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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Fantasy > Literature > Myth > Fairy Tale > Magic > Large Frame Format > Sleeping Beauty: Diamond Edition (1959/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD)

Sleeping Beauty: Diamond Edition (1959/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD)

Picture: A/B Sound: A-/B Extras: B Film: B

Returning to Blu-ray in Disney Diamond Edition form is the 1959 classic, Sleeping Beauty. The film was previously released on Blu-ray for its 50th Anniversary in 2008 as a Platinum Edition. So this begs the question, with a Disney catalog full of films never released on Blu-ray, why re-release Sleeping Beauty so soon? The answer being for a couple reasons, one is to tie in with the release of the live action smash hit Maleficent and to get the Blu-ray right?

This is to say the 2008 Blu-ray release did have its issues, the picture was just a hair off from perfect and the DTS-HD soundtrack was seemingly subpar; due to either a misunderstanding of the original three-track soundmaster or due to limitations of the time. It is confusing how much additional work was done on Sleeping Beauty since the 2008 Blu-ray release; as restoration claims are similar to those displayed with the Platinum Edition. Being a Diamond Edition there are certainly more extras here, but Disney being Disney it would be unlikely that they would reissue the Platinum in a new casing and call it a Diamond.

The film was discussed in fine detail in our previous review. For a closer look into the ins and outs of Sleeping Beauty please refer to the link below:


As for the upgrade to Diamond status and the technical features…

The technical features on this new Platinum release are stunningly upgraded; yes, I can save you the torture... they fixed the sound. The picture (like the 2008 Blu-ray) is in the correct (intended) aspect ratio of 2.55 X 1, allowing the full image to be displayed, top to bottom and side to side. The 1080p, AVC encoded, MPEG-4 presentation is magnificent as it has fixed the few image hiccups from the 2008 release and again displays a crisp, clean appearance with solid, inky black levels and an accompanying bright color palette. Information chronicling the restoration work for this film states that it took years as artists went frame by frame to ensure ultimate perfection; but seeing as how the film was just release (on Blu-ray) in 2008 and looked very good then, I am not certain how much has been done since. An educated guess would be that most restoration work took place prior to the 2008 release, but it is not exactly the same transfer here as the film appears a tad more polished. The art is amazing and the original Technicolor shines through with ease; displaying the masterful work of the original artists.

The sound again is a lossless 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio that utilized the original 35mm 3 track soundmaster. This time around the track makes better use of the full speaker range; whereas still a rather reserved track, it does manage to use a fair bit of panning effects/directionality, livens up for musical scores, and limited bass. The reserved nature of the track does give the sound a light/airy feel, leaving dialogue (whereas crisp and clean) a bit less pronounced.

All of this could be in my head and this could be the very same track that Disney fed us for the 2008 release; but in this reviewer's opinion is a solid upgrade with certain tweaking.

The DVD is a clear downgrade.

The extras include:

  • Audio Commentary with Leonard Maltin (Disney Historian), Andreas Deja (Disney Animator) and John Lasseter (of Pixar fame)

  • Picture Perfect: The Making of Sleeping Beauty

  • Eyvind Earle: The Man and his Art

  • The Sound of Beauty: Restoring a Classic

    • The extensive and exhaustive process animators/sound technicians at Disney went through to bring this classic back to its former glory. In the end taking them all of the way to Berlin to find the best source material.

  • Once Upon a Parade

  • The Art of Evil: Generations of Disney Villains

  • @DisneyAnimation: Artists in Motion

  • Beauty-Oke: Once Upon a Dream

  • Deleted Scenes

  • Alternate Scenes

For Disney fans this upgrade of Sleeping Beauty to the Platinum Edition is a no brainer.

- Michael P. Dougherty II


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