Aladdin: 2-Disc Special Edition (1992)

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Released 14-Oct-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
THX Optimizer
THX Trailer
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers'
Audio Commentary-Animators'
Informational Subtitles-Pop-Up Fun Facts
Deleted Scenes-2 And 4 Deleted Songs
Music Video-3, With Behind The Scenes Footage
Music Highlights-Disney Song Selection, With Lyrics
Trailer-Disc 2 Preview
Game-Aladdin's Magic Carpet Adventure, Inside The Genie's Lamp
Game-3 Wishes Game, The Genie World Tour
Featurette-Making Of-A Diamond In The Rough (3 Viewing Options)
Featurette-Alan Menken: Musical Renaissance Man
Gallery-Art Review, With Filmmakers Commentary
Gallery-Still Frame
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Aladdin And The King Of Thieves, The Return Of Jafar
Gallery-Publicity - Posters, Unused Concepts, Theme Parks
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 86:43
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (45:06)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Ron Clements
John Musker
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Scott Weinger
Robin Williams
Linda Larkin
Jonathan Freeman
Frank Welker
Gilbert Gottfried
Douglas Seale
Bruce Adler
Brad Kane
Lea Salonga
Charles Adler
Jack Angel
Corey Burton
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $39.95 Music Alan Menken
Howard Ashman
Tim Rice


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Alternate Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 1.0 (96Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 1.0 (96Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.70:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Information
English Song Lyrics
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Right at the end!

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

"Wake up and smell the hummus"

    Aladdin is a landmark in cinema animation for many reasons. It was one of three films which launched the renaissance of movie animation, along with The Little Mermaid (1989) and Beauty & The Beast (1991). All three of these films were very successful, however Aladdin clearly had the biggest box office take of over $500 million globally (#1 in the US in 1992) not including the incredible business it has done since then on VHS and now DVD.This one stands out for other reasons as well. It was the first to use wholesale adult-directed humour with modern cultural references. It was the first to use a major comedy star (Robin Williams) to voice a character, something which now is always expected in animated films. It was also the first animated film to use CGI for some characters, and not just backgrounds. It paved the way for films like Shrek, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and many more. It is also one of the last major animated films of the last 15 years to be released on DVD, with The Lion King being released recently.

    Aladdin follows the story of a young street urchin in the imaginary city of Agrabah, somewhere in Arabia. The urchin, Aladdin, with his monkey friend, Abu, spend their time trying to steal enough food to stay alive and avoiding the palace guards. Agrabah is ruled by a Sultan, who is a nice but slightly dim old man. He is at least partially controlled by his Royal Vizier, the evil Jafar. Jafar's constant companion is a nasty little parrot called Iago (voiced by comic Gilbert Gottfried). The Sultan's daughter, Jasmine, is being pursued by every eligible prince around because she must marry before her next birthday which is now only three days away. The princes know that they will become Sultan when the old Sultan dies if they marry her. Jasmine is not happy with this plan, and wants to marry for love. She decides to sneak out of the palace on her own to get a better look at how the people live. While in the market, she runs afoul of a stall holder who does not realise she is the princess. She is rescued by Aladdin and they get talking before they are found and he is arrested for kidnapping the princess. Meanwhile, Jafar has found out the location of a magical cave which is supposed to contain a huge treasure and a magic lamp. He engages a thief to help him get the lamp, telling him that he can have all the treasure as long as he gets Jafar the lamp. The cave warns that only a 'Diamond in the Rough', someone of pure heart, may enter. After the thief fails, Jafar decides that Aladdin might succeed and, via a disguise, manages to convince him to help in exchange for the treasure. After a variety of adventures, Aladdin ends up with the magic lamp, which of course summons the Genie (voiced by Robin Williams) who offers him three wishes. I won't give away any more of the story in case there is someone out there who hasn't seen this film, but suffice it to say that good wins out and all live happily ever after, perhaps with the exception of Jafar & Iago.

    This is an excellent animated adventure, enjoyed by children of all ages. The things which really stand out about this film include

    As this is Disney, you expect and get a certain level of sentimentality, however this is kept under control and is a minor nitpick on my part. Generally speaking, this is a film you could happily recommend to anyone and most people would enjoy it.

