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Waking Sleeping Beauty

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Animation fanatics know the story of Disney’s “nine old men” inside and out; most, however, couldn’t explain who engineered the company’s resurgence as a toon powerhouse in the mid-’80s. Using only archival footage and voiceovers, Don Hahn’s doc traces how its beat-up, ramshackle animation division staged a miraculous comeback that culminated in The Little Mermaid and The Lion King; it also details how grudge matches between corporate executives Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg almost deep-sixed everything. The film’s tendency to wax sentimental occasionally undermines its authority, but you won’t find better behind-the-scenes looks at the era’s mouse-eared power struggles or at the making of modern Disney classics.—David Fear

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