Disney’s Aladdin returns from the Disney Vault on September 10th as part of the Walt Disney Signature Collection, the same day the recent live action adaptation makes its home video debut. If you missed the Diamond Edition release, the good news is that a lot of the bonus features from the previous releases are included here. If you already own it, there’s a few new bonus features that may or may not be enticing enough to warrant another purchase. But whether you’re picking this release up or not, it’s definitely a perfect time to revisit the animated classic.

When orphaned street-rat Aladdin meets Jasmine, a princess in disguise, the two discover that they have more in common than they think. But when the evil Jafar imprisons Aladdin, it turns out he is the “diamond in the rough,” the only living soul capable of entering the Cave of Wonders where a long lost lamp has been kept for ten thousand years. When Jafar’s plans fail and Aladdin gets the lamp instead, his powerful Genie grants him three wishes, leading Aladdin on a magical adventure and exposing him to a “Whole New World” of excitement.

The initial success of Aladdin lead to several sequels, a long-running animated series, theme park attractions, stage shows, and most recently a live action adaptation starring Will Smith. Despite the overabundance of opportunities to experience Aladdin in a variety of formats, the animated classic is still the best adaptation to date and the main reason is Robin Williams as Genie. Some of the pop culture references may date the film, but the shapeshifting transformations as Williams does celebrity impersonations make this version so special and iconic.

Relive the adventure and magic with the Walt Disney Signature Collection release of Aladdin. This review covers the Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital combo pack, but fans can also upgrade their experience to 4K, which adds the extra lines of resolution and comes with a Blu-Ray and digital copy code.

Bonus Features

New Bonus Features (On Disc)

  • Aladdin on Aladdin (30:27) – Scott Weinger (Aladdin) reminisces about his experience with Aladdin pre and post release, interviewing other actors including Jonathan Freeman (Jafar), Gilbert Godfried (Iago), and Linda Larken (Jasmine), and behind the scenes individuals like Ron Clements (Director) and Alan Menken (Composer).
  • Let’s Not Be Too Hasty: The Voices of Aladdin (2:58) – A quick reel of behind-the-scenes recording sessions.
  • Alternate Endings (2:05) – The peddler from the prologue was meant to be Genie in disguise and these two alternate endings include a reprise of “Arabian Knights” that would’ve been sung by the character as he morphs back into Genie.
  • Sing-Along Viewing Mode (1:30:41) – Watch the entire film with stylized on-screen lyrics during songs.
  • Classic Bonus Preview (0:59) – An ad for the bonus features included with the digital copy that aren’t available on this disc.

New Bonus Features (Digital Exclusive)

  • Drawing Genie (2:12) – Animator Eric Goldberg sketches Genie while talking about his approach to animation and how he became an animator.
  • Genie-Us Trivia (iTunes Exclusive) – A gallery of 15 questions and answers.
  • Galleries (iTunes Exclusive)
    • Visual Development (26 images)
    • Story Development (16 images)
    • Backgrounds & Color Keys (15 images)
    • Character Development
      • Abu (7 images)
      • Aladdin (9 images)
      • Carpet (5 images)
      • Genie (16 images)
      • Guards & Thieves (5 images)
      • Iago (4 images)
      • Jafar (16 images)
      • Jasmine (19 images)
      • Narrator (11 images)
      • Parents (9 images)
      • Rajah (8 images)
      • Sultan (7 images)
    • Publicity
      • Theatrical Posters (3 images)
      • Unused Concepts (10 images)
      • Theme Parks (18 images)

Classic Bonus Features (On Disc)

  • The Genie Outtakes (8:53) – Ron Clements, John Musker and Eric Goldberg introduce this feature and explain that they’ve taken some of their favorite Robin Williams outtakes from his recording sessions set to limited animation. The trio fondly remembers Williams and share their feelings on his passing.
  • Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic (18:53) – Darren Criss hosts this look into the Broadway version of Aladdin. It covers the history of Howard Ashman’s version of the film and how that creative direction went on to inspire the show that is now dominating the Great White Way’s box office. It’s surprisingly honest about the troubles and challenges in bringing Aladdin to life on stage.
  • Genie 101 (3:59) – Scott Weinger, the voice of Aladdin, highlights the personas behind many of Robin Williams’ impressions in the film. This bonus feature is dedicated to the genius of Robin Williams.
  • Ron and John: You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me (5:36) – Directors Ron Clements and John Musker share their friendship that has spanned nearly four decades.
  • Disney Song Selection (13:20) – Six songs from the film are presented in HD separate from the film with optional on-screen lyrics. The songs are “Arabian Nights,” “One Jump Ahead,” “Friend Like Me,” “Prince Ali, “A Whole New World,” and “Prince Ali Reprise”
  • Audio Commentaries
    • Filmmaker’s Audio Commentary – Directors John Musker and Ron Clements share this commentary with co-producer Amy Pell.
    • Animator’s Audio Commentary – Andreas Deja, Will Finn, Eric Goldberg and Glen Keane share their experiences on Aladdin.

