I may be in the minority, but I just don't understand the appeal of Sleeping Beauty. Granted, this is the best it has looked or sounded in my lifetime, but I find the story amazingly boring. The highlight is Tchaikovsky's music and the final battle between Prince Phillip and Maleficent, but the preceding 60 minutes are a real snorefest.
Meticulously restored with each individual cell cleaned and polished, Sleeping Beauty looks, well, beautiful in Blu. Presented for the first time in an expanded 2.55:1 aspect ratio, the AVC encode is chock full of radiant colors revealing impeccable detail, especially compared to the included DVD of the film. The lines are sharper and more defined, the backgrounds have more detail, and compression artifacts, which are easily seen on the DVD, are invisible on Blu-ray. For the naysayers who think DVD is good enough, this should convince them that it isn't.
The remastered DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack is quite good, although it's not as remarkable as the video presentation. Dialog sounds hollow and tinny in the center speaker, but the music has never sounded better, with impressive dynamics. The surround channels are rarely utilized in the main feature, although the Dragon Encounter Audio Sensory Experience supplement is very impressive in its use of discrete effects.
Dubbed a Platinum title by Disney, the three-disc set is loaded with supplements. In addition to the two Blu-ray discs, the set includes a DVD copy of the feature film, a very smart move on the studio's part.
Disc one includes the movie itself and some bonus features, such as a PIP commentary with John Lassester, Leonard Maltin, and Andreas Deja, which is also available as an audio-only option. Next up is the aforementioned Dragon Encounter Audio Sensory Experience (highly recommended), a pop-up trivia track, and the debut of BD-Live features called "Disney Live Network." With a BD-Live player, viewers can use the Internet to send text messages while they watch the movie, play a challenge game with friends online, and send movie mail that includes a personalized video message inserted into actual movie footage. The younger generation may enjoy these types of goodies, but I don't get their appeal.
Disc two includes a behind-the-scenes featurette on the production, two features on the "Castle Walkthrough Attraction," an "Enchanted Dance Game," a tedious "Fun with Language Game," and some supplements pertaining to the artwork in the movie.
Even though I find the movie a bore, the Blu-ray presentation is simply amazing in its detail—it's pure eye candy. The supplements are well done, and for consumers looking for some innovative BD-Live features, Disney has delivered something more intriguing than downloadable trailers. I love the fact that the studio has included a DVD copy of the filman improvement on the dreaded "digital copies" other studios offer that can only be played on a computer or portable player.
Release Date: October 7, 2008
Movie: 6 out of 10
Picture: 10 out of 10
Sound: 8 out of 10
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)
Onkyo PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 Amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner
M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer
Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector