Follow us on

Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Aladdin

October 12th, 2015

Aladdin - Buy from Amazon: Blu-ray Combo Pack
Video on Demand


Aladdin first hit theaters in 1992 and was a smash hit with critics and with moviegoers. Because it is so well-known, I don't think I need to concentrate too much on the plot or the quality of the movie. What is more important is the technical presentation and any additionally extras new to this release. Does the Blu-ray shine in that regard?

The Movie

The film begins with a Merchant arriving in Agrabah. He immediately tries to sell the audience items, one of which is a lamp, a lamp that he claims changed a young man's life. Before we meet that young man, we meet Jafar, an evil man, and his parrot, Iago, who is merely annoying. To be fair, he's annoying in the right kind of way for a kids show. Jafar is trying to retrieve a very special lamp from the Cave of Wonders. The first person he sends in doesn't make it and Jafar learns that only someone very special, a diamond in the rough, can enter.

That young man is Aladdin, a petty thief with a pet monkey named Abu. We meet the pair trying to get away after stealing a loaf a bread, a loaf of bread that he gives away to some kids that are even poorer than he is. Agrabah is ruled by the Sultan, who has a problem. Well, two problems. One, his most trusted adviser is Jafar. Two, his daughter, Jasmine needs to be married to a prince by her next birthday, which is three days away, but she wants to marry for love. She decides to runaway one night, but once she is outside the palace walls for the first time, she gets in a little over her head. However, Aladdin sees her and it is love at first sight, so he helps her out. He certainly knows the territory better, but she's also a quick learner. Unfortunately, by this time, Jafar has learned who the special one is. It's Aladdin!

Jafar has Aladdin arrested and says he was executed. In reality, he disguises himself as a fellow prisoner and helps Aladdin escape, in exchange for Aladdin getting the lamp for him. The plan works, sort of. Jafar tries to betray Aladdin throwing him back into the Cave of Wonders as it collapses, but Abu is able to steal back the lamp, so Jafar gets nothing out of the deal. While Aladdin is trying to figure out why the lamp was so important, he sees some writing and rubs the lamp to see the words more clearly, thus releases the Genie.

At this point, we hit unacceptable spoilers.

Aladdin is more than 20 years old. Has it aged well in that time? Yes. Nearly every aspect of the film works just as well now as it did then. The characters are well-written and the voice performances are spot on. The action is appropriately intense and the animation really shines. Most of the songs are good, although to be fair, I'm not a fan of musicals, so the songs in Disney animated films are my least favorite part. Even so, I will admit that "A Whole New World" is one of the best Disney songs of all time.

The only thing that hasn't aged well are the ethnic aspects. The bad guys tend to be more ethnic than our two heroes, who are a lot more Americanized.

The Extras

A lot of the extras are from the old DVD, including two audio commentary tracks, a nearly two-hour making of featurette, 20 minutes of deleted scenes / songs, and a few music videos. As for the new stuff, it starts with nine-minutes of outtakes from Robin Williams' recording sessions. "Aladdin": Creating Broadway Magic is a 19-minute look at the journey Aladdin took from the screen to the stage. There is a five-minute featurette on some of the Easter Eggs in the movie. Genie 101 is a four-minute featurette that helps out kids by explaining some of the pop culture references they might not get. It just made me feel old. Finally, there's a six-minute featurette with the co-writers / co-directors, John Musker and Ron Clements reminiscing about their time together.

The technical presentation is exquisite. The remastering into high definition is simply fantastic with no flaws that I could detect. The colors are excellent, while the blacks are deep without ever swallowing details. The audio is even better. It has been upgraded to a 7.1 surround sound track and it is reference quality. Obviously the dialogue is always clear, but more importantly, there is a lot of dynamic effects throughout the film. This is especially true for a number of the musical numbers.

The Blu-ray combo pack costs $20, which is a little lower than many similar releases.

The Verdict

Aladdin remains a classic and the Blu-ray Combo Pack looks and sounds amazing. Add in the new extras and this release is easily worth the upgrade.

Filed under: Video Review, Robin Williams, Ron Clements, Linda Larkin, John Musker, Scott Weinger, Frank Welker, Jonathan Freeman, Gilbert Gottfried, Douglas Seale