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Aladdin – Diamond Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Aladdin-Diamond-EditionNow is your chance to experience Disney’s beloved masterpiece Aladdin, a timeless adventure for the whole family that will make your heart race and your spirit soar. Enjoy this magic carpet ride of non-stop comedy on Digital HD and DMA September 29th and on Blu-ray Combo Pack October 13th. You won’t want to miss out hearing Academy Award®-winning music (1992: Best Music, Original Song, “A Whole New World,” Original Score) for the first time on Blu-ray and Digital HD. And now Aladdin shines even brighter with never-before-seen tributes to the enchanting talent of Robin Williams, the “Genius behind the Genie”.  There will also be exclusive editions (Both being somewhat different in packaging and particular extra stuff) of this release for Best Buy and Target stores.

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Film 

Disney’s beloved masterpiece will make your heart race and your spirit soar. Experience the laughter, adventure and Academy Award®-winning music (1992: Best Music, Original Song, “A Whole New World,” Original Score) all over again.  When a street urchin vies for the love of a beautiful princess, he uses a genie’s magic power to make himself off as a prince in order to marry her.

Bout time, right?  Blu-ray year 9 finally brings Aladdin to the format in the US.  Its one of the pinnacle films from Disney’s resurgence in the early 90s.  Its also the first film of that run of movies to focus on a male protagonist.  These movies were a HUGE deal back then with MASSIVE anticipation.  I know Pixar would be the modern equivalent, but I’m not sure the anticipation is as big now since there are so many other quality animated films coming out, too.  Aladdin also had a giant trump card with its release on having Robin Williams voicing the legendary Genie in the lamp from the tale.

Genie, physical or animated, is one of the late actor’s finest and most signature roles.  As Disney would find out in a straight to video sequel, nobody else is Genie but Robin Williams.  Apparently, the role was written for him with the writer hoping his shot in the dark would actually work out in the end.  And, it did.  Williams steals every scene in this movie, with the role being almost a self parody of his stand up routines.  He rambles off tons of references, impressions, jokes and gags by the second.  Its a funny schtick within itself aside from the jokes.  Its an incredible animated performance even if it is just Williams doing Williams, its transcending and one that everyone has really loved over the years and a favorite role to a lot of people.

The film itself is a nice swash buckling, romantic love story adventure that was pushing animation to the next level.  Aladdin continued on with what Beauty and the Beast was exploring with introducing some computer animation.  There were environments and exteriors being done with computers.  But, this time around they actually have a CG character into the mix.  The flying carpet is pretty much all CG and blends quite well with its 2D co-stars and environments its inhabiting.

After all these years, I think Aladdin holds up very well.  While, yeah, its more boy-centric…I’m a boy and so I’m going to find it quite fun.  But, I think its one that’s solid for all genders and ages.  Its the story of what ifs, responsibilities, evil and betrayal all through the lens of a “street rat”.  Williams’ Genie himself alone makes the film something to see.  Don’t count out Abu the monkey for a some good laughs and cuteness though.  The Disney resurgence was that for a reason, they were making really great features.  And kids like me would get our VHS tapes and wear the crap out of them.  Finally its here on a format you’re not going to have to worry very much about wearing it out.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Wow, this looks outstanding.  There is a complete look of clearness and clarity on display in this transfer.  You can see pencil markings and some brush strokes.  The CG in the film holds up well too.  I don’t see how anyone isn’t full impressed with the look of this.  It should be pretty jaw dropping to most.

Depth:  As I said, the CG holds up and scenes including it feature a good bit of dimension.  Movements are smooth, backgrounds are crisp and clear.

Black Levels:  Blacks are…well…black.  There are different shadings and the color has a boldness.  No crushing present.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are nice, vibrant and feature a good palette and many nice shadings.  Blues are a stand out.  Everything is nice, bold an full.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Very clean.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French Spanish

Dynamics:  What a nice, layered, balanced, clean and crisp track this 7.1 mix is.  Every sound, every breath is captured, full and free sounding.  This is the perfect blend of atmosphere, effects, music and vocals.  All of the songs sound beautiful here as well.