    So, a landmark film which played an huge part in bringing musicals back to the movies and in bringing animation in front of an adult audience as well as the kids. Besides, this it is also a great deal of fun. Highly Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is magnificent.

    The feature is presented in a 1.70:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was wonderfully clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise or grain of any description.The shadow detail was excellent.

    The colour was fantastic with incredible richness and depth of colour. There were no colour blemishes of any kind.

    I would like to say that I did not notice any artefacts, however, I did notice some very minor aliasing on some stairs at 27:00 and also on the monkey's feet and occasionally on people's eyes. I am sure you will not notice this if you don't especially look for it.

    There are 4 sets of subtitles on this disc, all in English. They are English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Pop-up Fun Facts (see extras below) and a stream of only Song Lyrics.

    The layer change occurs at 45:06 and is not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is magnificent and of reference quality.

    This DVD contains three audio options (not including commentaries); an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 Enhanced Disney Home Theatre Mix soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and an English Audio Descriptive Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. It is interesting to have two different 5.1 mixes and I listened to the whole of the Disney Enhanced mix and sampled the 'normal' one. Both are very good, however, the Disney Enhanced mix is incredibly good. I cannot think of any reason why you would not choose this over the standard 5.1 track. It sounds phenomenal. By the way, for those who don't know, an audio descriptive track includes the original sound plus a commentator telling you what is going on. It is designed for those with vision impairments.

    Dialogue was very clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Alan Menken and the wonderful songs are an absolute highlight of this production. In one of the featurettes, Menken describes the soundtrack as a mixture of Middle Eastern and jazz elements, although I would have though there was a whole lot of Broadway in it too!  

    The surround speakers were in constant use, either adding immersion to the soundtrack or carrying an incredible array of surround effects such as Jafar's voice when he is hypnotising people or the chorus during songs. For example, during the song One Jump Ahead, the guards can quite often be heard in the rear speakers as they chase Aladdin. Also during this song, as Aladdin is chased and jumps around the screen, his voice jumps around the speakers. Killer Stuff! There are also numerous other effects such as the sounds of water or birds which fill out the soundscape. In a word, magnificent.

     The subwoofer is also put to spectacular use during this film. It is used for effects such as the voice of the Tiger Cave, Jafar when he is all-powerful and elephants' footsteps. Considering the style of film, the LFE track is extremely well done.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    I hope you are sitting comfortably, because this may take a while...

    Unless otherwise noted extras are presented 4x3 and in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround.

Menu

    The menu design is very good, simple to operate, uses the excellent score throughout (and not the same music on each screen either) and also provides disc indexes to ensure you don't miss anything. Excellent. The booklet in the case also gives information on the layout of the menus.

Disc 1

Deleted Songs

    This section includes 4 deleted songs which were either removed due to story changes or dropped because of timing. Each song is presented as part of a featurette which has the filmmakers (John Musker & Ron Clements, Producers, Directors & Writers) explaining why the song was dropped and then the song itself presented with storyboards or rough animation. The songs are all of high quality and a Play All option is available. The songs are:

Deleted Scenes

    There are two deleted scenes included here, both without full animation. They are basically shown in storyboard/storyreel format. Presented 4x3.The scenes are:

Music Videos - Proud of Your Boy

    This actually includes three separate featurettes for the one song which was not included in the movie! The different featurettes are:

Music Videos - A Whole New World

    This is the Number 1 hit single from the film, which also won many awards including the Oscar. Again three different featurettes are included:

Disney Song Selection (1:16, 2:09, 2:21, 2:45, 2:33)

    The songs from the movie presented together with song lyrics for your next Karaoke Party! Presented 16x9 enhanced. Includes Arabian Nights, One Jump Ahead, Friend Like Me, Prince Ali & A Whole New World.

