Disney fans, you’re wish is granted! It seems as if we’ve waited 10,000 years for Aladdin to be released on Blu-ray and HD and the big day is finally here. But is this the diamond in the rough we’ve waited for? I’ll just cut to the chase: yes, it’s a rare, spectacular gem.
The Film ✮✮✮✮✮
Aladdin tells the story of a young, orphan boy who discovers a magic lamp, which contains a Genie with the powers to grant him three wishes. He uses one of his wishes to turn him into a prince, so he can woo the city’s princess, Jasmine. However, the sultan’s royal vizier wants the lamp and its powers for himself and starts to catch on to Aladdin’s rouse. Can Aladdin keep it up?
I need to be upfront and honest in this review: Aladdin is my favorite Disney animated movie of all time. So my review might be a bit biased, but I’m okay with that because, to me, Aladdin has everything one could want in a film: beautiful design, superb animation, fantastic music, and a touching story. The filmmakers, form the directors and animators to the songwriters, did a wonderful job making all of the various elements blend together seamlessly.
The HD version of Aladdin is clean, crisp, and vibrant. By this time in Disney history inking and painting cells was done digitally through the CAPS software, so extra work isn’t needed to make this HD version. That being said, this HD version of Aladdin is stunning and truly reflects how the filmmakers intended their film to be seen.
Bonus Features ✮✮✮✮1/2
The Genie Outtakes is a rare treat to truly get some never-before-seen (or in this case, heard) content from the film’s recording sessions. To pay tribute to Robin Williams, Eric Goldberg, supervising animator of the Genie, listened to all of the 16 hours of unused audio that Robin recorded again, plucked out some of the best lines, and storyboarded new scenes for those takes. Many of these outtakes are celebrity impressions, which may have been too overboard for the film; however, it’s a delight to hear and see Genie back again with the help of master animator Eric. (To read more about Eric’s experience creating this bonus feature, read our interview with him here.)
As is usual with most Disney Blu-ray releases, Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic is a great opportunity for the studio to cross promote with other current projects; in this case, it’s the Broadway musical version of the film. Hosted by Darren Criss, this bonus feature is a mini documentary that takes us through the long 20-year journey to get Aladdin from screen to Broadway. This engaging featurette includes an interesting variety of interviews, clips, and behind-the-scenes footage from the play, which features Alan Menken, Jonathan Freeman, and others who were instrumental in the Broadway adaptation. It gives you a glimpse of the journey, blood, sweat, and tears that were required to bring this film to life on stage.
Unboxing Aladdinis an annoying a comedic take on the popular YouTube unboxing videos, starring Disney Channel teeny bopper Joey Bragg. Joey pulls various Aladdin-related items out of a box and shares with the viewer a miscellaneous fun fact about the film. Overall, the video and Joey himself are over the top and a bit grating. Most hardcore fans will already know the majority of the trivia facts, but for the uninitiated this featurette may provide some interesting facts.
An adorably cute, grey haired Scott Weinger, voice of Aladdin, walks through all of the Genie’s celebrity impressions in Genie 101. Even in the early 90s when Aladdin was released, some of Robin’s impressions may have gone over the heads of many audience members (this is even more the case today). To help, this fun bonus feature educates viewers on each and every impression.
The film’s co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker take us on a walk down memory lane in Ron & John: You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me. These two men are great friends and have worked together on various projects over the years, so hearing them commemorate all the good times is a joy. They don’t talk about their time on Aladdin specifically, but instead just focus on their friendship, quirks, and the good times they’ve had together.
Classic Bonus Features although these are far from new (the last home media release of Aladdin was in 2004 for the Platinum Edition), this plethora of bonus features is worth your time. You get great nuggets such as:
Filmmakers’ Audio Commentary
Animators’ Audio Commentary
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
There you have it, nearly every possible bonus feature a fan could want (and not want, in the case of “Unboxing Aladdin”). With this collection of bonus features, it’s really hard to image what else the studio could provide for the next home media release. That being said, this list is enough to keep you occupied and satisfied for the next decade to come.
Aladdin is a modern-day Disney classic that deserved the star treatment when it comes to a Blu-ray release. The Diamond Edition does just that. Disney not only released a spectacular HD version of the film, but also pulled out all the stops for the bonus features. The Aladdin Diamond Edition Blu-ray has set the gold standard for all future releases. It’s near perfect and a must buy.
Morgan is an Arizona native who's had a lifelong passion for animation. Her favorite animated films are Aladdin, Beauty & the Beast, and The Iron Giant. She earned an MBA in Marketing from Arizona State University and now runs her own business where she coaches and trains entrepreneurs how to launch, grow & scale successful online businesses.