ALADDIN (2019) – A Blu-ray/DVD and Digital HD Review by John Strange
Earlier this year when I first saw Aladdin, I entered the theater with trepidation. Could Will Smith do justice to the role of the Genie? Could Guy Ritchie handle making a family film based on his previous films? I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw on the big screen.
Disney decided to take an animated story we already knew and loved and make a live-action version. Had they simply stopped there, this would not be anything special. This story has been reimagined to allow for a totally different personality in the genie role not to mention the addition of two amazing talents in Mena Massoud (Aladdin) and Naomi Scott (Princess Jasmine). No one could ever replace Robin Williams in our hearts but Will Smith does an amazing job in the modified role. It has more dancing and fewer voice impersonations.
And the story gives us a wonderful view of the Genie’s life after the cuffs come off! This is one of two things about the new version that I absolutely love. The other is that they gave Naomi Scott some great songs to sing. The songs that are shared by Aladdin and Princess Jasmine are wonderful. The Genie’s songs add a lot to the film’s new flavor.
Did I love the animated version? Yes, absolutely. Did I love the live-action? I am happy to say, yes! Each gave me an excellent experience. Each was an awesome film with their own brands of music and humor.
Now to my favorite part of these reviews, the bonus extras! The featurettes provided by Disney reside on both the digital and Blu-ray offerings. They are supposed to enhance your enjoyment of the film and these really do the job.
As always, I give you my favorites. This is tough this time as they are all great. “A Friend Like Genie“ addresses the big question you all approach this film with. Why Will Smith and how can he replace Robin Williams. He tells us that this was a question he had going in but after reading the reimagined story in the script he knew that the role was not making him a replacement for Robin. The role was both different and an homage to the performance that his predecessor gave. I agree. Each brought different talents and abilities to the role and made it theirs and theirs alone.
“Guy Ritchie: A Cinematic Genie” answers the many questions I (and I suspect many of you as well) had about the suitability of Mr. Ritchie for the director’s chair. After all, this IS the man who gave us Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch! But he also gave us Sherlock Holmes and its sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows so he knows how to shot humor with his action. It turns out that Guy had the desire to make a family film that his kids would love.
The deleted scenes are interesting but sadly the bloopers are (as usual lately) best left on the “cutting room floor”. There are four music videos (one that was deleted from the movie) that are very good. Two (adding in the song from the digital exclusive) have Naomi’s wonderful voice plus a third, which was sadly deleted from the film, that was a duet with Mena Massoud. “Speechless”, wow, loved the song and Naomi’s performance!
The other two music videos are duets of “A Whole New World” performed by ZAYN plus a different lady in each. They are both good, one is bilingual (English and Spanish).
Last was a decent addition, “Aladdin’s Video Journal: A New Fantastic Point Of View”. The filmmakers gave Mena Massoud a cell phone and asked him to journal his adventures during the making of the film. It’s nice but some of the footage looks like the filmmakers fudging a bit and adding in some additional footage to round what Mena shot.
So for the ratings. The film and overall package rating are a solid “Brand New”. I rate the bonus extras as a solid A! Get this one today!
- Guy Ritchie
- Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen, Jordan A. Nash, Taliyah Blair, Aubrey Lin, Amir Boutrous, Numan Acar, Alan Tudyk
DIGITAL PRESELL BONUS:
- MAKE WAY FOR PRINCE ALI – Take a look at the gigantic design extravaganza that came together for this scene of Genie-sized proportions.
DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE BONUS:
- “SPEECHLESS”: CREATING A NEW SONG FOR JASMINE – Follow the story of Jasmine’s inspirational song “Speechless,” written by Alan Menken, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul especially for this version of “”
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL BONUS:
- ALADDIN’S VIDEO JOURNAL: A NEW FANTASTIC POINT OF VIEW – Watch behind-the-scenes moments captured by Mena Massoud (Aladdin) in this fun, fast-paced look at his personal journey.
- DELETED SONG – “DESERT MOON” – Experience a moving duet performed by Jasmine and Aladdin, fully shot and edited, with an introduction by Alan Menken.
- GUY RITCHIE: A CINEMATIC GENIE – Discover why director Guy Ritchie was the perfect filmmaker to tackle this exhilarating reimagining of a beloved classic.
- A FRIEND LIKE GENIE – Discover how Will Smith brings talent, experience and his own personal magic to the iconic role of Genie.
- DELETED SCENES
- Falling Petals Into OJ
- Jafar’s Magic Orrery
- Anders’ Gift
- Wrong Wishes
- Silly Old Fool
- Post Yam Jam Debrief
- BLOOPERS – Laugh along with the cast and crew in this lighthearted collection of outtakes from the set.
- MUSIC VIDEOS
- “Speechless” – Music video performed by Naomi Scott
- “A Whole New World” – Music video performed by ZAYN and Zhavia Ward
- “ A Whole New World” (“Un Mundo Ideal”) – Music video performed by ZAYN and Becky G.
- 128 Minutes
- Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- A/1 (U.S. and Canada only)
- BRAND NEW
Selig Rating Scale:
BRAND NEW: Should add to your DVD collection at any cost
SALE ITEM: Worth owning, but try to catch it a sale
SECOND HAND: Plan to get it, but wait to buy it used
RENTAL: Worth taking a look at, but not owning
COASTER: Pick it up at a garage sale and use it for drinks
PULL!: Makes a great Trap Shooting target