Filmmakers Commentary

    A commentary by John Musker, Ron Clements & their co-producer Amy Pell. This is a good quality commentary without rising to the heights of greatness. They are relaxed, get some good banter going and tell some interesting stories. They also seem to think it's necessary to tell us exactly who did each and every piece of animation. They also discuss areas of the film which were changed during the production, Robin Williams, political correctness and how it affected the film and take care to point out their cameo. Not a bad effort and worth a listen.

Animators Commentary with Andreas Deja (Jafar), Will Finn (Iago), Eric Goldberg (Genie) & Glen Keane (Aladdin)

    This is a less serious commentary than the first one, with lots of banter, anecdotes and laughter. I found it quite entertaining. They discuss character design, story changes, Robin Williams, and many facets of the production, not just the animation. Also, well worth a listen.

Pop-Up Fun Facts

    This is a set of blue subtitles which show over the picture (sometimes intrusively) and give the viewer extra facts and trivia about the production including the history of the story, technical tidbits and other bits and pieces. Interesting.

Disc 2 Preview (1:02)

    Short highlights film of Disc 2 encouraging you to take the plunge.

THX Optimiser

    A useful tool for those who have not calibrated their systems, this will help you to get your television and sound system set up better.

Disc 2

Game - Aladdin's Magic Carpet Adventure

    A reasonably large game for a DVD which involves choose-your-own-adventure style choices of where to go next looking for Jasmine, who needs to be rescued. Hints are available along the way if you can solve puzzles. It includes a cameo appearance from Timon, a character from The Lion King, and references to Raiders of the Lost Ark. I thought the interface was not overly intuitive but once I worked out what was going on the answer was fairly obvious, but might be a bit more challenging for the kiddies. The animation is pretty good and includes many action scenes of the flying carpet. One of the better games I have seen on a DVD. Presented with 5.1 sound.

Interactivity - Inside the Genie's Lamp

    This feature allows you to tour the inside of the Genie's lamp either with Iago as your guide and a Real Estate Agent style voiceover or a self-guided version. Not overly diverting but the kids will probably get a kick out of it. 5.1 sound.

Game - 3 Wishes

    A simple game which requires you to release a coin at the right time for it to land in Jafar's opening and closing mouth. If you do, your wish is granted (only figuratively).

The Genie World Tour

    Short interactivity which shows you all the places the Genie visited after his release from the lamp. Mildly amusing.

A Diamond in the Rough : The Making of Aladdin

    This is a comprehensive collection of featurettes, covering all aspects of the production, hosted by film critic Leonard Maltin. You can choose to view the material in three ways 1) Your wish is our command, which involves an interactive trip through the featurettes allowing you to explore areas you are interested in in more detail but not be forced to watch everything 2) A Play All Option and 3) By using an Index. Regardless, you have the opportunity to view all of the material, which includes the following:

Alan Menken : Musical Renaissance Man (20:00)

    A comprehensive documentary about 8 time Academy Award winner, composer Alan Menken, including details about his life and career. Includes interviews with his parents & wife, details of the various musicals and films he has worked on and his long time partnership with Howard Ashman.

Art Review with Filmmaker's Commentary (8:47)

    Visually this includes various development paintings, early drawings and maps and the commentary discusses what the colours are meant to signify and how the characters changed during the development process.

Still Frame Gallery

    Comprehensive Gallery of stills broken down into various sections. I found the menu design a bit fiddly and annoying here. The sections are:

Original Theatrical Trailer (2:51)

    A good trailer with fairly poor video quality in 4x3.

Publicity Gallery

    Includes 3 theatrical posters, 10 unused concepts and 20 photos of various theme park rides.

Trailer : Aladdin & The King of Thieves (1:33)

    Trailer for sequel.

Trailer : The Return of Jafar (0:34)

    Trailer for straight-to-video sequel.

Booklet

    The case includes a 4 page booklet which contains chapter listing and chart showing the menu structures on the discs.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    On this basis let's just call it a draw.

Summary

    A landmark animated movie which brought adult-directed humour to children's animation. It's also a lot of fun for the whole family.

    The video quality is excellent with one very minor blemish.

    The audio quality is of reference quality.

    The set has an incredible array of mostly excellent, well made extra features.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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