Classic bonus Features (Digital only)

  • Inside the Genie’s Lamp: Guided Tour (6:13) – Iago takes a tour inside Genie’s lamp in this animated short created to introduce a game from the previous DVD release.
  • The Genie World Tour (3:14) – Another animated short where Iago and Jafar look through the postcards Genie sends on his world tour. It features lots of fun Disney references.
  • Alan Menken: Musical Renaissance Man (19:55) – This sweet featurette looks at the life of Alan Menken, exploring how his love of music started and how he reinvented animation with his melodies. It’s not specific to Aladdin, but is wonderful nonetheless.
  • The Art of Aladdin: Art review with Filmmaker’s Commentary (8:45) – John Musker and Ron Clements lead this exploration into the concept art that lead to the final look of the film, paying credit to the talented artists that worked so hard to create Agrabah.
  • Unboxing Aladdin (4:40) – Joey Bragg from Disney Channel’s Liv & Maddie reveals some hidden items from the film in YouTube video style.
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (2:50)
  • Deleted Scenes (5:43) – Ron Clements and John Musker introduce these storyboarded scenes that were cut from the film. These are also available individually or as “Play All.”
    • Aladdin & Jasmine’s First Meeting (2:51)
    • Aladdin in the Lap of Luxury (2:52)
  • Music Videos
    • “Proud of Your Boy” Performed by Clay Aiken
      • Music Video (2:20) – The American Idol runner-up performs the song alone in a recording studio while the film plays in the background.
      • Behind the Scenes of the Music Video (3:20) – Chris Montan leads this feature about how Disney used the Platinum Edition release to pay tribute to one of Howard Ashman’s lost songs.
    • “A Whole New World” Performed by Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey
      • Music Video (4:14) – The Newlyweds perform the song close together in a recording studio juxtaposed to scenes from the film.
      • Behind the Scenes of the Music Video (3:46) – In case you don’t understand how a music video works, Disney presents this mini version of an episode of MTV’s Making the Video with bizarre pop music in the background.
    • “A Whole New World” Performed by Regina Belle & Peabo Bryson (4:07) – The duet partners perform the song from a set with sand dunes and a replica of Jasmine’s courtyard fountain set to clips from the film.
  • Diamond in the Rough (1:10:52) – This feature-length documentary covers the history of Aladdin, going back to Arabian Nights and through all stages of production. It’s wonderfully in-depth and is one of the most complete making-of documentaries ever produced for a Disney animated film.
  • The Art of Aladdin: Art review with Filmmaker’s Commentary (8:45) – John Musker and Ron Clements lead this exploration into the concept art that lead to the final look of the film, paying credit to the talented artists that worked so hard to create Agrabah.

What’s Missing? The following bonus features were included in previous releases and are omitted this time around.

  • “Proud of Your Boy” Original Story Reel (2:18) – Clay Aiken’s version of the song accompanies the original storyboard pitch.
  • Deleted Songs (13:57) – Four deleted songs from the film are presented in storyboard format and with an explanation of why they were cut.
    • Proud of Your Boy (Original Demo Recording)
    • You Can Count on Me
    • Humiliate the Boy
    • Why Me
  • Deleted Song – “My Finest Hour” (4:02) – John Musker, Ron Clements and Eric Goldberg introduce this deleted song with storyboards. It features all of the original voices, including Robin Williams, with a temporary score track. This was a song Jafar would have sung after stealing the lamp and becoming sultan.
  • The Return of Jafar Trailer (00:43)
  • Aladdin and the King of Thieves Trailer (1:30)

Video

Aladdin’s Walt Disney Signature Collection Blu-Ray release appears to be a different transfer from the previous Diamond Edition in that the Diamond Edition offered the original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1, whereas the Walt Disney Signature Collection gives the full animated ratio of 1.66:1, which means you will have pillarboxes on the sides of a widescreen TV. The colors, on the other hand, seem exactly the same and has the same excellent amount of clarity.

Audio

All of the Diamond Edition’s audio options are replicated in this release. The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track allows music and sound effects to make float through the rear speakers, as do off-screen voices. Jafar and the Cave of Wonders give your subwoofer a workout in this enveloping mix. Other language options include French and Spanish 5.1. New to this release is a 2.0 English Descriptive Audio option.

Packaging & Design

Aladdin returns to Blu-Ray in a standard-sized case with disc holders on both sides of the interior. The slipcover features embossed letters and a foil effect. Inserts include a digital copy code through Movies Anywhere and a flier for Disney Movie Club.

The disc opens with an anti-smoking PSA starring Cruella DeVil. There aren’t any trailers or ads. The menu features a CG lamp that emits blue and purple smoke that clears to reveal scenes from the film while an instrumental version of “Friend Like Me” plays.

Final Thoughts

There’s no doubt that Aladdin is a wonderful film and worthy of its classic status. This Walt Disney Signature Collection release adds a few voice actor-centric bonus features that are entertaining, but don’t add much to the behind-the-scenes story that isn’t already available through previously available bonuses. The absence of deleted songs is puzzling and a bad choice as the music from this film is so special and it’s always nice to explore the abandoned concepts. The aspect ratio change is also a questionable choice. For those reasons alone, the Diamond Edition is the superior release. If you have it, keep it.

 

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.

 

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