By Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist Published Dec 18, 2014 at 7:33 PM

One of the things that make in-home media so thrilling is being able to dive into the back story that brings a feature film to life.

When "Maleficent" had its box office run, this live action adaptation re-imagined for the big screen brought in more than $700 million worldwide. With Angelina Jolie cast as the fairytale villain, the fan base of fantasy stories lovers was intrigued in this "Sleeping Beauty" twist since promotion of film began.

Disney released the Blu-ray and HD digital combo pack, as well as DVD and on-demand on Nov. 4. It came out less than a month after the release of the Diamond Edition of "Sleeping Beauty" and after Halloween. It was a smart move to place it in stores and other outlets after the costume-themed, candy-fueled obsession in America.

Sure, "Maleficent"-based costumes and decorations were available, but the storytelling is so strong here that is wasn’t worth getting lost in the Halloween hoopla. Kudos go out to the studio executives and marketing teams for understanding the true value of the film. The right choice of releasing the Blu-ray at a proper time was made in this case.


I had the opportunity to screen the Blu-ray in November, but held on the review to be closer to the holiday shopping season after Thanksgiving. When bundled with the "Sleeping Beauty" re-mastered release, the pair of films telling different stories from the same fantastic universe makes a wonderful present for different generations in the family.

Case-in-point: The young ones, especially fans of the Disney Princesses, will enjoy the tale of Princess Aurora from the original classic tale. Warning, the scene with Prince Phillip fighting the dragon form of Maleficent may be a little too intense for sensitive eyes.

The parents and grandparents will enjoy the classic film for what they remember of it from the big screen or the old VHS tapes.

And most, including preteens and teens, will love the story of the new movie. Jolie is wonderful playing the character filled with love, overcome with heart ache and lashing out – and later regretting – acts of full-blown rage.

The extras found in the Blu-ray share the process of reimagining the story for a new generation, what went into building the clash between Maleficent and King Henry’s forces and the layers of special effects used to expand the universe shared with audiences in 1959.

The filmmakers also present the concept art and the beautifully made head wraps and jewelry that Jolie wore on set.

My favorite part was the flying sequences where you could literally share the joy of soaring above the two kingdoms and taking in the wonderfully animated landscapes.

Actress Elle Fanning, who had her breakout role with a performance in "Super 8," shares her deep appreciation of Disney’s original "Sleeping Beauty" in one of the featurettes. She testifies how much of a fan she really is and that playing Princess Aurora was a fairytale come true.

It proves that the seemingly unattainable can happen – and that fairytales can come true.

Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist

Media is bombarding us everywhere.

Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.

The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.