Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. 91
    A surprisingly intimate behind-the-scenes documentary.
  2. 88
    The most fascinating scenes in Waking Sleeping Beauty involve the infamous Disney work ethic. Friends of mine at the studio said the unofficial motto was, "If you didn't come in on Saturday, don't even bother to come in on Sunday."
  3. The joy of cartoons meets the agony of office politics in this fascinating, inside- Hollywood-baseball documentary.
  4. It's got a terrific inside Hollywood sensibility plus an unblinking candor that lets the chips fall where they should. Which, given who made it, is something of a pleasant surprise.
  5. 80
    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.
  6. A fascinating, albeit self-congratulatory, account of how Disney's fabled animation department was reenergized and reimagined between 1984 and 1994.
  7. The movie turns from good to great as the layers are peeled away and director Hahn provides an insider's look at the creative epicenter of the studio.
  8. 75
    Vividly captures a period of movie history. It’s just that the period seems less vital -- sleepier, if you will -- than it once did.
  9. Reviewed by: Stephen Farber
    70
    Surprisingly hard-hitting and revealing. The topic is a bit specialized to draw a wide audience, but those who see the movie will definitely enjoy the intrigue depicted.
  10. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    70
    Tying it all together is Hahn's transparent love for the art of animation and for Disney--its history and once geek-heavy in-house culture. Hahn balances that love with a critical eye that allows him to sing the praises of unsung heroes while letting the a--holes hang themselves.
  11. Reviewed by: Andy Klein
    67
    Objectivity is impossible under the best circumstances, and perhaps Hahn comes as close to "fair and balanced" as possible. But unavoidably there's a sense of untold stories and elided details lurking right beneath the surface.
  12. 63
    Doesn't have as much behind-the-scenes juice as you'd hope.
  13. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    63
    It could have delved a little deeper to keep us wide-eyed and engaged.
  14. Watch for a cameo by young animator Tim Burton.
  15. 60
    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.
  16. A sly retrospective exercise in corporate self-congratulation masquerading as an insider’s tell-all.
  17. Reviewed by: Barbara Goslawski
    50
    Don Hahn’s documentary is an animator’s attempt to invigorate what is otherwise a dry story.
  18. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    50
    The documentary has but one revelatory insight -- that "The Lion King" can be read as an allegory of the territorial peeing match between big cats Michael Eisner, Roy Disney and, least flatteringly, Katzenberg.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Dec 11, 2010
    8
    A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Disney as the films that defined my childhood were created, which brought the studio back to life despite a clear power struggle at the top. Full Review »