Walt Disney Studios’ modern classic movie Aladdin is coming back to Blu-ray and DVD again. The animated feature, originally released in 1992, is set to be re-issued Sept. 10 alongside the home release of Disney’s live action/CG reboot of that movie. The upcoming Signature Collection re0issue of Aladdin is an interesting new presentation of the movie in large part because of its bonus content, which will be addressed shortly. The story at the center of the movie strengthens the re-issue’s presentation even more. The movie’s average price point rounds out the most notable of the movie’s elements and will also be addressed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Aladdin. All things considered, they make this latest re-issue of Aladdin a piece that is while not perfect, still a positive new re-issue of what is one of Disney’s most timeless movies.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s upcoming Blu-ray/DVD re-issue of Aladdin (1992) is a mostly positive new presentation of the movie. That is due in part to the bonus content featured with the movie. The bonus content is being addressed first in that the movie’s story itself is obviously not changed from its original 1992 presentation. The bonus content featured in this latest re-issue (which comes approximately three years after the release of the movie’s Diamond Edition re-issue) give viewers a little something old and something new. The old content carried over to this re-issue are the features about Aladdin’s life on stage, the brief segment featuring Robin Williams’ genie outtakes and the Disney Channel special “Unboxing Aladdin.” The new extras introduced in this re-issue, the singalong version of the movie, star Scott weinger’s retrospective on the movie and the introduction of two alternate endings that never made the final cut. For those who have never seen the bonus features from the previous Diamond Edition re-issue of Aladdin, the focus on Aladdin’s stage life is interesting considering its worldwide success. As is revealed in this feature, the musical almost didn’t happen because of the growing pains that it (and its cast) endured. Viewers learn that that play didn’t start on Broadway, but went from Seattle and on to Toronto before finally making its way to Broadway. Seattle and Toronto were used as test markets for all intents and purposes for the play. The extensive discussions with the lead cast and the musical’s creative heads give a lot of insight into the growing pains that were endured on stage and behind the curtains, such as the evolution of the flying carpet aspect and how to address the comparison between James Iglehart’s Genie and that of Robin Williams. Viewers will be interested to learn that Alan Menken and his creative partner Howard Ashman originally had plans to make a character for Genie more in the vein of a Cab Calloway/Fats Waller hybrid for him instead of the portrayal that Williams brought to the character. That approach is what was used for the stage Genie, and ended up proving successful.
The Genie Outtakes segment is brief, but still entertaining, especially for older viewers who will get the references. Viewers see firsthand here, the many impersonations that Williams did during the movie, but ended up on the cutting room floor. There are impersonations of Richard Nixon, John Wayne, Elmer Fudd, Wolfman Jack and Michael Jackson just to name a handful of famous figures spoofed throughout the movie, which ended up being removed or replaced. It serves to show even more, Williams wide range of talent in terms of comedic impersonation.
In terms of the movie’s new bonus content, one of the most notable new features is Scott Weinger’s retrospective “Aladdin on Aladdin.” Weinger, who was the speaking voice of the movie’s titular character, talks with his fellow cast mates from the movie, as well as his mom and the movie’s creative heads (including Alan Menkin) about the movie’s creation, everyone’s roles and their favorite memories of making the movie. Viewers will be interested to learn through this bonus that Weinger audition for Aladdin’s speaking voice and his singing voice, but failed the singing audition. Jonathan Freeman, the voice of Jafar jokes about having wanted to voice a villain for many years before taking on the role of Jafar while Gilbert Gottfriend talks with Weinger via phone and jokes about taking on the role of Iago. By connection, Ron Clements, one of the movie’s co-writers reveals that Gottfriend was not the first choice for the role. He reveals Iago was originally going to be British, but after Gottfried auditioned, that all changed. As if all of that is not enough, Weinger’s discussion with Menken reveals the song which Weinger auditioned and failed. That song was Howard Ashman’s “Proud of Your Boy,” Which was cut from the final movie, but is featured to this day in Aladdin’s stage presentation. This is where the bonus content turns somewhat downward.
There is so much discussion in the bonus features about the song in question – “Proud of Your Boy – but the song itself is not featured in whole as a bonus this time. It is presented however, in the movie’s 2015 Diamond Edition re-issue along with a group of other songs cut from the final presentation. With all the talk of that song and its impact on the movie’s cast and crew, it would have made so much sense to have included that as one of the carry-overs from the 2015 re-issue. To that end, it makes no sense why it and the other deleted songs were not included in this re-issues bonuses list. Hopefully they will be brought over with the next re-issue whenever it is released.
