Disney’s Latest ‘Aladdin’ Re-Issue Offers More Magical Fun For The Whole Family

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:

 

 

 

Website: http://Movies.Disney.com/Aladdin

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DisneyAladdin

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DisneyAladdin

 

 

 

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‘Aladdin’ Reboot Home Release Is A Wish Fulfilled For Disney’s, Movie’s Most Devoted Fans

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios

Fans of Disney’s Aladdin will get their wishes granted very soon with the home release of the movie in two formats.  Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will release the live action reboot of the classic 1992 movie on DVD/Blu-ray combo pack on Sept. 10 alongside a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack re-issue of the noted modern animated classic.  The live action/CG reboot was originally planned for an Aug. 27 release, but that date was later pushed back to Sept. 10 to coincide with the re-issue of the animated feature instead of separating the pair into two separate release dates.  The upcoming home release of the reboot is a presentation that will appeal to the most devoted fans of the original offering.  That is due in part to its story, which will be addressed shortly.  The bonus content featured with the movie’s home release also plays into that appeal and will be addressed a little later.  The movie’s average price point, considering the story and bonus content plays its own part in the whole of the movie’s home release and will be addressed later, too.  When it is considered along with the noted content, the whole of said content and pricing makes the new live action/CG reboot of Aladdin a presentation  that while maybe not totally magical, still a wish fulfillment for the most devoted fans of the movie.

Walt Disney Studios’ upcoming home release of its live action/CG Aladdin reboot is a presentation that is not as magical as its source material.  It is however, a wish fulfillment for the most devoted fans of that property.  That is due in part to the story at the center of the movie.  The story does keep some of the elements of the 1992 animated feature from Disney, but it also features a number of changes from that source material.  Whereas the ’92 version offers plenty of back story and development early on in its 90-minute run, this story ignores all of that background, opting instead to open in the market scene in which Aladdin and Jasmine first meet.  On one hand, it detracts from the story significantly in that it gives the story a decidedly abrupt feeling.  At the same time, Director Guy Ritchie and co-writer John August – the pair wrote the movie’s screenplay — somehow manage to make the situation work despite the abrupt feeling.  Another notable change to the story finds Aladdin going to the cave of wonders with Jafar out of costume.  Unlike the case in the 1992 movie, Jafar does not try to hide his identity in this story.  He instead opts to try to seduce Aladdin with promises of power if he helps him.  Why Ritchie and August chose this route is anyone’s guess.  There is no discussion on this choice in the movie’s bonus content, which does not even feature any bonus commentary.  Oddly enough, despite being so clearly different, the change does still manage somehow to work in its own right.  These are just a couple of the changes that are evident throughout the course of this reboot.  There are lots of others that viewers will find themselves.  For all of the changes that fill the story, there are some moments that remain mostly the same.  The moment when Aladdin reveals to the sultan that Jafar has been controlling his mind is still there, albeit in a slightly different way the famed cave of wonders sequence finds some slight variances, but is still largely the same, as is the market scene.  To that end, the story does present a variety of changes, but for all the changes, they are balanced out with elements from the ’92 Aladdin’s story, making the movie worth at least the occasional watch.  The balance of the original story elements and the altered elements is just one element that will appeal to the most devoted fans of Aladdin.  The bonus content that is featured with the movie’s forthcoming home release plays into the movie’s presentation just as much as the story.

The bonus content featured with the movie’s upcoming home release are the standard behind-the-scenes making of featurette, a discussion with Ritchie about the movie’s genesis and creation, a discussion with Will Smith about taking on the iconic role of the genie, a collection of bloopers and deleted scenes, and a song that was cut from the movie.  The making-of featurette gives the relatively commonplace element — that is included in almost every movie ever released – a new twist by presenting it through the use of a smart phone.  That approach doesn’t really do much to add to the feature’s appeal, but the revelations of how each of the movie’s key sequences were made will interest viewers.  Case in point is the carpet ride sequence.  Viewers learn how it was made using a hydraulic rig, blue screen and video screens so that stars Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott would be able to coordinate the song’s verses and choruses with the different scenes within the sequences.  Audiences also learn about Massoud’s Jordanian heritage as the post-Cave of Wonders scene is shot in the Wadi Rum valley in Jordan.  Massoud openly talks about the emotional impact that shooting in the valley had on him.  It is an interesting aspect that is certain to engage viewers.  There is also a light hearted discussion in this featurette about the making of the Prince Ali introduction sequence that features comments from Scott and Massoud’s co-star Will Smith.

