Disney has hit another home run with their “Diamond” series and finally another classic, Aladdin, has found its way into the high-definition world. This release offers excellent video and audio transfers and includes a fair amount of bonus material, some made for this release including Genie outtakes with Robin Williams, as well as porting over the previous releases features.
Aladdin: Diamond Edition
Genre(s): Animation, Family, Comedy, Music
Disney | G – 91 min. – $40.99 | October 13, 2015
THE MOVIE – 4.5/5
Outside of perhaps 1940s and 50s Disney, the late 80s/early 90s were a golden age for the Mickey Company. Between The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), The Lion King (1994) and Aladdin, it was a great era before Disney decided to go cheap with numerous direct-to-video sequels. Luckily with Pixar, with a few exceptions (Cars 1 & 2), has regained its crown in the animation (albeit CGI) realm.
1992’s Aladdin is a fantastic family musical romp that is nearly perfect between amazing animation all culminated with brilliant voice work headlined, of course, by the late and great Robin Williams who, if anyone deserved an Oscar for voicing an animated character, it was him. Having watching this film again after many years, it struck me how well it has aged and how much it appeals to both children and adults alike.
The plot surrounds street-urchin Aladdin (voiced by SCOTT WEINGER) who lives day to day stealing scraps, with his trusted monkey sidekick Abu, from street vendors and avoiding the strong arms of guards. When the evil Jafar (JONATHAN FREEMAN), consultant for the kingdom’s sultan (DOUGLAS SEALE), attempts to retrieve a magical lamp but only the chosen one may do so and it just so happens to be Aladdin.
Meanwhile, within the lavish palace, Princess Jasmine (LINDA LARKIN) yearns to be free and runs away and discovers the hard life on the streets where she’s aided by Aladdin after being caught trying to steal. The pair makes an instant connection though soon enough, Aladdin is taken by guards at the behest of Jafar.
Aladdin is manipulated to retrieve the lamp but is, obviously, double-crossed by Jafar though before the dark one could get his hands on it, Aladdin gets it back, thanks to Abu, and needing to escape a closed in cave, rubs the lamp and out pops Genie (ROBIN WILLIAMS) who, after some zany antics, tells Aladdin the rules: he gets three wishes but there are caveats like he can’t wish for more wishes, he cannot wish for someone to fall in love and he can’t wish for the dead to come back to life.
When Aladdin learns Princess Jasmine, through law, is to marry a prince, his first wish is to become a prince and all the flair that entails however, its apparent Jasmine has little interest. At the same time, Jafar hatches his own plans now that he doesn’t have the lamp to grab absolute power over the kingdom and overthrow its hapless sultan.
Aladdin is such a great and timeless film that even after seeing it again after so many years (at least a decade if not longer), I found it to be not only entertaining but a good heart at its core, especially with the wild Robin Williams going wild. The soundtrack, which I basically had on repeat back in the day, is fantastic with so many catchy songs. Although it might take a backseat to the likes of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, it’s still one of Disney’s strongest animated films and a nice addition to the quad of classics from them between 1989 and 1994.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.0/5
This release comes with a reflective and titled embossed slip cover. Inside there is a code for the Digital HD copy. Also included is a DVD Copy.
The Genie Outtakes (8:53; HD) has some outtake recordings from Robin Williams. This includes an intro with the directors as they recount working with him.
Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic (18:53; HD) is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the popular musical.
Unboxing Aladdin (4:40; HD) – This short featurette, made for younger viewers, hosted by a Disney kid I never heard of, provides trivia and hidden sight gags in the movie.
Genie 101 (3:59; HD) delves into the impersonations done by big blue guy; hosted by Scott Weinger.
Ron & John: You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me (5:36; HD) looks at the friendship and history between directors Ron Clements and John Musker.
Deleted Songs (13:57; SD) for “Proud of Your Boy” (Original Demo Recording), “You Can Count On Me” and “Why Me”
Deleted Scenes (5:43; SD) – Here we get two scenes, in rough form, nixed for one reason or another.
Music Videos – “Proud of Your Boy” (performed by Clay Aiken) Music Video (2:20), Original Story Reel (2:18), Behind the Scenes of the Music Video (3:20); “A Whole New World” (performed by Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey) Music Video (4:14), Behind the Scenes of the Music Video (3:46); “A Whole New World” (performed by Regina Belle and Peabo Bryson) Music Video (4:07)
Disney Song Selection allows you to jump to your favorite song in the movie.
Inside the Genie’s Lamp: Guided Tour (6:13; SD) is a kid-centric feature showing off what it looks like inside the lamp.
The Genie World Tour (3:14; SD) are a series of “post cards” from the genie on his world venture.
Audio Commentaries – There are two tracks, the first with Producers/Directors John Musker and Ron Clements & Co-Producer Amy Pell and the other with Supervising Animators Andreas Deja, Will Finn, Eric Goldberg and Glen Keane
A Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin (1:10:52; SD) is an extensive overview of the production of the movie breaking down the music, voice talent and the overall look.
Alan Menken: Musical Renaissance Man (19:55; SD) goes into Menken’s contribution to the music in Aladdin and Disney as a whole.
The Art of Aladdin: Art Review with Filmmakers’ Commentary (8:45; SD) – This featurette goes into the animation style and inspirations for Aladdin.
Publicity includes the Original Theatrical Trailer (2:50), Return of Jafar Trailer (0:43) and Aladdin and the King of Thieves Trailer (1:30).
VIDEO – 5.0/5
Disney has done it again and makes the Diamond Edition actually mean something. Aladdin arises onto Blu-ray shown in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and presented with a 1080p high-definition transfer. The colors, unsurprisingly, are brilliant from beginning to end and details, even by animation standards, are good. The most impressive, beyond the colors, is the clean transfer which is free of dust marks, scratches and other flaws that sometimes can permeate the older, traditional animated films.
AUDIO – 5.0/5
Not to be outdone, the disc comes with a nice and finely balanced DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track. These Disney movies certainly benefit from the newly minted lossless tracks between the clear dialogue to the numerous musical scenes which help round things out and make the most out of the front and rear channels. It’s a fantastic aural experience that any fan will appreciate.
OVERALL – 4.5/5
Overall, Disney has hit another home run with their “Diamond” series and finally another classic, Aladdin, has found its way into the high-definition world. This release offers excellent video and audio transfers and includes a fair amount of bonus material, some made for this release including Genie outtakes with Robin Williams, as well as porting over the previous releases features. Although these tend to be pricey, it is well worth it.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.