Adventure Aladdin

Wonder by Wonder: A Review of ‘Aladdin’ on 4K Blu-ray

September 26, 2019Ben MK

When it comes to Disney's most popular animated films, Aladdin ranks right up there alongside The Lion King. But while both movies have gotten the live-action treatment this year, only one has Will Smith taking on the role first made famous by Robin Williams, playing a genie who has been trapped in a magic lamp for millennia.

As with Disney's previous live-action adaptations like Cinderella, The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast, what follows hews fairly closely to the animated version, albeit with slight tweaks here and there. In this case, director Guy Ritchie and co-writer John August have expanded on the basic story of the original and added a couple of noteworthy and entertaining twists, while the actors — Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine, and Marwan Kenzari as the scheming Jafar — have done commendable jobs turning in performances that set their portrayals apart from their animated counterparts.

Song-wise, the movie also stands up nicely against the original, with Alan Menken reprising his role as composer and Smith, Massoud and Scott each able to hold their own in lively new renditions of songs like "Arabian Nights," "One Jump Ahead," "Friend Like Me" and, of course, "A Whole New World." Suffice to say, it all adds up to a film that proves to be just as charming as its predecessor was 27 years ago.

Aladdin debuts on 4K featuring an impressive 2160p transfer, and the results are nothing short of magical indeed. Picture quality is crisp and vibrant, from the many colors to be found among the wares of Agrabah's market vendors to the fiery lava explosions that make Aladdin's escape from the Cave of Wonders quite perilous. And it's all made better by a boisterous and thoroughly enjoyable Dolby Atmos sound mix, which wonderfully brings to life the movie's take on all those classic songs, not to mention the brand new song, "Speechless."

Disney's two-disc "Ultimate Collector's Edition" includes an iTunes/Google Play digital copy and a Blu-ray copy of the film. There are no special features on the 4K disc, but the following extras can be found on the Blu-ray disc:

  • Aladdin's Video Journal: A New Fantastic Point of View (10:40) - Star Mena Massoud vlogs his way through the filming of some of the movie's key scenes.
  • Deleted Song - "Desert Moon" (2:20)
  • Guy Ritchie: A Cinematic Genie (5:29) - A look at what director Guy Ritchie brought to the film.
  • A Friend Like Genie (4:32) - A look at how Will Smith reinvented the role of Genie.
  • Deleted Scenes (10:45) - Six scenes ("Falling Petals into OJ," "Jafar's Magic Orrery," "Anders' Gift," "Wrong Wishes," "Silly Old Fool" and "Post Yam Jam Debrief").
  • Bloopers (2:07)
  • Music Videos (11:34) - Three music videos from the movie ("Speechless," "A Whole New World" and "A Whole New World (Un Mundo Ideal)").

Aladdin is available from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment as of September 10th, 2019. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 2 hrs. 8 min.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on May 22nd, 2019.

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