Aladdin (2019) 4K Ultra HD | Blu-ray | DVD | Digital
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer: Guy Ritchie, John August
Cast: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Alan Tudyk, Billy Magnussen
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG | Runtime: 128 Minutes
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Walt Disney Studios continues to go through its vault to turn their animated classics into live-action films. Their latest is Aladdin. Based on the 1992 animated film of the same name, this live-action take is directed by Guy Ritchie, who brings his penchant for fun and stylized action sequences and a cast of wonderful characters to his first family-friendly film. The updated film dazzles thanks in part to its cast, consisting of Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and Will Smith, and its new take on some favorite songs.
Now, Disney’s hit film has its own release, along with some of the bonus features that detail the making of this live-action remake.
At first, I didn’t think that Disney could deliver a hit film for Aladdin, based on their track record for live-action adaptations, but not only was I surprised by how much I liked it, I was eager to see it again, and again. Ritchie’s Aladdin does make a few changes from the original to make it more cinematic and theatrical, as well as contemporary by addressing current themes about female empowerment. The larger-scale action sequences do come with the territory for any Disney live-action film, and all of that is amplified with Ritchie making use of his chase scenes and quick-cut action sequences. Plus, he loves a good streetwise character, and Aladdin certainly fits the bill.
And a lot of the actors really lived up to my expectations. Massoud as Aladdin is charming, dashing, and a bit roguish, using his street smarts to get out of any dangerous situation. But when he comes across Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott), he has met his match. She is just as smart, if not smarter than he is, and she doesn’t put up with any sort of nonsense. Not only that, but she isn’t afraid to speak her mind. So when the opportunity comes to ask for her hand, Aladdin takes it. He just has to obtain the lamp for the evil Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), but things go south from there. Can the Genie (Will Smith) help Aladdin out of trouble to win Jasmine’s heart? And will the Genie finally be free from his all-powerful mystical servitude.
Ritchie’s vision for the live-action adaptation does make a few changes to the original, which generally comes with the territory for all Disney live-action adaptations. There isn’t a huge climactic fight with a viper, another suitor is far more persistent than the animated counterpart, and the genie falls for one of Jasmine’s handmaidens. Of course, all of it was added in to make it more of a lengthy feature. So the purists may not be so keen on it, but the additions do make for a more lively and contemporary take. All in all, it is one of the better live-action adaptations of a Disney animated classics series.
As for the bonus features, the obligatory deleted scenes and gag reels are in there. But if there is one deleted feature that you have to watch, it’s the deleted song, “Desert Moon.” In it, composer Alan Menken talks about the song that was cut, the context behind it, and its staging.
Another must-see bonus features is the “Will Smith Talks Taking On Genie.” In it, the actor talks about the fear of taking on a role that has such a historical significance and wondered if there was anything that he could add to it.
Other bonus feature to look forward to is “Speechless: Creating A New Song For Jasmine,” which sees Menken, along with co-lyricists Justin Paul and Beni Pasek break down Princess Jasmine’s song, talk about how she never had her own until now, and how Scott’s talents and ability to sing helped give a more rounded performance.
With this being a musical, there has to be some music videos to go with it, and there are, from Naomi Scott singing “Speechless,” to two versions of “A Whole New World” performed by ZAYN and Zhavia Ward, there is really no shortage of things to look forward to if you are a fan of the live-action Aladdin.
Bonus Features For ‘Aladdin’ Live-Action
Bonus features include*:
DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE BONUS:
“SPEECHLESS”: CREATING A NEW SONG FOR JASMINE – Follow the story of Jasmine’s inspirational song “Speechless,” written by Alan Menken, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul especially for this version of “Aladdin.”
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL BONUS:
ALADDIN’S VIDEO JOURNAL: A NEW FANTASTIC POINT OF VIEW – Watch behind-the-scenes moments captured by Mena Massoud (Aladdin) in this fun, fast-paced look at his personal journey.
DELETED SONG: “DESERT MOON” – Experience a moving duet performed by Jasmine and Aladdin, fully shot and edited, with an introduction by Alan Menken.
GUY RITCHIE: A CINEMATIC GENIE – Discover why director Guy Ritchie was the perfect filmmaker to tackle this exhilarating reimagining of a beloved classic.
A FRIEND LIKE GENIE – Discover how Will Smith brings talent, experience and his own personal magic to the iconic role of Genie.
– Falling Petals Into OJ
– Jafar’s Magic Orrery
– Anders’ Gift
– Wrong Wishes
– Silly Old Fool
– Post Yam Jam Debrief
BLOOPERS – Laugh along with the cast and crew in this lighthearted collection of outtakes from the set.
“Speechless” – Music video performed by Naomi Scott
“A Whole New World” – Music video performed by ZAYN and Zhavia Ward
“A Whole New World” (“Un Mundo Ideal”) – Music video performed by ZAYN and Becky G.
*Bonus features may vary by retailer.
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