The Genie grants your wish: Aladdin released on Blu-ray

Oct 12, 2015- Permalink

It’s hard to believe that the classic Disney animated film Aladdin hit the big screen twenty-three years ago. The joyous, high-energy fun, anchored by Robin Williams’ performance as Genie, is now available on Blu-ray with the release of the Diamond Edition. A new generation can now enjoy the adventures of Aladdin, Abu, Princess Jasmine and Genie as they try to escape the clutches of the evil Jafar.

Aladdin is a hand-drawn animated film, but used computer animation in a few scenes and to aid in colouring of the drawings. This disc has a 1080p transfer with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The result is, in a word, gorgeous. Yes, there’s some colour banding. Yes, there’s some occasional macro-blocking, but none of it takes away from the whole presentation. The colours are as rich as the fabrics being sold in the bazaars. The black levels are inky (traditional animation pun not intended) and the contrast is excellent. Textures on the line drawings and flying carpet are crisp. If you asked a genie for one wish regarding the video presentation, he’d deliver this.

What does Genie give us on the audio side? An English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack as well as French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. We also get English, English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The songs and action are well-served by the surround speakers and the low frequency output gives a firm floor to every joke and musical number. The dialogue is very clean and intelligible, which is so necessary to keep up with Robin Williams’ lightning-fast ad libs.

On the extras side, we have a combination of materials new to this disc and older material that appeared on DVD releases. The new materials include 9 minutes of audio outtakes from Williams, directors John Musker and Ron Clements and animator Eric Goldberg that are interspersed with storyboards, “Genie 101”, where the voice of Aladdin, Scott Weinger goes over some of the many impersonations Williams’ character performs, a look at the collaboration of the co-directors Ron and John, a look at the discs Easter eggs, and look at the Broadway production of Aladdin hosted by Darren Criss. Older extras include audio commentaries by the directors and supervising animators, a full-length documentary on the making of the film, deleted scenes and songs, a shorter musical documentary, music videos and trailers.

Simply put, you need to add Aladdin to your collection.