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:
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