Motion, a four-minute extended version centering on the development of a paper sculpture of Maleficent; the nine-minute Once Upon a Parade (with Modern Family's Sarah Hyland); and the three-minute Beauty-Oke (a sing-along for "Once Upon a Dream"). The old features consist of an audio commentary with iconic film critic Leonard Maltin and animators Andreas Deja and Jon Lasseter; the 11-minute The Sound of Beauty: Restoring a Classic; Picture Perfect: The Making of Sleeping Beauty (which runs 44 minutes), and Eyvind Earle: A Man And His Art (eight minutes).
Although, this new 2014 Diamond Edition has the same brilliant digital presentation as the 2008 edition, the biggest flaw is the bonus content. So if you happen to own the 2008 edition, hold on to that. But if you aren't a fan of supplements, fell free to indulge in this new edition of a delightful Disney classic.