Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Robin Williams
Extras: Deleted Songs, Deleted Scenes, Audio Commentary, Games & Much, Much More!
To say "Aladdin" is a great film is an understatement. The film truly succeeds on so many levels. Along with the fantastic crew, the collaboration of voice talent is what brought "Aladdin" that large step further. Featuring the voices of Robin Williams, Gilbert Gottfried, Scott Weiniger, Linda Larkin, Johnathan Freeman, Frank Welker and Douglas Seale, and the singing talent of Brad Kane and Lea Salonga, "Aladdin" became a magical journey of a young man’s desire to become someone he wasn’t. And only through the helpful guidance of a magical Genie does Aladdin truly realize that it’s not what’s on the outside that counts but what’s on the inside that truly matters.
And now 12 years later "Aladdin" is finally brought to DVD in a glorious 2 disc special edition that will knock you right off your magic carpet. It doesn’t take the rub of a magic lamp to realize that Disney knows that this is one of their classics, so they’ve given "Aladdin" the royal treatment.
You might want to refill you coffee mug before continuing. This IS a Disney special edition and there are a lot of bonus features to go through and enjoy. Let’s begin with Disc 1. Besides the feature presentation, the first disc does feature some bonus features. The first is a "Deleted Songs" section. These are songs that never made it into the final cut of the film. Most use storyboards to follow along with the songs. Next are two "Deleted Scenes" which, similar to the songs, never made it into the film. They were cut even before the animation process began so they are in depth looks, using storyboards, of different takes on events in the film. The first meeting between Jasmine and Aladdin was completely different and I’m quite happy they did change it. The original wasn’t that good compared to the final choice.
After you’ve checked out the deleted section, you’ll head over to the "Music & More" section. This is where the many music videos and Disney song selections are located. The widely advertised Clay Aiken "Proud Of Your Boy" and Jessica Simpson/Nick Lachey cover of "A Whole New World" are presented here. Both are available in either 2.0 stereo or the 5.1 remix. The original video for "A Whole New World" is included also. The song selection section allows you to immediately jump to every song/scene in the film. You’re also given the choice of on screen lyrics to sing along with. Now all we’re missing is a bouncing ball.
Disc two is even more feature loaded. "Games & Activities" is where we begin.
First is "Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Adventure," which is a virtual DVD ride. You play as Aladdin as you ride carpet through the city of Agrabah to rescue Jasmine from the clutches of Jafar. A guest appearance by a certain miercat adds a comical twist to the adventure. Along the way you need to make choices on where you’re going to go next. One in while you have to solve puzzles to advance further. The 5.1 digital sound is great. Because you’re riding a carpet from Al’s perspective you get the full effect from all your speakers.
"Inside The Genie’s Lamp" is a guided tour through the interior of the genie’s lamp. It’s another neat feature. Iago, voiced by Gilbert again (Thank you) is taken through the lamp and narrated by a Robin Leech impersonator. Your choice is a guided tour or a manual one. If you take the manual one you won’t have the hysterics of Iago to listen to though. The Leech dialog is different though so it’s no harm to listen to both.
"3 Wishes Game" is another funny game that also features Iago and Jafar. You’re goal is to get a gold piece into the mouth of Jafar. Doing so grants you a wish but unfortunately nothing really happens when you do. No extra video or anything. It’s similar to those old amusement park wishing machines we see as kids. The same kind as in the Tom Hank’s film "Big".
"The Genie World Tour" is a little animated feature that has Jafar and Iago reading an animated card from the Genie as he travels across the world with his new found freedom. This was one of the extra’s you might want to avoid. Great for kids but this was something I didn’t really enjoy.
After leaving the games section of the disc we get into the meat of the disc that adults will enjoy a lot more – "Backstage Disney."
The first is the fantastic making of Aladdin called "A Diamond In The Rough." Leonard Malton is the host of this section and you get almost 2 hours of the making of Aladdin. It’s really well laid out so even if you don’t watch it all at once you can easily navigate to any spot of the documentary. Make sure not to miss this one. Highly recommended.
"Alan Menken: Musical Renaissance Man" is a 20-minute feature on the man who composed the music and songs for some of Disney’s biggest films. It’s a nice little bonus that has interviews with Alan, his parents and various other people talking about his work. If you’re a fan of Disney’s musical numbers you’ll want to watch this.
"The Art of Aladdin" is a still frame gallery featuring numerous areas such as visual development, story development, backgrounds and color keys and character development. You can also listen to the filmmaker’s commentary about the artistic style of the film.
And last of all is the "Publicity" section featuring Theatrical Trailers for "Aladdin" and the direct to video sequels "Aladdin and The King of Thieves" & "The Return of Jafar". For those that didn’t know, Robin Williams didn’t return for these films. Instead Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer Simpson, portrayed Genie.
I’m sure anybody with children is going to be purchasing this film, but for those of you who feel that you’re to old for "cartoons" you are missing out. "Aladdin" is one of the best films released in the 90’s and still to this day holds up extremely well. It’s extremely funny and has plenty of adventure properly placed between the romantic sections of the picture. I couldn’t ask for a better version than this DVD. Disney knows how to treat their prize pictures with the respect they deserve, unlike some studios cough, cough, Paramount, cough. And for those who really want a bargain, pick up the Collector’s DVD Gift Set instead of just the film. For an extra $10 you get not only the 2 discs film, but also a beautiful hard cover book detailing the entire DVD creation process and film making history. It’s the same layout that came with the stunning "Lion King" box set. You also get 8 character portrait drawings and a limited edition Senitype animation cell from the actual 35mm film frame. And last is a beautiful hard cardboard box to store everything in. Plus the artwork on the box is really nice. This is value at its best.