Aladdin - Platinum Edition
Walt Disney Home Entertainment -
1992 - 90
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
If youï¿½re in the mood for another top-shelf release from the people at the magical world of Disney, Aladdin - Platinum Edition will not disappoint. Part of the string of respectable Disney titles in the late 1980s and early 1990s--The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King--this animated fun-fest has something for everyone. It has eye-popping animation and musical numbers for the little tikes, a love story for the girls, and bad guys, snakes, and magic for the boys. Add to that a truly wonderful voice performance by the always over the top Robin Williams as the boisterous Genie of the Lamp and you have a very entertaining 90 minutes of animated revelry.
Aladdin At The Cave Of Wonders
Our tale starts in the streets of fictitious Agrabah, where Aladdin and his squawking pet monkey Abu--voiced by legendary voice talent Frank Welker--are out ï¿½acquiringï¿½ something to eat by, uh, ï¿½permanently borrowingï¿½ it. Theft-justification aside, Al and little Abu are obviously very street wise and used to evading the thick-necked palace guards. These skills comes in handy when the lovely Princess Jasmine decides to stray from the palace and almost gets her hand cut off when she is unable to pay for an apple from one of Agrabahï¿½s ï¿½friendlyï¿½ street merchants. When Al rescues the fair maiden, they share a day together that both of them obviously quite enjoy. That is until the palace guards finally get their man, despite the protests of the young princess.
So how do you get a sacred lamp into the hands of an incarcerated street urchin? Well thatï¿½s a little harder than just punching it up on Amazon.com. The nefarious Jafar--Grand Vizier to the Sultan of Agrabah--has an underhanded scheme to get the lamp for himself and make himself rich, powerful, and hopefully better looking. Sadly for him, the Cave of Wonders doesnï¿½t let riff raff like him in, with or without an appointment. So Jafar and his mangy parrot Iago--voiced by the annoying but funny Gilbert Gottfried--have found out who could safely access the lamp without ending up a desert artifact: Aladdin.
To make a long story short--and letï¿½s be honest, youï¿½ve all already seen the movie 47 times--Al wakes the Genie, stops the bad guy, saves Agrabah, and gets the girl. He also manages to learn some valuable life lessons about honesty, friendship, and loyalty along the way. Not too bad for a kid that was stealing bread and apples just a few days ago. All kidding aside, Aladdin is the kind of title that would do twice as well today as it did in 1992. It is well animated, well cast, and overall just well done. Kudos to Robin Williams who truly makes this movie--as is proved by the relative failure of The Return of Jafar which he wasnï¿½t in. Aladdin and the King of Thieves was watchable with Willams back as the Genie.
The video department is where animated titles--as well as CGI titles like Shrek--are almost above reproach. Unless you really miss the boat, the DVD is going to look good. Aladdin - Platinum Edition does not miss the boat. With its first-ever digital presentation, the restoration and remastering has Aladdin looking better than it ever has. That means that all the bright colors and visual effects you remember from VHS and Laserdisc now look even better. The Genieï¿½s blue luster, Iagoï¿½s flaming red feathers, and all the wondrous colors of Agrabah are brought to your 61ï¿½ plasma--if youï¿½re lucky enough; Iï¿½m not--with newfound brilliance.
With its platinum line of releases, Disney unveiled their latest new enterprise: the Disney enhanced theater audio mix. As often happens with Disney, they lucked out. These audio mixes are great. THX certified and Disney-tweaked to boot, your speakers will be busy. Every poof of the genie, swipe of a sword, and rush of wind is captured with new-found depth and breadth. The bass is better--which is glaringly apparent at the Cave of Wonders--and the use of the surround channels is good. Itï¿½s not an explosion-laced action-fest, but for an animated title, Aladdin bumps.
Two words: original content. Disc one would probably garner an 8 ï¿½ or a 9 all by itself. With deleted songs, deleted scenes, music videos, pop up fun facts, and two audio commentaries, disc one stands well on its own. When you toss in disc two with its host of games and activities and a whole backstage Disney section, you can and will get lost on this 2-disc DVD set. Thank goodness for the full color map enclosed with your purchase. For my money, the 100% original, developed solely for the DVD release content is the most interesting. In line with their other platinum titles (Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King so far), the original content is very good. I really liked the ï¿½Inside the Genieï¿½s Lampï¿½ guided tour (6:10), with a cameo voice appearance by Robin Leach, as well as ï¿½Aladdinï¿½s Magic Carpet Adventure: A Disney Virtual DVD Rideï¿½. The magic carpet adventure is just a nice addition to an already very solid release. Buy this one and just get lost for a few hours.
Aladdin is quite simply one of the best animated titles of the last 15 years, and is far more entertaining than the barely rental-quality titles many studios are pumping out nowadays that capture the desperate parent crowd. This A-list animated title should definitely have a spot on your shelf. If youï¿½re a Disney nut, go ahead and spring for the ultra-deluxe-superdy-duper triple-platinum-five-diamond collectorï¿½s gift set. This title is worth it.
[dvd reviews archive]