"When Disney's Aladdin was released on videotape and laserdisc for the first time in October 1993, it debuted with a PC alteration, immediately into the film, as a line from the opening song was changed because of concerns over Arab stereotyping - "Where they cut off your ear if they don't like your face" became the neutral "Where it's flat and immense and the heat is intense".As the film makes is debut on DVD later this year, prepare for more changes, albeit subtle. Just like they did with The Lion King, the Disney team is not using the original theatrical presentation of the film, but a re-issue created for IMAX theatres, which featured some redrawn sequences, supposedly necessary because the original footage in question was problematic on the giant IMAX screen (Examples of the changes to The Lion King can be easily found on the web). The difference this time around is that no one ever saw it. The IMAX presentations were financially unrewarding to Disney, and Aladdin was never shown.The original release had wonderful color composition, especially in the opening scenes introducing Jafar and the Cave Of Wonders, and Pixar's digital images of The Cave's exterior would foreshadow their upcoming quality feature work that Disney would distribute. As far as casting, it sounds like Robin Williams and Gilbert Gottfried had a great time cutting loose in the studio.With few exceptions, this film is a delight from start to finish. The low rating comes from the fact that the original theatrical version will not be used, but the redrawn IMAX version. It deserves to be part of your collection, but not like this..."
Wow! Classic Disney flick finally available in 2 editions
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 10/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Aladdin" continued Disney's hot streak of family friendly but witty animated classics that broke box office records. Unfortunately, the magic was to last for a couple more movies. No small part of the success of "Aladddin" can be attributed to the songwriting team of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. Menken and Ashman (who also wrote the winning songs for "Beauty and The Beast" and "Little Shop of Horrors"). Also, the witty self assured direction, like that of "Beauty and The Beast", helped define a hip, new Disney that had something for everyone.
So what's the difference between the "Special Editon" and the "Special Edition Gift Set". Plenty but as to whether it's worth the extra cost depends on how much of a fan you are of the film. The "Special Edition" comes only with the DVDs (the featurettes and documentaries are discussed below). The "Special Edition Gift Set" comes with all that plus six original illustrations on heavy stock of characters from the film. You also get a deluxe book that's housed in a slipcase. It's very nice, indeed. Now, if I were Disney I also would have included the soundtrack and also made this edition a numbered, limited edition. While it might grow in value until the next generation of disc players come out and this is re-released yet again for Blu-Ray discs, it would have been better for fans to do a limited numbered edition. Oh, and I forgot the film frame from the original movie.
"Aladdin" looks great on DVD with sharp, clear images and bright, vivid colors. I didn't detect any analog or digital blemishes worth noting. The Disc looks even better than the laserdisc version issued nearly a decade ago and worlds better than the VHS with crisper, clearer sound and a much cleaner more vivid (and colorful)picture. The "Disney Enhanced" 5.1 soundtrack actually improves the dialogue and songs giving them better clarity and added presence.
The extras are a mixed bag but most of them are well worth having. There's deleted scenes presented in rough pencil animation, deleted songs highlighted by the terrific "Proud of Your Boy". Clay Aiken sings a version of the song for a music video. We also get "A Whole New World" performed by the dipsy duo of Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson. The two hour "A Diamond in the Rough" is a fascinating glimpse behind-the-scenes of this marvelous movie. We also get to see scenes from the deleted storyline for the film. Pop-up trivia facts can also be programmed to play on the DVD player as well. The two audio commentary tracks feature the directors and producer of the film while the second has some very funny commentary from the various character animators involved in the film.
"Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride" is the best of the extras included here. It's actually not a game per se but a magic carpet ride that's best experienced on as big a TV as possible with the lights out. It's as close to a thrill ride ever presented on home video. "Inside the Genie's Lamb" is a mildly interesting and entertaining glimpse into the Genie's habitat. We also get "Genie World Tour". This bit of whimsy is fun and Disney directors actually entertained the notion of putting it on during the end credits at one time. It's clever and a witty short. "3 Wishes Game" might keep little ones entertained once or twice although some little ones will need help operating the DVD remote to play the game. Parents stay close by so the kids don't throw the remote at the TV in frustration. You can also select your favorite "Aladdin" songs with onscreen lyrics to help you sing along (God save your neighbors if you're a bad singer).
