Aladdin (2019)Overview -
Guy Ritchie's Aladdin (2019) fails to cast the same magical spell as Disney's original animated classic, but Will Smith and Naomi Scott make it a tolerable watch. The Blu-ray boasts a beautiful 1080p video and an excellent 7.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack, but only a few supplements. Worth a Look for fans who aren't planning a 4K upgrade.
A street rat frees a genie from a lamp, granting all of his wishes and transforming himself into a charming prince in order to marry a beautiful princess. But soon, an evil sorcerer becomes hell-bent on securing the lamp for his own sinister purposes.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
You can read our full thoughts on Guy Ritchie's Aladdin (2019) in our review of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray HERE.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment brings Aladdin (2019) to Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack with a flyer for a Disney Digital Copy. The Region Free, BD50 disc sits comfortably on the panel opposite a DVD-9 copy of the movie. Both are housed inside a blue, eco-vortex case with an embossed, glossy slipcover. At startup, the disc commences with skippable trailers before switching to a menu screen with the standard options, music playing in the background and full-motion clips.
The live-action remake whisks audiences away to a whole new world on a magically colorful and beautifully animated 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode.
Right from the start, the presentation is a vibrant feast for the eyes, showering the fictional city of Agrabah with a sumptuous array of tans, yellows, and oranges. Even better is the extensive collection and elaborate costumes that come in hot pinks, purples, teals, rich marigolds and magentas with golden yellow hems and other accessories. Likewise, primaries are richly flamboyant and striking, especially the variety of reds and blues from Aladdin and Genie.
The freshly-minted transfer also parades onto Blu-ray with spot-on contrast and brightness balance, displaying brilliantly clean and crisp whites in the clothing, the palace walls, and various tapestries. Inky, raven blacks bathe many sequences with stygian, midnight shadows without sacrificing the finer details, providing the 2.39:1 aspect ratio with a lovely three-dimensional depth and cinematic appeal.
Shot on the Arri Alexa camera system, the HD presentation is largely razor-sharp with distinct, striking details in the intricately ornate costuming, in the weathered streets of Agrabah and the extravagantly baroque design of the palace. Facial complexions are high-revealing with lifelike textures, exposing every wrinkle, negligible blemish and pores in the cast. Keeping the video on this side of perfection, however, is a fair amount of softness in a few sequences, most of which are related to the extreme wide shots of the city and the CG imagery, particularly that of Smith's Genie. (Video Rating: 94/100)
The musical fantasy rides into home theaters with an excellent and overall enjoyable DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack, complementing the visuals well but is not the sort to have audiophiles soaring through the skies of Agrabah.
Given all the wildly fantastical action and copious display of magic, the surrounds are surprisingly silent for a majority of the runtime and noticeably lacking when Genie is at his most animated and clownishly silly. Occasionally, random effects pan through the sides and rears effectively, such as Genie or Iago flying about, but such moments are far and few in between, better at calling attention to themselves and easily localized than generating a satisfyingly immersive soundfield.
Most of the focus and attention is placed across the screen, making this a very front-heavy design that greatly favors the music over ambiance. To be fair, imaging is fairly broad and welcoming with a good amount of background activity fluidly moving between the three front channels. The soundstage also exhibits a great deal of warmth and fidelity in the song and dance numbers, but the mid-range weirdly feels uniform and limited with almost no movement whatsoever into the higher frequencies. The lower frequencies fare a bit better with a few moments providing the music and action with appreciable weight and presence. With well-prioritized vocals and excellent intonation in the singing, the lossless mix is ultimately a great listen for fans. (Audio Rating: 82/100)
- Aladdin's Video Journal: A New Fantastic Point of View (HD, 11 min): From Mena Massoud's personal collection of footage taken while on set and chatting with cast & crew.
- Music Videos (HD, 12 min): Three videos featuring performances by Naomi Scott in "Speechless" and two versions of "A Whole New World" Zayn, Becky G and Zhavia Ward.
- Guy Ritchie: A Cinematic Genie (HD, 6 min): Several minutes of praise for the director.
- A Friend like Genie (HD, 5 min): Will Smith on his performance compared to Robin Willaims.
- Deleted Song (HD, 2 min): With an intro by composer Alan Menken.
- Bloopers (HD, 2 min).
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 11 min).
Compared to its dearly beloved predecessor, Aladdin (2019) is a pointless remake, and on its own, the Guy Ritchie production is ultimately a mediocre musical fantasy. With only Will Smith, Naomi Scott, and the eye-catching stage production casting a hypnotic spell, the live-action adaptation of yet another of Disney's animated classics is terribly lacking the magic necessary to make it truly memorable.
As a Blu-ray, fans will enjoy the strong video and 7.1 DTS-HD MA presentations. Worth a Look
The film takes audiences on a magic carpet ride through 4K Ultra HD with a great-looking HDR10 presentation that doesn't really soar any higher than the Blu-ray while the Dolby Atmos soundtrack provides a slight improvement over its DTS-HD counterpart. Still, with a small set of bonus features, the overall UHD package is worth a look for fans and those curious to see Will Smith's take on the Genie.
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