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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: Aladdin - 2 Disc SE - UTTERLY RECOMMENDED!!!



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#1 of 152 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted September 22 2004 - 03:53 PM


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#2 of 152 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted September 22 2004 - 04:03 PM

Can't wait David. I'll be there on October 5th! Now its just a matter of seeing who's got the best deal! Posted Image

Thanks for a great review. I am especially looking forward to the extra features on Alan Menken & Howard Ashman and the deleted songs.

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


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#3 of 152 OFFLINE   Dan Rudolph

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Posted September 22 2004 - 05:21 PM

So an actual good documentary for once?
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#4 of 152 OFFLINE   Keith Paynter

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Posted September 22 2004 - 07:27 PM

David, what were your impressions of the revised animation? This was supposed to be released to IMAX theaters with re-drawn animation to account for the large screen projection, but was scrapped after previous IMAX Disney presentations (ie. The Lion King) failed economically. I still have my CAV LD and made a personal DVD with the original opening lyrics edited back in thanks to a copy of the original soundtrack CD.
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#5 of 152 OFFLINE   MarkRowley

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Posted September 22 2004 - 09:15 PM

I am very happy that you did not see any of the disastrous digital compression that is present in Beauty and the Beast. I've had mine pre-ordered for months. Mark

#6 of 152 OFFLINE   Harold Wazzu

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Posted September 23 2004 - 12:35 AM

A must have for my kiddos, thanks.

#7 of 152 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted September 23 2004 - 12:42 AM

Wow -- that was one hell of a review, David. Take a bow.

#8 of 152 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted September 23 2004 - 12:58 AM

"A must have for my kiddos, thanks." A must-have for young and old.

#9 of 152 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted September 23 2004 - 01:23 AM


Keith,

The only "change" I noticed were the twinkling starts in the night sky...and that was something that said to me "IMAX enhancement" as it seemed too subtle a detail for the original animation team to have bothered with. For me personally, it was a lovely touch and really did "enhance" the movie and the mood.

I'm curious as you are as to the so-called "changes" and I hope that others with better perception let us know. I've also got my CAV laserdisc which was how I compared to confirm that the twinkling stars were a new change...but I could confirm nothing else (a few other things I thought might have been changes turned out not to be when I A/B'ed with the laser).

You're quite the dedicated Aladdin fan...with your custom-burned DVD. Now you'll have to reburn it with the improved video and 5.1 from the new mix on this DVD edition...and edit it just that one track to overlay the opening song...

-dave Posted Image
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#10 of 152 OFFLINE   Erik_H

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Posted September 23 2004 - 01:58 AM

I picked up a copy of "Aladdin" on Monday at one of those NYC stores that overlooks street dates ("Fahrenheit 911" was also on the shelves). I agree that the picture and audio quality are stellar. The supplements are fine (interesting to learn about the film's troubled production history) but are lacking in one glaring respect: relatively little mention of Robin Williams, whose vocal work was instrumental to the film's success. No recent interview with Williams---just footage of him in the recording studio when the film was in production. I recall that when "Aladdin" was released, Williams expressed some dissatisfaction over Disney's lack of appreciation over his contribution to the film; I wonder if that public dispute has anything to do with his surprisingly small presence in the supplements.

#11 of 152 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted September 23 2004 - 02:54 AM

"The supplements are fine but are lacking in one glaring respect: relatively little mention of Robin Williams, whose vocal work was instrumental to the film's success. I recall that when "Aladdin" was released, Williams expressed some dissatisfaction over Disney's lack of appreciation over his contribution to the film; I wonder if that public dispute has anything to do with his surprisingly small presence in the supplements." Here's the skinny -- Back in the day, Disney voice actors in feature animation worked for scale. It was considered an honor to contribute to them, since you were working on a film that would be around for decades upon decades (at least, this was true when Aladdin was made. I have doubts people will be pining away for Brother Bear in 30 years.) When Robin Williams was approached to do the voice work for the Genie, he readily agreed -- on one condition: that his name and voice not be used in the marketing of the film. He would work for scale, but not if Disney was going to use him as a marketing hook and make zillions off his contribution. Make sense? Now the spat between Disney and Williams occurred because the Mouse House broke this promise and used Williams' voice-work in commercials and trailers. Williams was mighty upset, and it took apologies and some extremely lavish gifts from Jeffrey Katzenberg to soothe his feathers. This is why Williams did not return to do the voice of the Genie in the DTV cheapquel, Return of Jafar. For the second DTV film, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, a new agreement was brokered between Robin Williams and Disney, giving Disney the right to market Thieves using his name and vocal work, and in return, Williams was paid handsomely for his efforts. This is why the DVD is "Robin Williams-lite" in the bonus features -- bonus features can be termed promotional items and a selling point, and if Disney made extensive use of Williams' contribution, they risk breaking the agreement and offending him again. I suspect Disney has since altered their contracts for voice work somewhat, but have no further information along those lines.

