No talking heads and no old men reminiscing was the mission statement behind the approach to using all archival footage for Waking Sleepimg Beauty. In doing so they totally achieve their goal of taking us back in time to the animation building on the Disney lot in the dark days before the rebirth and record-breaking revenue ushered in by Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Little Mermaid.
The story of the fall and rise of animation at Disney, along with great details about the corporate tug-of-war between of Michael D. Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Roy Disney provides a dramatic story to keep you engaged throughout the film. That would have been more than enough for a good doc, but this one has the added magic of meeting the younger versions of legends like Don Bluth, John Lasseter and Tim Burton and getting more insight into how some of the upheaval may have influenced their career choices.
Add to all of that the music (I couldn’t stop myself from lip-synching along with everything) and you get the perfect combination of entertainment and education that you would expect from the best documentaries.
PN grade: A+