Aladdin Diamond Edition – Blu-ray Review

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To say that people in North America have been patiently waiting for a Blu-ray release of Aladdin would be a huge understatement. Many people have resorted to purchasing the region-free UK versions of Aladdin in order to get their hi-def fix of the Disney classic. Now, Aladdin comes home with Disney’s Aladdin Diamond Edition.

Aladdin follows a peasant named Aladdin who becomes caught up in Jafar’s plot to rule the land with the aid of the fun-loving Genie of the lamp. Vying for the love of the beautiful princess Jasmine, he uses the Genie’s magical powers to make himself a prince and live happily ever after with Jasmine by his side.

Although Aladdin isn’t an achievement like Beauty and the Beast or as emotional as The Lion King, it’s still considered to be one of Disney Animation’s most beloved films. Although Aladdin was made over 23 years ago, the film has aged very well. The eclectic mix of hand-drawn animation, catchy music, and a likable cast of characters is what make the film such a classic. But it’s Robin Williams that shines the brightest with his portrayal of the Genie. His magnetic and energetic performance lights up the film every time he comes on screen.

But it’s not just the Genie that makes this film a classic.  As far as the animation goes, Disney is at the top of their game with Aladdin. The animation combined with a full orchestral score composed by Alan Menken, Tim Rice and the late Howard Ashman holds a place in the annals of classic Disney songs. Overall, Aladdin is an excellent achievement.

The only downside is that there isn’t a huge sense of danger for any of the characters in the film. Thus resulting in a lessens the emotional impact of the film. While this never truly hurts the film, it keeps Aladdin from reaching the level of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. But it’s still a fantastic slice of animation, crafted with extreme care and loaded with memorable moments.

Despite all that, Aladdin is still one of the best films Disney ever made.

Movie rating: 5/5 atoms
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Video
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Aladdin is presented in a 1080P MPEG4 AVC encoded video with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. As with every Disney animated film, Aladdin features a beautiful and vibrant color palette that never feels oversaturated. Although there are minor issues stemming from the source material, there are clear improvements in the film’s line quality and texture that’s obvious from start to finish. Even the film’s CGI has found new life, as the CGI looks exceptionally rendered. The black levels are solid. This jaw-dropping attention to detail easily stands tall alongside other Diamond Edition releases.

Video rating: 5/5 atoms
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Audio
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Aladdin is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround audio track. That’s right; Aladdin now features a 7.1 track instead of the film’s original 5.1 audio track. Boy does the newly minted 7.1 track deliver the goods. The surround speakers are as lively as the film itself as the dynamic audio bursts to life utilizing every speaker. The subwoofer provides plenty of boom and bass. Even with everything going on, the dialogue is extremely well defined. From start to finish, this demo-quality soundtrack is an equal match to the amazing visuals on screen.

Audio rating: 5/5 atoms
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Special features
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  • Audio Commentaries
  • The Genie Outtakes
  • Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic
  • Unboxing Aladdin
  • Genie 101
  • Ron & Jon: You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me
  • Classic Bonus Features contain the following features:
    • A Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin
    • Alan Menken: Musical Renaissance Man
    • The Art of Aladdin: Art Review with Filmmakers’ Commentary
    • Deleted Song: Proud of Your Boy, Original Demo
    • Deleted Song: You Can Count on Me
    • Deleted Song: Humiliate the Boy
    • Deleted Song: Why Me
    • Deleted/Alternate Scene: Aladdin & Jasmine’s First Meeting
    • Deleted/Alternate Scene: Aladdin in the Lap of Luxury
    • Music Video: “Proud of Your Boy” with Clay Aiken
    • Proud of Your Boy Original Story Reel
    • Behind the Scenes of “Proud of Your Boy”
    • Music Video: “A Whole New World” with Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey
    • Behind the Scenes of “A Whole New World”
    • Music Video: “A Whole New World” with Regina Belle & Peabo Bryson
    • Disney Song Selection with Optional On-Screen Lyrics
    • Inside the Genie’s Lamp: Guided Tour
    • The Genie World Tour
    • Publicity: Trailers

The most prominent bonus features are two Genie-related featurettes celebrating the life of the great Robin Williams. “The Genie Outtakes” features a small, G-rated sample of the hours and hours of outtakes recorded in the studio. The feature contains brand new sketches and storyboards to put some of the jokes into context. In addition, the touching words from co-directors John Musker and Ron Clements, and lead Genie animator Eric Goldberg were a nice touch. On a related note, “Genie 101” is a brief lesson that clarifies some of the celebrity impressions that might go over the heads of the younger viewers. In addition, host Scott Weinger (voice of Aladdin) also pays tribute to Robin Williams in this feature.

Newer featurettes include “Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic” and “Ron & Jon: You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me.” “Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic” is probably the one feature that you may skip, but the featurette is quite intriguing. It showcases the history of the Broadway adaptation, from its troubled beginning to the hardship of filling the Genie’s massive shoes. There are plenty of interesting stories and behind-the-scenes footage to be found here.

“Ron & Jon: You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me” revisit and shares stories of their working experiences together. The pair plays off each other quite nicely and it’s great to see how these two got together.

The last of the new bonus features is “Unboxing Aladdin” which is a feature aimed squarely at kids. Rounding out the special features section is the classic bonus features from the Platinum Edition DVD.

Special features rating: 4/5 atoms
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Overall, Aladdin brings together the best of the Disney formula with help of the late, great Robin Williams. The film also benefits from the demo-quality audio and video transfers, which is nothing new considering this is a Disney Diamond Edition release. Although the special features leaves you wanting more, seeing all the tributes for Robin Williams will definitely pull on your heartstrings and will make you miss him even more.

Overall rating: 5/5 atoms
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Aladdin is now available on Blu-ray.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1454 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.