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Aladdin (1992)

Aladdin – Special Edition DVD

Imagine if you had three wishes, three hopes, three dreams and they all could come true.

Directed by:

Ron Clements & Jon Musker

Rating: 10/10

Running Time: 90 minutes

US Certificate: G UK Certificate: U


These days we take it as read that all the big animated releases will be accompanied by a voice-over cast of A-list celebs. Just look at ‘Shark Tale’: it’s participating ensemble of such major Hollywood big-hitters as Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renee Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Jack Black and Martin Scorsese would be practically unthinkable in most live-action flicks – yet, in animation, we’ve come to expect it. ‘Aladdin’, with the ingenious casting of Robin Williams as its hyperactive motor-mouthed Genie, is the movie that kicked-off the trend.

Loosely based on the tale of the same name from ‘The Arabian Nights’, this captivating toon tells the story of street urchin Aladdin (voiced by Scott Weinger). The slightly-gullible young chappy is conned by the Sultan’s scheming vizier Jafar into heading inside a hidden cave and poking about for a musty old lamp (prompting a score of references to Raiders of the Lost Ark). Of course it all goes King Kong and poor Al is left trapped in the cave with no-one to keep him company but pet monkey Abu and a newly-discovered magic carpet. At least, that’s what he thinks until he rubs the lamp and out pops Genie – and, let me tell you now, he ain’t never had a friend like this.

Three years before this one came out, directorial pairing Ron Clements and Jon Musker launched a Disney renaissance with The Little Mermaid, arguably the Mouse House’s best effort since ‘The Jungle Book’ way back in 1967. Here, they go a step better, bringing us a nigh-on perfect piece of feature-length animation. It’s fast-paced, it’s romantic, it’s got a good tight storyline, the music’s fantastic (who here doesn’t know the words to ‘Friend Like Me’ or ‘Whole New World’?) and, thanks to the efforts of both Williams and U.S. stand-up Gilbert Gottfried as the blackly-comic parrot Iago, it’s also very funny.

Films like this one serve as a reminder that it really wasn’t all that long ago that Disney were getting their 2D flicks spot-on. Compared to their more recent attempts such as Home on the Range, Treasure Planet and the near-sacrilegious Jungle Book 2, ‘Aladdin’ truly is a “diamond in the rough”.

It's Got: A thrilling chase, a wondrous place, for you and me!

It Needs: To be watched over and over again. This one’s a more than worthy addition to anyone’s DVD collection, young or old.

DVD Extras This 2-Disc Special Edition truly is one of the best DVD packages I’ve ever come across – even the bonus material has its own bonus material!! Disc 1 contains deleted songs, deleted scenes (generally in storyboard format, which if anything makes it even more interesting), audio commentary with the option of pop-up fun facts, and some specially made music vids (including ‘Newlyweds’ Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey singing ‘Whole New World’ – well, even the best of DVDs have got their weak spots!). Disc 2 is where they keep all the interactive games, including a virtual magic carpet ride which kids will love and a guided tour of Genie’s lamp. Best of all though is the mind-bogglingly extensive documentary ‘Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin’, which, if watched in its entirety, lasts for over two hours. Alongside that there’s a featurette on composer Alan Menkin, a stills and publicity gallery, a look at how the artwork for the film was chosen, and a handful of trailers. For anyone with even half an interest in animation, it’s a must-have. DVD Extras Rating: 10/10


Aladdin and the King of Thieves, The Return of Jafar


One of Disney’s finest moments – seeing a film as good as this one almost makes sitting through guff like ‘Home on the Range’ worthwhile.