Aladdin (2019) 4K Blu-ray Review
|Pros||Good use of WCG and HDR, songs come through nice and clear.|
|Cons||No need for this live-action remake, not as crisp as the best 4K titles, the soundtrack is fine but lacks emphasis.|
|Summary||The live-action version of Aladdin can't hold up to the original with less spark and fun, more padding, and no Robin Williams. The image and audio are fine so if your kids loved it, the disc will be nice for them, but the original is even better.|
|Negative Formats||ARRIRAW (3.4K), ARRIRAW (2.8K)|
|Peak Brightness||4000 nits|
|Stars||Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott|
|Review Date||September 4, 2019|
A live-action remake of the Disney animated classic, Aladdin is a street rat who manages to obtain a lamp with a Genie inside. Granted three wishes, he has to decide how to try to win the heart of Princess Jasmine and avoid the nefarious Jafar.
Aladdin Movie Review
Disney has been on a live-action remake kick recently. I haven’t seen Jungle Book (which was supposed to be the best) or Lion King, but did see Beauty and the Beast. While it was fine, it didn’t offer anything over the original which is one of the finest films Disney has made. After watching the updated Aladdin directly after the animated one, I have to say I wish they had left the old one alone.
For the most part, the story is as you remember it. There is Aladdin, who lives on the streets, and Princess Jasmine, who lives in the palace and has to marry a prince. The Sultan and Jafar are still around, as is the genie. There are a few deviations in plot here and there (Jasmine has a handmaiden, who provides a love interest for the Genie) but overall it follows the original. It just lacks the spark and overall fun of the original. It’s longer, with 30 minutes of extra padding that it doesn’t need, and while Will Smith can be very good on screen he just can’t replace Robin Williams. Some of the jokes that are funny in the original only make you groan or cringe here, and Will Smith just can’t carry some of the songs the way the original cast could.
Given the choice between the two, I see no reason to pick the updated Aladdin over the original. It adds a couple of songs that aren’t needed, pads out the runtime, and just isn’t as good overall. Everyone said Disney did a great job with the Jungle Book remake, but maybe they should stop with the live-action versions for a while.
Aladdin Technical Review
Aladdin was shot on Arri cameras at 2.8K and 3.4K resolution and is presented here in HDR10 and looks to be from a 2K digital intermediate. The MaxCLL and MaxFALL are both 0, just like the animated Aladdin disc, though the metadata indicates this was mastered on a Dolby Pulsar while the animated one was likely done on the recent Sony BVM LCD. With its vivid golds, bright costumes, fireworks, and other effects, Aladdin does a good job taking advantage of the HDR palette. It does feel like it comes up a bit short in resolution with the image never being as perfectly crisp and detailed as the better 4K discs, and even a smidge behind some of the 2K digital intermediate versions. I don’t see other issues to complain about like artifacts or shadow crushing, and the image looks good but just doesn’t pop off the screen as the best discs do.
The soundtrack is good, though it does run a bit quiet. There isn’t much dynamic compression here, but the subwoofer also isn’t used all that much. It does a good job with vocals and the songs, and you get the Atmos channels being brought in when needed but could always be used more extensively. It’s not a big, bombastic soundtrack (like, say, Godzilla or Into the Spider-Verse) but it’s fine.
Aladdin Special Features
- 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.
Aladdin Review System
Sony A8G OLED, Panasonic UB820 UltraHD Blu-ray Player, KEF Ci5160RL-THX Fronts, Ci3160RL-THX Center, 2x Ci200RR-THX Surrounds, 4x CI200RR-THX Atmos Speakers, Anthem MRX 1120 Receiver, Power Sound Audio Subwoofer.