Disney’s 1992 animated classic, Aladdin, makes its 4K UHD debut with a stunning transfer and new Atmos remix.
The Production: 4.5/5
Ron Clements and John Musker hit a second home run in a row after The Little Mermaid with Aladdin in 1992. Taking the classic tale from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (aka Arabian Nights) and placing a Disney spin, this is, perhaps, their most cartoony (for lack of a better term) of their animated features, thanks mostly for the manic spirit of Robin Williams as the Genie that infuses the film from beginning to end. Aladdin is really an action comedy first and foremost, with spectacular music numbers thrown in for good measure (including the show-stoppers Friend Like Me and Prince Ali).
For a more detailed review of the film, please see Matt Hough’s review of the Diamond Edition Blu-ray release from 2015.
3D Rating: NA
This is the first time since the movie’s original DVD release in 2004 that Aladdin has been presented in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio. This is true of both the UHD disc and the included Signature Collection Blu-ray edition (the previous Diamond Edition was 1.85:1). The UHD disc features a 2160p upscale with HDR10 high dynamic range that although does not provide a noticeable improvement in fine detail, it does provide a marked improvement in color gamut and contrast. This is noticeably a bit darker overall than the Blu-ray, with deeper blacks that help the nighttime sequences to not have that obvious day-for-night look. Colors are more robust, especially blue and red tones, without blooming, and sparkles and gold have a shimmer to them that is missing on the Blu-ray.
Aladdin on UHD comes with a new Dolby Atmos remix that, once the master volume is bumped up a few notches, is a more immersive experience than the DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix found on the included Blu-ray. The twinkling sounds of Jafar’s flying gold scarab in the opening sequence flitters around the room with much more precision as it locates the Cave of Wonders, for example, while the musical numbers receive a nice extension into the area above the viewers. LFE is adequate (this was an early Dolby Digital 5.1 theatrical release), and does add a chilling low end to Jafar’s voice. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout.
Special Features: 4/5
Although the UHD disc contains no special features, the included Blu-ray contains three new featurettes, plus a few holdovers from the previous Diamond Edition, and a wealth of archival features available online when you redeem your Movies Anywhere code.
Aladdin on “Aladdin” (1080p; 30:27): The voice of Aladdin, Scott Weinger, now grown up, looks back at his work on the film and talks with many of the people who also worked on the film. **NEW** to this edition.
Let’s Not Be Too Hasty: The Voices of “Aladdin” (1080p; 2:58): Clips from the movie along with video of the original voice recordings. **NEW** to this edition.
Alternate Endings (1080p; 2:05): Two different endings in storyboard form. **NEW** to this edition.
Classic Bonus Preview (1080p; 0:59): A quick look at what archived extras are available online when you redeem your Movies Anywhere code. **NEW** to this edition.
The Genie Outtakes (10080p; 8:53): As a tribute to the late Robin Williams, directors John Musker and Ron Clements and Genie animator Eric Goldberg introduce a series of Williams audio outtakes not used in the finished film accompanied by storyboards and animated clips.
Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic (1080p; 18:53): Darren Criss hosts a look at the making of the Broadway musical adaptation of the movie currently playing to sold out houses in New York. The play’s director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw and composer Alan Menken along with cast members Adam Jacobs, Jonathan Freeman, and James Monroe Inglehart relate the rocky road to Broadway success.
Genie 101 (1080p; 3:59): Original Aladdin voice Scott Weinger explains all of the references to real-life persons imitated by Robin Williams as the Genie.
Ron & John: You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me (1080p; 5:36): Directors John Musker and Ron Clements talk about their thirty-nine year friendship.
Song Selection (1080p; 13:20): Jump to your favorite song from the movie with on-screen karaoke lyrics – Arabian Nights, One Jump Ahead, One Jump Ahead Reprise, Friend Like Me, Prince Ali, A Whole New World and Prince Ali Reprise.
Audio Commentaries: Directors John Musker and Ron Clements and producer Amy Pell share one track while animators Andreas Deja, Will Finn, Eric Goldberg, and Glen Keane take part in the other. For the complete Aladdin experience, one must listen to both tracks as much valuable information is imparted about the film’s chaotic production.
Drawing Genie (1080p; 2:12): Animator Eric Goldberg sketches the Genie as he discusses his career as an animator. New digital exclusive.
The following archival features are available online at select retailers when you redeem your Movies Anywhere code:
Alan Menken: Music Renaissance Man
The Art of Aladdin: Art Review with Filmmakers’ Commentary
The Genie World Tour
Inside the Genie’s Lamp: Guided Tour
Original Theatrical Trailer
Deleted Scene: Aladdin in the Lap of Luxury
Deleted Scene: Aladdin & Jasmine’s First Meeting
Behind the Scenes “A Whole New World” Performed by Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey
Behind the Scenes “Proud of Your Boy” Performed by Clay Aiken
Music Video “Proud of Your Boy” Performed by Clay Aiken
“A Whole New World” Music Video Performed by Regina Belle & Peabo Bryson
“A Whole New World” Music Video Performed by Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey
A Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin: The Animators
A Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin: The Music
A Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin: The Producers
A Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin: The Voice Talent
Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy (in UHD where available) on Movies Anywhere.
Aladdin has been one of my favorite animated films since I first saw it I theaters back during its original release. The UHD is a nice upgrade, especially for those who never upgraded from DVD.
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