#12 of 152 OFFLINE   Andrew Chong

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Posted September 23 2004 - 03:54 AM

Wow!, a review three nights in the making. Thank you, David. Although I have the soundtrack and used to listen to it often, I haven't seen this movie yet. I look forward to picking up the special gift set.
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#13 of 152 OFFLINE   GlennH

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Posted September 23 2004 - 03:55 AM

He was replaced in that effort by Don Castellaneta, who is perfect as Homer Simpson, but was a poor imitation of Robin Williams' genie, IMO.

#14 of 152 OFFLINE   Lopez

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Posted September 23 2004 - 04:14 AM

Readers should note that visible color banding is often an issue with your hardware (or software), and not necessarily a problem with the disc. Remember all the consternation about visible color banding in Finding Nemo? Great review - and I'm very happy to hear this disc isn't a failure like Beauty and the Beast.

#15 of 152 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted September 23 2004 - 04:26 AM

Lopez, I updated that portion of my review slightly to reflect your excellent point. Regarding the Nemo disc, over at AVS there was lots of discussion about the "banding" and while there is still some difference of opinion, most folks did agree that the banding artifacts were disc-encoding related and the degree to which they were visible was a function of playback hardware (with some systems...such as CRT...tending to soften the color-edge transitions and thus make the compression artifact less obvious).
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#16 of 152 OFFLINE   Amy Mormino

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Posted September 23 2004 - 04:35 AM

I'm glad to see that Disney seems to be learning from their mistakes when it comes to their big newer animated movies. The picture problems of Beauty and the Beast seem not to be present here (though there were three versions of the movie on the Beauty disc). And the documentary is, by the accounts I've read, much better for Aladdin than the badly organized and surface level one made for The Lion King. Kudos!

#17 of 152 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted September 23 2004 - 04:38 AM

Very excited for this film...one of my favorite Disney films, and one of the most entertaining films I've ever seen. I have a question for ER. I knew the issues with Williams. I was unaware that the Disney agreement involved working for scale. Did the tremendous success of Aladdin change that policy? The voice casts seemed to go "all-star" after Aladdin. Did the many talents of The Lion King (and beyond) also work for scale? I am truly curious if this business plan is still in effect, or if Aladdin (or something else) changed it. Thanks for your time, Chuck
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#18 of 152 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted September 23 2004 - 04:55 AM

"I'm glad to see that Disney seems to be learning from their mistakes when it comes to their big newer animated movies. The picture problems of Beauty and the Beast seem not to be present here (though there were three versions of the movie on the Beauty disc)." Well, that's the only reason Beauty and the Beast appears the way it does -- they put too much on one disc instead of offering the WIP as a third bonus disc. "And the documentary is, by the accounts I've read, much better for Aladdin than the badly organized and surface level one made for The Lion King. Kudos!" Well, in all fairness to Disney, The Lion King was sort of an aberration. I don't think it is fair to say, "Disney has learned from their mistakes" regarding documentary materials. As should be noted, the documentary on Beauty and the Beast was fantastic, as was the lengthy looks at the making of Fantasia (R1 DVD), Tron, 20,000 Leagues, Atlantis, etc. When Disney does something right, they soar. Sadly, sometimes people only remember the failures and they take the many successes for granted.

#19 of 152 OFFLINE   Keith Paynter

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Posted September 23 2004 - 05:26 AM

quote:


You're quite the dedicated Aladdin fan...


Well, thanks, but it's really one of those PC revisionist things. Would Blazing Saddles be the same film if "the Sheriff" wasn't a "Ni!"?


The 5.1 thing is tempting, but I'm just not ready to thrown down $300 US for the SurCode DD5.1 plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro at this stage...
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#20 of 152 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted September 23 2004 - 05:40 AM

I have a question for ER. I knew the issues with Williams. I was unaware that the Disney agreement involved working for scale. Did the tremendous success of Aladdin change that policy? As I mentioned previously, I suspect Disney has since altered their contracts for voice work somewhat, but have no further information along those lines. If you'll notice, unlike DreamWorks, there are no "above the title" credits for voice work on any Disney animated feature, prior Aladdin or post-Aladdin. The voice casts seemed to go "all-star" after Aladdin. Did the many talents of The Lion King (and beyond) also work for scale? I am truly curious if this business plan is still in effect, or if Aladdin (or something else) changed it. Disney really didn't go "all-star" in any of their movies, although Lion King and Hercules were two recent anomalies. Back in the Walt era, he thought it was distracting to cast a well-known superstar voice for a character. Today, Disney has loosened up considerably along these lines, although voice actors are still cast to match the role, not the other way around. I believe Disney voice talent still receives scale, although there may now be kickers and bonuses involved for promotion and protections against litigation for profits stemming from home video releases. This pay only refers to the films -- agreements for ancilliary items like toys and video games that use the same voice talent are probably quite lucrative (which may explain how Disney was able to line up such a large collection of original voice talent for the PS2 game, "Kingdom Hearts").





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