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Aladdin – The Signature Collection (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Disney’s Aladdin took the longest time to arrive on Blu-ray (in the United States). But come the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format, it’s making the jump as one of the earliest jumps of all the Disney animated epics from the 1990s. That’s thanks mostly to having its live-action remake debuting this past summer and making a boatload of money at the box office that even the Genie couldn’t have granted a wish for. And it will also be debuting on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray alongside its real people counterpart on September 10th. This new release will contain an Atmos track to go with a nice wave of new bonus features. Some old features are included, but for the rest, you’ll only be able to access and watch them if you redeem your Movies Anywhere digital copy code that comes inside the case. So, if you’re needing a hard copy of those past featurettes, you’ll have to hang onto your Diamond Edition Blu-ray. Pretty lame, I agree, but I guess I’ll take the compromise.

Film 

When street rat Aladdin frees a genie from a lamp, he finds his wishes granted. However, he soon finds that the evil has other plans for the lamp — and for Princess Jasmine. But can Aladdin save Princess Jasmine and his love for her after she sees that he isn’t quite what he appears to be?

1992’s Aladdin is one of the pinnacle films from Disney’s resurgence in the early 90s.  It’s 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.  It’s 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 swashbuckling, 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, it’s 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.  It’s 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 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, it’s here on a format you’re not going to have to worry very much about wearing it out.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Aladdin debuts on the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format from Disney with an overall terrific quality picture. It was released on film, but this has a very clean look to it with no real signs of grain and the like. The image is noticeably darker than the Blu-ray, but it’s more refined with better color saturation and black levels. It’s a sharp image, crisp with good details looking in on the hand-drawn animation strokes and such.

Depth:  Aladdin features some early work with CG additions to the animation so it contains a little more 3-dimensional look with some great spacing. Movements are smooth, cinematic and feature no distortions.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep, natural and have a good sense of shade as well as various tints of black. Nighttime sequences look quite lovely and the color used in the animation is thick and bold. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are strong and quite bold. Reds, blues, greens and more are all quite striking and strong. There are some nice glowing effects from the HDR when it comes to the Genie, lava and the cave’s eyes.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible), English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Chinese 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Chinese

Dynamics: Aladdin’s Atmos upgrade is very much based off of the 7.1 mix from the previous edition. It’s spacious and makes good use of the room. Unfortunately, the volume is set very low and it’ll need to be turned up a bit to bring the film to maximum effect. Even then it could still use a little more oompf.

Height: The above channel is utilized, but not quite as much as it could have been. Musical accompaniment, debris falling from above and magic carpets soaring over are a few of the things that are displayed, but there are quite a bit of missed opportunities throughout.

Low Frequency Extension: Songs get a nice bump. Fireworks, Genie magic, roaring lava, the cave opening, shaking caverns and tiger roaring all get a deep rumble from the sub.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is a fun mix that does play around the room and really has a natural roll to the sound. Every channel does get its own unique contributions to fill a room as well.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp. Dialogue to singing transition is quite flawless and shows no real change in pitch or volume.

Extras 

Aladdin – The Signature Collection comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a digital copy of the film. Bonus features are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Audio Commentary

  • By Producers/Directors John Musker and Ron Clements & Co-Producer Amy Pell
  • By Supervising Animators Andreas Deja, Will Finn, Eric Goldberg, and Glen Keane

Aladdin on Aladdin (HD. 30:27) – The speaking voice of Aladdin, Scott Weinger reflects on his personal journey portraying the diamond in the rough and meeting with the original cast and filmmakers, and one jump into the recording booth during the original recording sessions.

Let’s Not Be Too Hasty: The Voices of Aladdin (HD, 2:58) – A montage of vintage footage of the actors recording dialogue for the film.

Alternate Endings (HD, 2:05) – 2 endings that reveal the peddler’s identity. Shown in storyboards and concept art.

Classic Bonus Preview (HD, 0:59) – If you want the old bonus features you gotta use that code and log onto Movies Anywhere 😉

The Genie Outtakes (HD, 8:53) – Plenty of Robin Williams here.

Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic (HD, 18:52) – A featurette on the history and challenges of creating the Aladdin Broadway show.

Genie 101 (HD, 4:00) – Scott Weinger goes over all the Genie’s impressions in the movie and points them out.

Ron & John: You Ain’t Never Had A Friend Like Me (HD, 5:36) – The film’s director’s sit on a bench at Disney and reminisce about making Aladdin.

Song Selection (HD, 13:20) – Clip versions of the song sections of the film. Complete with sing-along words on the screen.

Summary 

Aladdin is still one of Disney’s most fun and finest achievements that really does carry the “timeless” banner (Something, I’m not sure this new one will do…only time will tell though). This 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release does see some enhancements from the already terrific standard Blu-ray edition, but it is the best version you can grab. If you don’t have Aladdin or if you are a big-time collector of Disney animation at the like, you’ll want to grab on to this one.

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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).

1 Response to “Aladdin – The Signature Collection (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Ian Currie

    You labeled the Audio section “Video” in case you feel like correcting it.

    Thanks for the review, btw.