Aladdin (2019) Blu-Ray
Disney’s live-action take on Aladdin has arrived on blu-ray, and if you missed it in theaters, this one is definitely worth your time to pick up. Come inside for our full review!
Much as I love the original cartoon Aladdin (it sits up there with The Lion King on my Disney animation rankings), I was very wary about this live-action remake. The teasers didn’t do much for me, and while the cast looked great, I was struggling to connect to the marketing all around. Since it’s still difficult for me to get out to the theater unless I’m doing one of the charity screenings, I wasn’t in a rush to try and make it to this one.
Still, as a fan of the original, I was interested in checking it out for the home entertainment release. I have to say, the trailers for Aladdin did the film absolutely no favors. I had a blast with this movie, and was surprised at how much fun it turned out to be.
It’s not perfect and has plenty of moments that don’t quite work, or come off as goofy (sometimes a result of trying to adhere to cartoon a bit too much). Even in those moments, however, it manages to work as a more fantastical story being told to kids; both as a device within the movie itself and in a literal sense.
The story plays out the same as in the original, with changes to the overall flow to have it make a bit more sense. The songs are still there and manage to work way better than expected. I know some took issue with it, but personally I loved how many of the songs were shortened up during sequences. It helped smooth the transition to regular dialog scenes (both before and after) while allowing a smidge more time for character moments.
The added benefit of this is that the “full length” songs had more of an impact emotionally. As someone who’s not huge on musicals in general, I thought it struck an excellent balance.
The acting all around is pretty solid, and it’s clear that everyone is giving it their all to these performances. The villain is both sympathetic at times and over the top/cartoonish when he needs to be, while Aladdin is almost effortless charming. Jasmine feels pitch perfect and I was blown away by Will Smith’s portrayal of the Genie.
Robin Williams is a damn near impossible act to follow, but Smith did an excellent job of making the character his own. He played to his own on screen charisma, while still bringing together all the elements that make that character memorable.
Not everything worked, but there’s no denying the fun factor this Aladdin adaptation has. With some great set pieces, characters that you almost instantly fall in love with, and plenty of genuine laugh-out-loud moments, this one is more than worth your time to check out.
Sight and Sound
Aladdin makes great use of a varied color pallet, all of which stands out brightly in the blu-ray transfer. The image is sharp and crisp, making the flesh tones stand out, while highlighting all the stuff going on in the background (Agrabah is a VERY busy city). The blacks are sufficiently deep, making the vibrant colors pop, while ensuring the darker sequences don’t crush.
The surround sound on the transfer is similarly solid. In the early part of the movie, you can feel the crush of the people in the bazaar as Aladdin eludes the guards. Little noise all around make the scene come alive and immerse you directly in the action. So all around, the technical aspects of the Aladdin blu-ray are great.
The Bonus Features
Aladdin on blu-ray comes with a DVD copy of the film, a digital copy insert, and these special features included on the disc:
- ALADDIN’S VIDEO JOURNAL: A NEW FANTASTIC POINT OF VIEW – Watch behind-the-scenes moments captured by Mena Massoud (Aladdin) in this fun, fast-paced look at his personal journey.
- DELETED SONG – “DESERT MOON” – Experience a moving duet performed by Jasmine and Aladdin, fully shot and edited, with an introduction by Alan Menken.
- GUY RITCHIE: A CINEMATIC GENIE – Discover why director Guy Ritchie was the perfect filmmaker to tackle this exhilarating reimagining of a beloved classic.
- A FRIEND LIKE GENIE – Discover how Will Smith brings talent, experience and his own personal magic to the iconic role of Genie.
- DELETED SCENES
o Falling Petals Into OJ
o Jafar’s Magic Orrery
o Anders’ Gift
o Wrong Wishes
o Silly Old Fool
o Post Yam Jam Debrief
- BLOOPERS – Laugh along with the cast and crew in this lighthearted collection of outtakes from the set.
- MUSIC VIDEOS
o “Speechless” – Music video performed by Naomi Scott
o “A Whole New World” – Music video performed by ZAYN and Zhavia Ward
o “ A Whole New World” (“Un Mundo Ideal”) – Music video performed by ZAYN and Becky G.
To be entirely honest, I wasn’t all that woohoo about the special features. They’re all pretty basic featurettes that don’t offer much extra value to the overall experience. Your experience may vary, but nothing in there really stood out to me as something exciting or that I’m likely to come back to. It’s a rare miss for Disney, who normally stacks their releases with some fun features.