As much as Weinger’s retrospective does to make this latest re-issue interesting for viewers, it is just one of the re-issue’s most notable extras. The two brief alternate endings included as extras are important in their own right. That is because they actually serve to make the initial opening for Disney’s 2019 Aladdin reboot make sense. What’s more, they are certain to lead viewers to discuss whether they would have added anything to the 1992 movie had one or the other been included. On the one hand, they might not have, but on the other hand, either one could have put even more of a period to the story. To that end, it is nice to have those alternate endings. Between this brief extra and the more in-depth retrospective from Weinger and company, these two new bonuses and the inclusion of the previous bonuses collectively make a strong foundation for this latest re-issue of Aladdin. Sure, they leave viewers thinking they will probably have to keep the Diamond Edition (if they already own it) if only for the deleted songs feature, but that aside, they still make this a positive new collection of bonuses that audiences will enjoy.
The engagement and entertainment offered through the bonus content featured in Aladdin’s latest re-issue is just one part of what makes this presentation so appealing to the movie’s key viewers. Its story adds to that engagement and enjoyment. The story, presents plenty of comedy, action and romance for viewers of all ages. It’s a buddy comedy thanks to Aladdin’s friendship with Genie. It is also a coming of age story for Aladdin, and also a story about letting go of tradition that even promotes female independence and self-confidence. This aspect of Aladdin is a big part of the story’s success in its own right. That is because while it was presented in subtle fashion, that subtle approach of giving Princess jasmine such confidence and inner strength makes it that much more powerful. It is what Guy Ritchie’s re-write got wrong. Where Jasmine in the ’92 version was already a great role model for women (especially young women) everywhere, the Jasmine presented in the 2019 version was a way over-the-top, hear me roar, preachy Jasmine who was clearly a response to the MeToo movement. There is nothing wrong with female empowerment. Female empowerment is wonderful. However, the extent to which that empowerment went in Guy Ritchie’s version was far too extreme. It made her seem more like an uber feminist than just a straight out, strong, confident woman that viewers saw in the 1992 version of Jasmine. It makes this aspect of the ’92 version’s story that much more integral to its success. Even as Jafar reveals the true identity of Prince Ali and casts him to the ends of the earth, that is a big moment, but it is not so dark that it might be unsettling, so it is nice to keep that in mind, too. Simply put, every element of this movie’s story and how each plot element interweaves with one another makes this story unforgettable and honestly timeless. When this is considered with the importance of the re-issue’s bonus content, that primary and secondary content collectively makes for plenty for the movie’s target audience to appreciate. It also makes the movie’s average price point such that the noted viewers will find no problem paying that price.
The average price point of Aladdin is $27.99. That price was obtained by averaging prices at Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Amazon and Books-A-Million. A the time of this review’s posting, the movie was not listed at Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ online store. The price listed at Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Amazon is $24.99 while Books-A-Million’s price is the most expensive at $39.99. In other words, save for that one listing, viewers will find the re-issue’s price the same at each of the other noted outlets. Those prices are all below the movie’s average price and on par with so many of Disney’s other home releases in recent years. To that end, the movie’s price is money well spent by its most devoted audiences, considering that price comparison and the collective primary and secondary content featured in the movie’s new re-issue. When this is all considered together, the whole of Aladdin in its new Signature Edition re-issue proves to offer its own enjoyable magical spell for the whole family even despite the lack of one key bonus feature.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s upcoming re-issue of Aladdin (1992) is a positive new presentation of the modern classic musical movie. That is due in part to the collection of new and old bonus content featured in the movie’s new re-issue. There is one bonus not carried over that really should have been carried over from the movie’s 2015 Diamond Edition re-issue, but it does not kill the presentation. It cannot however, be ignored in its absence. The movie’s story is far more enjoyable than that of the movie’s new 2019 live action/CG reboot, and simply cannot be improved upon (or duplicated. Yes, that Robin Williams reference was intentional). The whole of the movie’s primary and secondary content makes the movie’s average price point, which is on par with Disney’s other home releases, money well spent by the most devoted fans of Aladdin. Each item is important in its own way to the whole of this re-issue’s presentation. All things considered, they make the movie a presentation that casts its own wonderful magic for the whole family. It will be available Sept. 10 on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. More information on the movie is available online now at:
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