Waking Sleeping Beauty

2010

Nothing could possibly persuade me that Walt Disney Studios is capable of making an unvarnished documentary about itself, and at least one artist interviewed here alludes to the fact that anything he says beyond the company line will get clipped out. But even in its sanitized state, this movie about the generational revolt that reinvigorated Disney’s animation department in the 1980s and ’90s is fascinating, thick with studio intrigue and lavishly illustrated with archival sketches and test animations. At the executive level the story is a three-way battle royale between CEO Michael Eisner, motion picture chief Jeffrey Katzenberg (whose artistic instincts were proved wrong again and again), and board member Roy Disney, nephew of Walt (who put his political muscle behind the animators in their crusade to recapture the studio’s artistic reputation). But below that lies the miserable substratum of endlessly toiling artists, whose hatred for the suits leaked out in a series of caricatures more savage than anything you’ll ever see in a Disney animation. Don Hahn directed. PG, 86 min.

Film Credits

Director: Don Hahn

Cast: Don Hahn

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