Aladdin (1992) 4K Ultra HD | Blu-ray
Director: Ron Clements, John Musker
Writer: Ron Clements, John Musker, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
Cast: Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin, Jonathan Freeman, Frank Welker, Gilbert Gottfried, Douglas Seale
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Rated G | 90 Minutes
Release date: September 10, 2019
Disney adapting their animated classics into live-action films are sometimes predicated on the critical and commercial success of the predecessor, though the studio’s recent wave of live-action adaptations has been met with varying degrees of success. But what matters most is how these films perform at the box office, and as long as they at a hit, the studio will come out with more and more. And, of course, none of these live-action films would be here without their animated origins.
Take, for instance, 1992’s Aladdin, before we can get into reviewing the live-action film from Guy Ritchie (to come soon), we must look back at the animated film by Ron Clements and John Musker. Considered to be one of the best from the Disney film era known as the Disney Renaissance, Aladdin is a beautifully animated musical that continues to hold up well. But with new technologies and televisions bringing us higher definition and better picture quality, it was only a matter of time before Disney started to go back in their vaults to release upgraded versions of their greatest hits.
Based on the Arabic folktale of the same name from One Thousand and One Nights, Aladdin centers on the titular character, an Arabian “street rat” with a heart of gold, who dreams of a better life but has no means of achieving it, given his social status. Princess Jasmine also has dreams of a life where she can speak her mind and no longer be spoken for by men. The star-crossed lovers meet, although they never reveal their true identities to each other. But when Aladdin is arrested and Jasmine is returned to her father, the evil Jafar, disguised as a prisoner, promises that Aladdin can achieve his dreams of being rich, as long as he makes the perilous journey across the desert to the Cave Of Wonders. Aladdin is ordered to find a magic lamp and give it to Jafar. In order to hide the lamp from Jafar, Aladdin befriends the Genie hidden inside of it and uses his wish-granting powers to disguise himself as a wealthy prince, and then tries to impress the Sultan and his daughter.
To this day, the animated original Aladdin continues to hold up well, addressing timeless themes like honesty and friendship, while also being ahead of its time by giving us themes about female-empowerment and how patriarchy can be a detriment to females. Additionally, much of what makes the film so great is that Robin Williams‘ performance as Genie marries so well with the animation itself. The music, the visuals, and the songs themselves are a fantastic reminder of what makes hand-drawn animation so wonderful, and why the technique needs to be shown to future generations who are now familiar with computer-generated animation. Not that anything is wrong with that.
As you might expect, with the high-level 4k quality, the colors are brighter – including the golds being shinier, the shadows darker, and other colors more radiant. There is such a vibrancy with everyone you see that it seems like there is more pop to it. Also, the lines are more visible than before, which makes it easier to look at some of the finer details of the film, like the rocky terrain of the Cave Of Wonders or the structures of Aladdin’s home in Agrabah.
As far as special features go, they are all pretty standard as it draws from previous Blu-ray releases. So in addition to the audio commentary from Producers/Directors John Musker and Ron Clements and co-producer Amy Pell, there’s also a separate audio commentary from supervising animators Andreas Deja, Will Finn, Eric Goldberg, and Glen Keane.
There are also the outtakes and creating Aladdin on Broadway. With the 4K, there are four new bonus features to supplement the old ones. They include the “Sing Along With The Movie,” which is pretty much what it sounds like. Find out what it’s like to be in the voice booth with “Let’s Not Be Too Hasty: The Voices of Aladdin.” And check out some never before seen alternate endings, and see how things could have ended differently for the characters.
BONUS FEATURES ON BLU-RAY & DIGITAL:*
– Sing Along With The Movie
– Aladdin on Aladdin
– “Let’s Not Be Too Hasty”: The Voices of “Aladdin”
– Alternate Endings
– Drawing Genie
CLASSIC BONUS – Revisit over 40 exciting bonus features from previous releases including:
– The Genie Outtakes
– “Aladdin”: Creating Broadway Magic
– Unboxing “Aladdin”