Ritchie’s discussion about the movie’s genesis and creation is even more certain to engage and entertain viewers than the “making of” featurette because it offers comment from Ritchie himself about his role in the movie.  He states in his interview that he decided to join on the movie because he is a family man, saying, “I live within a world of children. I want to make films my family can see.  So I was driven to remake this movie.  Creatively most engaging is that it is a musical within this fantastical world.”  Smith adds his own comments, noting, “Once I heard how he [Ritchie] was going to shoot some of these sequences, I said ‘Yes, ok, I’m in.”  The movie’s musical creative heads add their own comments to the segment, as do Scott and Massoud.  All things considered here, the whole of this segment proves to be one of the movie’s most notable bonuses.

Another of the most notable bonuses is the discussion on Smith’s role as the genie.  One of the movie’s most important roles, Smith talks here about his trepidation about taking on a role that – as he said himself – Robin Williams made so iconic.  It shows that Smith knew it would be difficult to live up to Williams’ legacy as the beloved character, but still tried to do just that while also honoring the work that Williams did in the role.  Given, Smith does not live up to that legacy, but knowing that he wanted to pay tribute to Williams and his work while also doing his own thing does create a new respect for Smith in this aspect.

The collective bonus gag reel and deleted scenes are interesting additions to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  The gag reel is brief, but will put a smile on viewers’ faces.  The deleted scenes are important because audiences see for themselves that some scenes were wisely cut while others, such as Aladdin and genie’s talk immediately after Prince Ali’s introduction should have been included in the movie.  It is a great, light hearted moment that while brief, would have added more enjoyment to the movie. Keeping this in mind along with everything else noted, it becomes clear that the bonus content featured in Aladdin’s home release plays its own key part in the movie’s overall presentation.  When it is considered along with the balance of the movie’s new and old story elements, the two together make the movie worth the cost for the movie’s most devoted fans and the most devoted Disney fans.

The average price point of Aladdin is $27.05.  That price is obtained by averaging prices at Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million.  Amazon had the movie listed at the time of this review’s posting, but the listing did not feature prices for any of the movie’s platforms.  Disney’s shop links back to Walmart, Target and Best Buy.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers’ price of $30.32 is well above the average, while Best Buy is, in this case, the best buy with a price listing of $24.99 along with Target, which lists the same price.  Books-A-Million’s price listing of $22.99 is just below that of Barnes & Noble, but is still well above the average.  Walmart lists the movie at $24.96, so is it below the average, just like Target and Best Buy.  Keeping in mind so many of Disney’s movies tend to list in store in the area of $24.95 – and very close to that number – the noted prices are right on par with those other noted Disney flicks.  To that end, consumers won’t feel that they are getting ripped off when they purchase this movie, especially considering the balance of the story’s old and new content and the bonus content.  All things considered, those elements and the pricing make this presentation of Aladdin one that the most devoted Disney and Aladdin fans will appreciate.

The upcoming home of Disney’s new Aladdin reboot is an interesting work.  It is certainly a work that will appeal to a very target audience.  It is not for everybody.  That is due in part to a story, which presents a variety of changes to the story presented in the movie’s 1992 presentation.  That alone has made it a very divisive presentation.  That being the case, it will appeal largely to those most devoted fans of the movie and of Disney.  Those same viewers will appreciate the bonus content featured in the movie.  The movie’s average price point and separate price listings are in range with those of other previous releases from Disney.  Keeping all of this in mind, the movie’s upcoming home release gives the most devoted Disney and Aladdin fans something in this presentation to enjoy at least occasionally.  More information on Aladdin is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://Movies.Disney.com/Aladdin-2019

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DisneyAladdin

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DisneyAladdin

 

 

 

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Voiceplay Releases New ‘Moana’ Medley Video

Fans of Disney’s hit movie Moana have new reason to celebrate.

A cappella outfit Voiceplay has just released a video of the group performing a medley of songs from the movie’s soundtrack via Yahoo! Music.  The group was joined by Broadway star Rachel Potter (The Addams Family, Evita) for the performance.

Courtesy: Reybee, Inc.

Voiceplay member Eli Jacobson discussed the new medley and its partnership with Potter for the video in a recent interview with Yahoo! Music’s Lyndsey Parker.  He said during the interview that developing its take on the songs and bringing Potter on for the project was natural.

“The music is just truly inspirational and we individually felt connections to the characters,” Jacobson said.  “We also all share the dream of providing music and voicing for an animated film and knew that Rachel would have a great take on Moana.  The fact that our kids and families love the music is just really just a huge plus.”

Potter said she was just as excited to work with Voiceplay as the group was to work with her.

“I was just so elated to get to do a Moana medley with these guys,” Potter said.  “It really captures the emotions throughout the entire film in just a few minutes and it’s something Jude (Potter’s son) and I can enjoy for years to come.”