Low Frequency Extension:  The subwoofer plays this game with plenty of precision.  Its never overbearing, but don’t dare call it underwhelming.  The rumbling of the cavern, wooshing of a sword, Genie magic and the score all get a nice deep boost from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Oh yeah, front, back, side speakers are all on alert and catching every flying knife, sand blowing in the wind or swoosh of a sword.  This track is action and jumps all around the room with a natural feel and not forcing itself into every speaker “just cause”.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is loud, clear and crisp.  Singing is full sounding and clean.

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Extras 

Aladdin – Diamond Edition comes with a DVD copy and UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film.

The Genie Outtakes (HD, 8:53) – The directors and animator of the genie give a little introduction, background and anecdotes on all the improv Robin Williams would do in his recording sessions.  The outtakes are filled in by storyboards.

Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic (HD, 18:53) – A nice little extensive look at the creation and execution of the Broadway adaptation of the Disney rendition of Aladdin.

Unboxing Aladdin (HD, 4:40) – Some kid that stars on a show from the Disney channel opens a box and pulls out prop items that are related to the movie, and gives trivia tid bits as he goes along.

Genie 101 (HD, 3:59) – Steve from Full House (and voice of Aladdin) goes through all the impressions the Genie does and gives background on the person being impersonated.  Basically…to help up confused kids who are too young to understand them.

Ron & Jon: You Aint Never Had A Friend Like Me (HD, 5:36) – The directors sit on a park bench outside the animation building and reminisce about their experience in making the film as well as their friendship and working relationship.

Classic Bonus Features – Porting over most all bonus material from previous releases.

  • Audio Commentaries – 1) With Producers/Directors John Musker and Ron Clements & Co-Producer Amy Pell. 2) With Supervising Animators Andreas Deja, Will Finn, Eric Goldberg and Glen Keane.
  • Deleted Songs – “Proud of Your Boy”: Original Demo (SD, 3:58), “You Can Count on Me” (SD, 2:22), “Humiliate the Boy” (SD, 3:54), “Why Me” (SD, 3:42)
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, 5:43)
  • Music Video: “Proud of Your Boy” with Clay Aiken (SD, 2:20)
  • Original Story Reel: “Proud of Your Boy” (SD, 2:18)
  • Behind the Scenes of the Music Video: “Proud of Your Boy” (SD, 3:20)
  • Music Video: “A Whole New World” with Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey (SD, 4:14)
  • Behind the Scenes of The Music Video: “A Whole New World” (SD, 3:46)
  • Music Video: “A Whole New World” with Regina Belle & Peabo Bryson (SD, 4:07)
  • Disney Song Selection with Optional On-Screen Lyrics (HD, 11:28)
  • Inside the Genie’s Lamp: Guided Tour (SD, 6:13)
  • The Genie World Tour (SD, 3:14)
  • A Diamond In The Rough: The Making of Aladdin (SD, 70:52)
  • Alan Menken: Musical Renaissance Man (SD, 19:55)
  • The Art of Aladdin: Art Review with Filmmakers’ Commentary (SD, 8:45)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2:50)
  • The Return of Jafar Trailer (SD, :43)
  • Aladdin and the King of Thieves Trailer (SD, 1:30)

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Summary 

Aladdin has been highly sought after, Disney damn well knows it, and does not disappoint with its US Blu-ray debut (Its been available in other territories since as early as 2014).  The movie looks and sounds friggin’ amazing.  Bonus features, new and old, cover all the ground you’d want it to.  Short of offering the soundtrack with the release, I can’t imagine it getting much better than this.  Its a pretty damn perfect release, and I’ll be shocked if anyone comes away from this Blu-ray with any sort of aggravation or misgiving.  Grab yourself a copy now!

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

2 Responses to “Aladdin – Diamond Edition (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    I actually kind hoped they’d include the spin-off sequels with this.

    I guess I’ll hope for a future where it gets a Back to the Future-like release with the animated series as well.

  2. Brandon Peters

    Those are a double feature Blu-ray Disney Movie Club exclusive until January 12th