Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Fantasy > Adventure > Aladdin: Diamond Edition (1992/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD)

Aladdin: Diamond Edition (1992/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD)

Picture: B+/B- Sound: B+/C+ Extras: B- Film: B-

Though it is running late to Blu-ray like Dumbo did, Disney finally issued their huge 1992 hit Aladdin (1992) in the format. If you were not as big a fan (or worse) and have heard ''A Whole New World'' a few thousand times too many, then you might not have noticed. However, big fans have and will; be happy to know the wait was worth it for the impressive playback upgrades and a few new extras as the title character (voiced by Scott Weinger) has nothing much gong for him until it turns out only he can get into the locale that holds a certain lamp that could change his life.

This is great when he discovers the beautiful Jasmine (Linda Larkin), but some forces outside of his control are more interested in stopping his happiness and maximizing their greed (like Jafar, voiced by Jonathan Freeman), but his hopes are in luck when the bottle holds a very special genie (the late, great Robin Williams) who is such a wild card that it propels this film above the many tellings of this tale of the decades, et al.

There are several controversies over the film, like 'Is Jasmine too sexual?' or 'Is this politically incorrect?' (Casey Kasem argued that one musical passage was racist, though now, we wonder if this would have been as well received if it had been released post-9/11) or 'Is this too much Robin Williams?' (which has now gone from early talk of some kind of voice Oscar that never happened to simply missing him after losing him under horrid health conditions) but this is as good an animated feature film Disney (or anyone else) could have made of the material and helped rebuild Disney's animation division.

Even Gilbert Gottfried's work holds up here, but this was never my favorite and sacrifices some classic opportunities to be what it needed to be for Disney, modern and hip. Still, it is an ambitious work that holds up and has not dated art-wise like Little Mermaid. Now, a whole new generation can see for themselves, but those who have seen it before are in for a few surprises.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition Blu-ray image transfer in occasional moments shows the age of the film and the limits of some of its animation, but superior remastering from the original 35mm film elements, et al, has brought out, depth, detail and amazing color range that easily makes this presentation far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film almost anywhere anyone has seen it. The mass-production film prints of the time could not always capture this quality (save some special archival prints we suspect Disney had struck and some may have been screened) so this will be a revelation for just about everyone. The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on the DVD is soft and absolutely no match, but passable.

Aladdin has the distinction of being the first-ever all digital sound theatrical feature release, exclusively in the Dolby Digital format, the only digital sound format Disney supported for a while (they were the last exclusive holdout before all the studios started issuing their films in Dolby Digital and/or DTS (Digital Theater Systems) and/or SDDS (Sony Dynamic Digital Sound) when no one company won the digital sound format war). For Blu-ray, Disney has upgraded the sound to an impressive DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix that takes total advantage of the multi-channel possibilities, brings out new depth and detail for the original soundmasters and is actually richer and warmer sounding than in its original theatrical release. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 DVD mix is again no match, but the sound/image combination on Blu-ray has a few reference moments and should be experienced on the best home theater set-up you can get to.

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices, the original DVD extras are repeated here in regular/standard definition including A Diamond in the Rough: The Making Of Aladdin (70:52), Alan Menken: Musical Renaissance Man (19:55), The Art Of Aladdin: Art Review with Filmmakers' Commentary (8:45), 4 deleted songs (Proud Of Your Boy (original demo, 3:58), You Can Count On Me (2:22), Humiliate The Boy (3:54) & Why Me? (3:42)), 2 Deleted/Alternate Scenes (Aladdin & Jasmine's First Meeting (2:51) and Aladdin in the Lap of Luxury (2:52)), 3 Music Videos (Proud Of Your Boy w/Clay Aiken (2:20), A Whole New World w/Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey (4:14) and A Whole New World w/Regina Belle & Peabo Bryson (4:07)), Proud Of Your Boy Original Story Reel (2:18), Behind the Scenes of Proud Of Your Boy (3:20), Behind the Scenes of A Whole New World (3:46), Original Theatrical Trailers, Inside The Genie's Lamp: Guided Tour (6:13), The Genie World Tour (SD, 3:14) and an HD upgrade of Disney Song Selection with Optional On-Screen Lyrics (11:28).

We also get two feature length audio commentary tracks (one with Producer/Directors John Musker and Ron Clements, plus Co-Producer Amy Pell, the other with Supervising Animators Andreas Deja, Will Finn, Eric Goldberg and Glen Keane), and new High Definition featurettes Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic, the much-discussed The Genie Outtakes with Robin Williams recording session outtakes set to storyboards, Unboxing Aladdin, Genie 101 and Ron & Jon: You Ain't Never Had A Friend Like Me where the directors talk about their beginnings.

All of this is on the Blu-ray, while only the Deleted Songs and Deleted Scenes appear on the DVD.

- Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com