Potter’s collaboration with Voiceplay on its new medley is not the first time that she has worked with the group.  She also worked with the quintet on The Phantom of the Opera and Charlie Puth’s Attention.   Voiceplay itself has already crafted a medley of popular Disney showtunes including numbers from The Little Mermaid, The Lion King and Aladdin as part of Disney’s celebration of its 20th anniversary on Broadway.

More information on Voiceplay’s new Moana medley is available online now along with all of the group’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.thevoiceplay.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thevoiceplay

Twitter: http://twitter.com/thevoiceplay

 

 

 

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Shout! Factory, Nickelodeon To Release Classic Nicktoon’s Full Series Set This Fall

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Fans of Nickelodeon’s classic 90s Nicktoons are getting a special treat just in time for Halloween courtesy of Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon.  Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon will release Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: The Complete Series on Tuesday, October 8th, just in time to plan those Halloween get-togethers.  The entire series’ four-season run is contained on eight discs in the upcoming release.  The first two hundred people to order the set will receive a free 12” x 18” collectible lithograph.  It can be ordered direct from the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/218263.     

Aaahh!!! Real Monsters follows the adventures of monster friends Ickis, Oblina, and Crumb as they attend scare school and learn how to properly and effectively scare humans.  The classic Nicktoon ran for a total of four seasons from 1994 – 2000.  During its run on Nickelodeon, it received a nomination for a Daytime Emmy in the category of “Outstanding Achievement in Animation.”  The show boasted an all-star voice cast, too.  Charlie Adler (Rocko’s Modern Life, Tiny Toon Adventures, Aladdin), Christine Cavanaugh (Rugrats, Dexter’s Laboratory, Recess), Gregg Berger (Garfield & Friends, The Garfield Show, The Transformers), Tim Curry (Clue, Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, The Rocky Horror Picture Show), and James Belushi (Life According to Jim, Hey Arnold!, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius) round out the cast. 

For more information on previous and future releases from Shout! Factory, audiences can go to the official Shout! Factory website, http://www.shoutfactory.com or the official Shout! Factory Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.

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Disney/Pixar’s Brave is anything but

Courtesy: Disney/Pixar

Once you reach the top, there’s nowhere to go but down.  Who hasn’t heard or spoken that old adage or some variant thereof?  It’s an adage that applies to so many avenues of life.  That also includes movies.  And it especially applies in the case of Disney/Pixar’s newest movie, “Brave.”

“Brave” is little more than another update of Disney’s classic 1976 movie, “Freaky Friday.”  That original starred Barbara Harris and a young Jodie Foster.  It was most recently updated with a reboot in 2003 starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan in the shoes of the previous pair.  Now with “Brave”, the mother/daughter team has been filled by Emma Thompson and Kelly Macdonald.  The only thing that separates the previous pair of movies from “Brave” is that in the case of Merida and her mother, Elinor, they don’t switch brains.  Rather, in this update, Merida comes of age when she asks a witch to conjure up a spell that would “change” her mom.  After the spell turns her mom into a bear, she finally begins to realize things in a different light.

Merida’s not the only one who learns some valuable lessons, either.  Her mom learns some lessons, too.  Elinor realized that it was wrong of her to press her views on Merida.  She learns that needs to honor Merida’s decision on when or if she’s ready to marry.  Even the princes brought for the betrothal competition agreed with Merida and voice that opinion, too.  They state that they were all pushed into things by their fathers.

The story behind “Brave” is anything but brave.  It’s not the only problem with the overall presentation, either.  Being that it bears a “PG” rating, parents should be aware that the reasoning behind that rating is justified.  There is some partial nudity in the movie.  To be more exact, audiences get glimpses of some bare backsides at a couple points.  Those moments were really unnecessary.

“Brave” is not Disney/Pixar’s best work.  That honor goes to the companies’ 2009 movie, “Up.”  But while it’s not the best from the pair, it’s not the worst, either.  Merida is a wonderfully positive role model for today’s younger female audiences.  She’s a very confident, strong willed and independent figure.  That’s a big change from most of Disney’s classic princesses.  As much as Merida’s a great role model for today’s yougner female audiences, there’s no denying her link to at least two classic Disney princesses.  She has Ariel’s hair and Jasmine’s strong willed personality.  Keeping that in mind, and that it lifts liberally from Disney’s 1976 original “Freaky Friday” proves that as good as “Brave” may be, there is still no beating the classics.  Parents would be much better served sharing the original Freaky Friday with their children before blowing their money on this not so new movie from Disney and Pixar.