Disney’s Aladdin is the latest Disney Animation film from the studio’s heyday during the 1990’s to make its way onto Blu-ray for a limited time. Befitting a film of historical significance, Aladdin has been made available under the Diamond Edition label that all but guarantees the best possible audio, video and bonus features you can imagine.
It’s by no mistake that I chose Robin Williams’ Genie character for the featured image above. The energy that Williams brought to the role serves to remind us of the comedic genius this man was gifted with. The Genie steals every scene he’s in to this day making it almost fitting that Aladdin makes its Blu-ray high definition debut not too far removed from Williams’ tragic death.
Aladdin doesn’t get the fanfare that The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast or other hits released about the same time have. I find it equally entertaining, in part due to Williams and the Middle Eastern setting not often seen in animated films. You will see Jasmine in costume at Disney Parks so its cultural impact remains to this day.
Aladdin was the first Disney Animation film to employ the use of complimentary CGI for characters and set pieces. In 1080p high definition the entire film whether CGI, hand drawn or a mix of the two looks absolutely fantastic, devoid of the compression artifacts that plagued the DVD version. Likewise the new 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio offers aural immersion beyond any previous presentation of the film. Aladdin was nominated for Best Sound and Sound Effects Editing at the 1993 Academy Awards and you’ll know why after watching the new Blu-ray edition on a proper home theater setup, especially when the Genie makes his grand entrance.
As a Diamond Edition selection, Aladdin gets more than a pristine audio and visual presentation. The packaging fits in with the other Diamond Edition titles, sparkly slip cover and all. Bonus features also get upgraded with the complete suite of previous DVD extras complimented by some brand new stuff including nine minutes not to be missed.
‘Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic’ (18 minutes) goes behind-the-scenes of the musical in a pseudo advertisement for it. ‘Genie 101’ dips into the pop culture references, while ‘Genie 101’ digs a little deeper to uncover Disney secrets hidden in the film.
The new bonus features highlight bar none is ‘Genie Outtakes,’ nine minutes of Robin Williams recording various lines for the film that weren’t used. One of the alternate takes definitely strays from the G-rating that Aladdin was given so I applaud Disney’s willingness to present this amazing footage in consideration of Williams’ recent passing.
There’s absolutely nothing fundamentally wrong with the Aladdin: Diamond Edition Blu-ray that also includes the film on DVD and Digital HD. If anything the inclusive DVD is a reminder of how much better this Disney Animation classic looks and sounds in its new remastered high definition form. The added nods to Robin Williams that compliment his amazing vocal performance are icing on the cake.
Aladdin: Diamond Edition was released on October 13th, 2015 and can be purchased at Amazon.com until Disney puts it back in their Vault.
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