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Still shot from the movie: Aladdin.

Aladdin

Loosely based on the ancient tales found in the Arabian Nights, the movie follows the plight of an impoverished "street rat" forced to steal food for survival. After a chance meeting with a run-away princess, Aladdin (voice of Scott Weinger) falls in love with the unattainable Jasmine (Linda Larkin). Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: B+
Violence: B
Sexual Content: A-
Language: A-
Drugs/Alcohol: A
Run Time: 90
Theater Release: 24 Nov 1992
Video Release: 04 Oct 2004
MPAA Rating: G
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How We Determine Our Grades

This Disney animation spawned several sequels and television series. Check out our review of Aladdin and the King of Thieves. Caricaturist Al Hirschfeld served as an inspiration for the art style in Aladdin and in Fantasia 2000’s Rhapsody in Blue. (For more information about this remarkable artist, see: http://www.bpib.com/illustrat/hirschfe.htm)

Home Video Extra Features

Aladdin Platinum Edition 2 Disc DVD Edition

Release Date:5 October 2004

If your VHS copy of Aladdin has been worn ragged from repeated viewings, you will be thrilled to know this Disney Classic is now available on DVD, in a special Platinum Edition. Not only is the picture quality and sound better than you have ever experienced before (thanks to a restored and enhanced digital transfer, and a 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix), but the two-disc package also includes some insightful bonus materials.

As is customary, the set provides a running commentary, in this case by both the filmmakers and the animators. Those wanting more details can check out A Diamond in the Rough, a feature on the second disc containing a couple of hours worth of interviews with the creators, producers, animators, and cast members of Aladdin (a few terms of deity are used in some of these conversations.)

Enthusiasts will learn how the first draft of the story was sent back to the drawing board. They will discover the genesis of the Genie came from the work of Al Hirschfeld, that Princess Jasmine bears a striking resemblance to the illustrator’s sister, and what a cleanup artist does. They can observe the evolution of Aladdin from “too spindly, too tall, too buff, too hard to draw,” to the character we have come to know and love.

Footage of the actors and singers recording their voices will help viewers see the other faces behind the familiar cartoon images. It will also increase their appreciation for the similarities between a jigsaw puzzle and an animation project, as they watch the individual pieces come together to form an amazing motion picture.

The only down side for me was the narration by Gilbert Gottfried, who played the voice of the insufferable parrot Iago. Although the reprise of his character is funny at first, I found he got to be too much. Fortunately, the documentary is broken down into chapters so you can select bite-sized pieces—making his commentary easier to swallow.

Because the film went through such a thorough restructuring, there were plenty of scraps on the cutting room floor. Some of the deleted scenes have been included in the Extras. While most of those involved agree these editing choices were good, there was one element the creators found particularly hard to let go. It was a song Aladdin sings to his mother (a character who was in an early version of the script), where he promises one day she’ll be “Proud of Your Boy.” Presented here as a tribute to Howard Ashman, the man who wrote the lyrics but passed away before completing his work on the rest of this film, the moving number has been recorded with the voice talent of Clay Aiken.

The movie’s musical score is further examined in a vignette titled, Alan Menken: Musical Renaissance Man. The composer and former partner of Ashman rightly deserves this title because his contributions have in fact given new birth to recent Disney animations, such as Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast, and The Hunchback Of Notre Dame.

Other additions are games and activities for the little ones. Timon from The Lion King makes a guest appearance in Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Adventure, Robin Leach gives a “rich and famous” guided tour Inside the Genie’s Lamp (an “itty-bitty living space” that seems to have a vendetta against Iago), and the Three Wishes Game pays homage to The Wizard of Oz. The first person graphics are great, but the premises are simplistic and a bit disappointing.

However, consumers should be satisfied with the easy to use menus and the enclosed DVD guidebook. For fans of this film, the Platinum Edition of Disney’s Aladdin will undoubtedly fulfill their every wish.


DVD Extras:
  • Available subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix (Dolby Digital 5.1), French, Spanish, Commentary by the filmmakers, Commentary by the animators Commentary by the filmmakers
  • “A Diamond In The Rough: The Making Of ALADDIN”—new documentary
  • Deleted Song “Proud Of Your Boy” by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. Clay Aiken Performs “Proud Of Your Boy”
  • Alan Menken: Musical Renaissance Man
  • Deleted Scenes & Songs
  • Disney’s Virtual DVD Ride: Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Adventure
  • The Art of Aladdin
  • 3 Wishes Game
  • Inside The Genie’s Lamp—Never-Before Seen 3-D Tour
  • The Genie World Tour
  • Pop-Up Fun Facts—Watch the film in this special “trivia mode” feature to experience and share fun and interesting secrets about the film.
  • Disney Sing-Along Song Selection

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About the Reviewer: Donna Gustafson

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