Disney’s live action retelling of Aladdin received its fair share of criticism, but ended up charming and delighting more than it disappointed. Worldwide audiences were fond of it, allowing the film to surpass the $1 billion mark, making it one of Disney’s 5 films to do so already in 2019. Wishes are granted with the Digital HD release that can go anywhere your mobile devices can carry it.
Aladdin is a struggling street rat who dreams of a charmed life, while Jasmine is a princess whose sole purpose in life is to give Agrabah its next Sultan through marriage. Their paths cross when they meet in the market, but they are soon torn apart by the villainous Jafar who will stop at nothing to become the next sultan. When Aladdin finds a magic lamp and unleashes the Genie within, he finds himself on a wild adventure to save Agrabah from Jafar’s manipulation in hopes that he can be reunited with the love of his life.
It’s the story you know well from the 1992 animated classic, but with a few 2019 updates. Most notably, Jasmine’s character is expanded and empowered with more action and a song of her own (“Speechless”) written by Alan Menken. Jafar is darker and more sinister and side characters who were more silly in the original, such as the Sultan, are played as more realistic.
Mena Massoud (Aladdin) and Naomi Scott (Jasmine) very much steal the show this time around. Will Smith’s Genie is likeable, primarily when he is passing as a human and trying to woo Jasmine’s handmaid, played by Nassim Padrad. But when he’s in the blue CG suit and given line-for-line dialogue that Robin Williams made iconic twenty-seven years ago, the performance pales in comparison to Williams’ impossible-to-fill shoes.
While it may have a few shortcomings, 2019’s Aladdin still manages to make a wish come true with a dazzling live action adaptation that recreates much of the magic of the original. The story and unforgettable songs come alive in a whole new way and now you can take the film wherever you go with this digital release, whether traveling by car, train, plane, or magic carpet.
Note: Bonus features may vary by retailer. These are the ones included with the iTunes release.
- We Can Show You the World: The Extended Video Journal (6:02) – Go behind the scenes with clips of the actors’ screen tests, filming of the musical numbers, and on-set vlogs from Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and Will Smith.
- “Speechless” – Creating a New Song for Jasmine (3:53) – Alan Menken, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul discuss the new song written for the film, the inspiration behind it, and Naomi Scott shares what it means to her.
- Aladdin’s Video Journal: A New Fantastic Point of View (10:40) – Mena Massoud’s video diaries from the production includes the filming of “Prince Ali,” “A Whole New World,” and “Friend Like Me.”
- Deleted Song – “Desert Moon” (2:20) – Alan Menken introduces a new song written for this version of the film that was cut, which then becomes the full deleted sequence.
- Guy Ritchie: A Cinematic Genie (5:29) – A spotlight is shone on the Director, who talks about why it was important for him to make Aladdin and justifies some of his creative choices, such as changing the frame rate on “One Jump Ahead.”
- A Friend Like Genie (4:32) – Will Smith talks about Robin Williams’ performance and the fear of stepping into such an iconic role, along with the way he approached the character.
- Bloopers (2:07) – The cast goof off and make mistakes on set in this quick real of outtakes.
- Deleted Scenes
- Falling Petals in OJ (1:11) – Jasmine is enchanted by falling petals in the marketplace.
- Jafar’s Magic Orrery (0:49) – Jafar has a magic device that shows him how to find the diamond in the rough.
- Anders’ Gift (3:18) – Prince Anders also had gifts to bestow on Jasmin when he came calling.
- Wrong Wishes (0:54) – Genie shares with Aladdin some of the wishes that went wrong from past lamp holders.
- Silly Old Fool (2:39) – Jafar outs Jasmine to her father for visiting the marketplace and then manipulates the Sultan into suggesting he marry Jasmine.
- Post Yam Jam Debrief (1:53) – Genie coaches Aladdin after his failure at charming Jasmine as Prince Ali.
- Music Videos
- “Speechless” by Naomi Scott (3:27) – The actress performs the song from a recording session set to clips from the film.
- “A Whole New World” by ZAYN and Zhavia Ward (4:03) – The classic duet is sung in English throughout New York City and Central Park in some Middle Eastern inspired locales.
- “A Whole New World” (“Un Mundo Ideal”) by ZAYN and Becky G. (4:03) – The same duet is performed in English/Spanish reusing Zayn’s scenes from the previous music video and replacing Zhavia Ward with Becky G. in Spanish.
- Diamonds in the Rough: Run Facts & More – A still gallery with 33 interesting facts about the film.
- Environmental Concept Art – A gallery of 28 conceptual art images.
- Behind the Scenes – 32 photos from the set.
- Premiere & Event Gallery – 41 images from the various premieres and purple carpet events to promote the film.
Aladdin recreates the spirit and magic of the original film in a whole new way. The bonus features reveal an unheard Alan Menken song, deleted scenes, and enough behind-the-scenes footage to give you an idea of how the film was made despite lacking a true “Making-of” feature. While it doesn’t surpass the original animated classic, it does a worthy job of paying homage while freshening it up for a modern audience.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.