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Published on September 16th, 2019 | by Dan Nicholls

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Aladdin (Both Versions) – Blu ray Review

Both the original Aladdin and the new Aladdin have been given new blu ray home video releases, so we took a close look at them.

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A tale of two Aladdins leaves viewers with a sensation of sand in your shoes and undeniably catchy songs in your heart. There’s also the lingering feeling of déjà vu when you watch both versions back-to-back, because the 2019 iteration is a straight-up remake in the purest sense of the word. When experienced this way, sadly, your double feature does end on a less fun note than which it began. Rare are the remakes that eclipse their predecessors, and the 1992 animated original is a Disney masterpiece to begin with.

Twenty-seven years apart but miles away from improving in any meaningful way, director Guy Ritchie’s overlong live action approach was undoubtedly made for the cash and not for any reasons of creative reinvention. Aladdin was unquestionably the major blockbuster of summer 2019 with the most surprising longevity, so the gambit paid off big. Viewed alongside the original, however, reveals the lack of magic that only animation can provide.

For a story with as much scope to it as this it’s sort of questionable why the live action adaptation just looks so damn flat. Many scenes play out as if they could only afford a set the size of two shipping containers, losing all depth and scope. VFX comes in to save the day with some flashy visuals when called for but the sets, costumes, and staging all feel too much like a giant façade.

On a home viewing Will Smith proves to be more entertaining as the Genie than I originally felt in theaters. As charming as he is he still can’t reach the energy or imagination that Robin Williams conjured in his voice-over performance, however. In the battle of Will versus Williams there’s just simply no contest.

Where the remake does succeed is with its portrayal of Princess Jasmine, which gives her character more agency than was afforded in the early 90’s. A big part of that lays in the casting of Naomi Scott but the diversions the screenplay makes from the first film also highlight how time and knowledge can inform more well-rounded representation on screen. Our skinjob leading man, Mena Massoud, smiles and charms his way to the end but doesn’t make his Al more relatable than the 2D hand-drawn hero we love.

But what a time to be alive where we can revisit both versions of Aladdin in the most visually stunning ways possible at home! The new Signature Collection Edition of the 1992 classic will be a timeless Blu-ray to sit on your shelf, especially if you have fond memories of wearing out a VHS copy of it like I did. While the live action version leaves a fair bit to be desired, it still hits a nerve with its core audience who doesn’t necessarily have that same level of attachment with the original that old jaded critics do. As they do regularly, Disney made sure to pack both discs with bonus features that allow you to explore both films in amazing detail.

 

Aladdin (2019) Blu-ray and Digital Bonus Features:

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” (duet between Jasmine and Aladdin)

Guy Ritchie: Cinematic Genie (featurette)

A Friend Like Genie (featurette focusing on Will Smith)

Deleted Scenes:

Falling Petals Into OJ
Jafar’s Magic Orrery
Anders’ Gift
Wrong Wishes
Silly Old Fool
Post Yam Jam Debrief

Bloopers

Music Videos:

“Speechless” –performed by Naomi Scott
“A Whole New World” – performed by ZAYN and Zhavia Ward
“A Whole New World” (“Un Mundo Ideal”) – performed by ZAYN and Becky G.

 

Aladdin (1992) Signature Collection Edition Blu-ray Features:

Sing Along with The Movie Mode

Over 40 Classic Bonus Features from Previous Home Video Editions

Aladdin on Aladdin (new featurette)
“Let’s Not Be Too Hasty”: The Voices of “Aladdin” (new featurette)
Alternate Endings (exclusive to this edition)

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About the Author

Dan Nicholls

is a Vancouver-based, lifelong movie geek who's been a projectionist, critic, director, (accidental) actor, and writer in the industry since E.T. phoned home. @dannicholls



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