All in all a terrific package well worth picking up. "Aladdin" is a funny, charming and entertaining movie with the Disney team at their peak. The "Special Gift Edition" is truly for the hardcore Disney fan that collects everything Disney. The two disc "Special Edition" is more for the casual fan or those that love the movie but just don't collect Disney stuff. I had some reservations about the DVD release as I was afraid they might screw it up but they didn't. The only thing missing is a discussion about the original song lyrics that were changed for home video release due to concerns about their anti-Arab sentiments. Also, we don't get any new footage of Robin Williams but we do see some vintage stuff from his very funny recording sessions. "
C D. McLeod | McKinney, TX United States | 12/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Aladdin is one of the last great animated films from Disney, and a lot of the credit is owed to the bad guys. The voices of Jafar and Iago are dead-on perfect for their characters and when combined with Robin Williams in a role where he can really cut loose, they create movie gold.
In a classic poor-boy-makes-good story, it would be easy to ignore the villian and concentrate on the "heart of gold" and love-interest storylines, but directors Clements and Musker gave plenty of screen time for the wonderfully sneering and arrogant Jafar. The interplay between him and Gottfried as Iago is nearly as fun as listening to Williams's wide selection of impressions and verbal explosions (my favorite is Bill Buckley with "restrictions and quid pro quos").
Some of the extras are snooze-inducing, but the commentary is engaging, especially if you've seen the film a few times. This is definitely worth the upgrade from your old VHS copy."
A Whole New World of Extras
Mark Clegg | Great Britain | 07/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Disney's Platinum Editions are rapidly becoming a must buy not only for the Disney enthusiast, but also the general film buff. The annual release of the Disney top titles with a whole new set of extras spanning over two discs is now a real date-for-the-diary. The latest for the Platinum treatment is Aladdin - one of Disney's biggest hits of the 'Golden Era' (now sadly ended). The film deserves it's fame and success. Beautifully written,designed and animated, the studio should now look back at it and see how it should be done. The songs by Ashman and Menken (with help from Tim Rice post Ashman's death)are excellent without a weak link among them. The same can be said for the vocal talent on display. Although Robin Williams' Genie has always received the most praise and attention, my personal favourites are Jonathon Freeman's witty Jafar and Gilbert Gottfried's abrasive Iago. The extras, looking at the line-up, don't seem as exhaustive (and exhausting!) as Lion King or Beauty and the Beast's but there definately seems to be an emphasis of quality over quantity. The main attraction on these discs is always the never-before-heard songs. Unlike the previously mentioned films, Aladdin will not have the songs intergrated into the film. This is probably due to the fact that the main deleted song (Proud of your Boy) was originally to be sung by a character that did not survive into Aladdin's final scipt - Aladdin's mother. The reprise (Humiliate your Boy) was to be sung by Jafar which seems to point to both versions being replaced somewhat by Prince Ali and it's Jafar sung reprise. A commentary by the Disney artists is always welcome and the Howard Ashman tribute should be another highlight. A lot of the extras seem to be depressingly child-friendly (hopefully this won't alienate the buffs) with the Magic Carpet Ride sounding like a carbon-copy of the poular Timon and Pumbaa Safaris available on the Lion King releases. An in-depth making of sounds wonderful but I for one could have lived without the pathetic padding that is the 'All New Music Video'. With Bambi apparently the next for the full platinum treatment and 101 Dalmations, Jungle Book and Little Mermaid to follow (one per year and just in time for Christmas!) Disney shouldn't need to worry just yet that they are running out of decent movies to polish. I just wish they'd start making them again. In the mean time we can indulge ourselves in past glories and buy this DVD!"
Platinum Edition of Aladdin
Mark Clegg | 12/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Good news for all of us waiting for a release of Aladdin! It will be released October 2004! This is one of the best Disney's movies! It's a must have!"