Much to my daughter’s delight, the Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition Blu-ray has finally arrived. Some Disney princesses have more class, some are better singers, and others have grander clothes. But no princess better captures the youthful naivete of little wanna-be princesses than Aurora, better known in most circles as Sleeping Beauty. Plus, she wears pink.
Disney’s marketing department is generally on its game, and the Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition Blu-ray is no different. The movie may be called “Sleeping Beauty,” but the most climactic moments focus on the villainous Maleficent. Not coincidentally, Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” hits Blu-ray in less than one month, so the timing of the Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition Blu-ray is sheer genius.
Getting the little girls in your house (re)hooked on the classic movie naturally gets moms and dads everywhere thinking about Disney’s new Maleficent, essentially sealing the deal on a two-movie purchase this fall. But that’s a business story. This is a Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition Blu-ray review, so let’s talk about the film’s qualities rather than its strategic importance to Disney’s fall lineup.
The Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition Blu-ray marks the first time Sleeping Beauty has appeared on Digital HD. Though that seems old hat for most Blu-ray buyers at this point, it’s really the “news hook” for why owners of an existing DVD or Blu-ray set might be interested in ponying up for the Diamond Edition.
Although the little princess in your house may not pay attention to it, parents like me will certainly appreciate the remastered HD visuals. The imagery doesn’t appear any more cleaned-up than the Platinum Edition from 2008, but having grown up watching the original animated version, the clean lines and saturated colors in this Diamond Edition remind me just how far we’ve come. In an odd way, the brightness and cleanliness of the video presentation also keep Sleeping Beauty “relevant” in an era dominated by cartoons created entirely on computer.
The Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition Blu-ray has 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio to really immerse viewers in the musical environment. Yet the biggest benefit of the 7.1 really comes into play with the Maleficent battles. My daughter gets a little creeped out walking by certain vignettes in Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland, and she was equally concerned by a few key scenes in this film. Although she obviously wasn’t physically in a castle, the surround sound made her feel “present” for Maleficent’s attacks, a testament to the film’s overall audio quality. If your daughter’s six or younger, you might consider leaving some lights on while watching the movie like I did.
One of the biggest draws of the Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition Blu-ray is the addition of three never-before-seen deleted scenes. As Disney has presented in other Blu-ray releases, the scenes here aren’t fully fleshed out but are instead presented in original sketched-out storyboards with new voiceovers.
The Disney marketing department obviously had a say in the bonus features too, as there are some brief special features that reference the film Maleficent with Angelina Jolie. These specials make total sense and don’t make you feel overtly manipulated or marketed to.
Apparently the Disney Parks team got in on the action too, as a bonus feature called Once Upon a Parade in which Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland talks about and shows viewers a new Disney World parade. This feature’s a bit more overt in its sales pitch, though the kids to whom the film is ultimately geared toward won’t pick up on it.
While the Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition Blu-ray shares four of the same bonus features as the Platinum Edition, there are quite a few missing compared to that previous release. Presumably this was to keep the package’s disc count down, but I was surprised to see what was originally a comprehensive collection missing. Of all the times to promote everything Sleeping Beauty, what with Maleficent releasing in a few weeks, this seemed the perfect time. Yet the disc omits features such as galleries, theatrical release footage and even some interactive games.
Which is why I opened the Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition Blu-ray review by highlighting the film’s first appearance on Digital HD. Other than the new deleted scenes, that digital component is really the most compelling reason to buy this Blu-ray if you don’t already own a previous version. If you don’t care about Digital HD, you can pick up the Platinum Edition at Amazon, though it’ll cost you a pretty penny because it’s out of production. This new Diamond Edition has an excellent presentation, and it can be found at Amazon for less than $24, which makes it a worthy purchase. Just don’t toss your Platinum Edition when you buy this version, as you’ll need both SKUs to get the complete set of bonus features.