Once again, Disney has opened the vault for a re-release of the 1992 film, Aladdin on Blu-ray as the tenth title in their ‘Signature’ line. Video has been remastered and is now Presented in a different aspect ratio than the Diamond Edition, 1.66:1, versus 1.85:1, while audio appears unchanged. As is often the case, this release includes some new extras, removes a few, and includes the bulk of the legacy material, albeit digitally.
The story of Aladdin centers around the title character (voice of Scott Weinger, singing voice by Brad Kane), a homeless orphan living on the streets of the city of Agrabah. One day, while trying to avoid local law enforcement, he meets a young girl who is hiding from the guards. As it turns out, the girl is Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin, singing voice by Lea Solonga) in disguise. She’s just run away from home after a disagreement with her father over her marriage plans.
Aladdin shows her his favorite place to hide. He quickly finds himself falling for her. But, Aladdin has more serious things to worry about. An evil wazir Jabar (Jonathan Freeman) whisks him away to a forbidden desert vault. There, Aladdin finds an ornate bottle and after accidentally rubbing it a few times, comes face-to-face with a blue genie (Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society), who is ready to grant him three wishes. From there, with some help from a monkey named Abu and a magic carpet—works to win Jasmine’s hand in marriage.
The mixture of Robin Williams’ voice and the Disney’s animator’s excellent work makes the Genie an unforgettable character. In truth, Aladdin himself is a rather bland guy, but every time the Genie is around, he becomes the focus of everything. For my money, the genie must be considered among the best performances of his career. Zany, but controlled, he skewers everyone from Elvis Presley to William F. Buckley…truly hilarious. It’s a credit to the other voice actors for keeping up with him.
Beyond Wililams’ performance, the animation is top notch. The music (courtesy of Alan Menken, the late Howard Ashman, and Tim Rice, who took over the lyricist’s duties after Ashman’s untimely death), boasts five original songs and Alan Menken won an Oscar for Best Original Score and Menken and Tim Rice won the Oscar for Best Song for “A Whole New World.”
Previously presented in 1.85:1 with thin horizontal black bars on the top and bottom of the display, the new 1.66:1 aspect ratio means the small vertical black bars are on the left and right sides of the 1.78:1 display, thus preserving the original theatrical aspect ratio. Outside of that, the image itself doesn’t look very different than the previous Blu-ray release. Colors are bright and vivid, and the animation looks sharp throughout.
This version of Aladdin contains the same DTS-HD 7.1 lossless soundtrack presentation as the previous Blu-ray release. Music and sound effects have an effortless, yet realistic quality. The subwoofer gets a real workout from what is truly an enveloping mix. Dialogue is clean, clear and concise throughout. Other language options include French and Spanish 5.1. New to this release is a 2.0 English Descriptive Audio option. English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles are included.
Aladdin‘s signature Blu-ray does not include all extras. Many are available only on the digital version. Below is a breakdown of what is new and returning and where things can be found.
- Sing Along with the Movie
- NEW! Aladdin on Aladdin (HD, 30:27) Interview with Scott Weinger, who voiced Aladdin in the film.
- NEW! Let’s Not Be Too Hasty: The Voices of Aladdin (HD, 2:58) A montage of voice recording sessions set against corresponding clips from the film. Also on digital.
- New! Alternate Endings (HD, 2:05) Two in total, with text intros. Also on digital.
- NEW! Classic Bonus Preview (HD, 0:59) A preview for the vintage extras that appeared on previous home video releases and are now available digitally.
- The Genie Outtakes: Also on digital.
- Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic: Also on digital.
- SEMI-NEW! Song Selection: The “reprise” editions weren’t included on the Diamond Edition.
- Audio Commentary: Producers/Directors John Musker and Ron Clements & Co-Producer Amy Pell. Also on digital.
- Audio Commentary: Supervising Animators Andreas Deja, Will Finn, Eric Goldberg and Glen Keane. Also on digital.
Digital Only Extras:
- Alan Menken: Music Renaissance Man
- The Art of Aladdin: Art Review with Filmmakers’ Commentary
- NEW! Drawing Genie (HD, 2:12) Supervising animator Eric Goldberg discusses his career, various inspirations, and the joy he finds in animated characters, all while drawing Genie,
- The Genie World Tour
- Inside the Genie’s Lamp: Guided Tour
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Unboxing Aladdin
- Deleted Scene: Aladdin in the Lap of Luxury
- Deleted Scene: Aladdin & Jasmine’s First Meeting
- Anti- Smoking PSA
- Behind the Scenes: “A Whole New World” Performed by Jessica Simpson and Nick Lacey
- Behind the Scenes: “Proud of Your Boy” Performed by Clay Aiken
- Music Video: “Proud of Your Boy” Performed by Clay Aiken
- Music Video: “A Whole New World” Performed by Regina Belle and Peabo Bryson
- Music Video: “A Whole New World” Performed by Jessica Simpson and Nick Lacey
- A Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin: The Animators
- A Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin: The Music
- A Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin: The Producers
- A Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin: The Voice Talent
Movie title: Aladdin (1992)
Director(s): John Musker, Ron Clements
Actor(s): Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin , Jonathan Freeman , Frank Welker , Gilbert Gottfried
Genre: Family, Animation, Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy