By Cameron Glenn

Credit: Disney

Credit: Disney

Maleficent never looked so bad, and I mean that in the best way possible. Legendary Disney animator Marc Davis created this beautiful and brooding protagonist at a time when the studio’s villans were still bad to the bone, rather than mostly bad, but just a little funny, or didn’t, as one animator said, “scare the popcorn out of the kids.” She was the character who kept kids captivated in fear before the likes of Cruella de Vil from “101 Dalmations” and Madam Mim from “The Sword in the Stone” made their way to the Disney screen and gave kids a side of laughter as well.

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With the “Sleeping Beauty” Diamond Edition Blu-Ray Maleficent is a high-definition wonder in vivid color. What adds to the magic of this new edition is the medieval kingdom in which it takes place is also brought to life in rich tones, becoming a stellar backdrop for the horned beauty of the underworld.

My four-year-old daughter said this version was more “yucky” than her well-worn VHS copy (yes, some things are still worth holding onto — especially if handled by little fingers), referring to the greenish slime coating the walls of Maleficent’s dungeon. And it seemed more “smoky” as well, she said, meaning the smoke curling about Maleficent when she appeared before Prince Philip could no longer be confused for just dust on the tape. I had to agree. It really was fun to watch again — if not just to take note of the subtle details that are enhanced so much more with this newest release.

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The bonus features are pretty cool. Among them are three deleted scenes consisting of rough drawings of varying detail/quality narrated and played by voice actors. All three will delight especially the older Disney fans. Having watched them all, I can honestly say, Disney did the right thing in leaving these scenes out. While entertaining, I can see how including them in the film would add a little unnecessary complexity and change the tone of the film slightly. All fun to watch nonetheless. The other great bone feature I enjoyed was the piece about Marc Davis and the characters he created. You get a sense from hearing about other lead animators of how influential and incredibly talented he was. Originally selected to animate animals (Flower from Bambi), Davis emerged as the creator several other Disney villains just because he was among the best — if not the number one at the time.

There are also some fun features geared more towards the kids as well.

Don’ t miss out on this piece of classic Disney art. Pick up a copy today!

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