Blu-ray/DVD Reviews

Category

Currently showing posts tagged Andreas Deja

  • Aladdin Diamond Edition (1992) Blu-ray Review

    Aladdin (1992)

    Director(s): John Musker & Ron Clements

    Starring: Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin, Jonathan Freeman & Gilbert Gottfried

    Released by: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    Centering on a local street thief in the Arabian city of Agrabah, Aladdin finds its title character falling hopelessly in love with the Princess Jasmine while utilizing wishes from a powerful genie to transform him into a prized suitor.  Hunted by the devilish Jafar for possession of the genie’s lamp, Aladdin must learn to accept his true self in order to win the heart of Jasmine and protect the kingdom from the evil sorcerer’s dark forces.  Scott Weinger (Full House), Robin Williams (Good Morning, Vietnam), Linda Larkin (Joshua), Jonathan Freeman (The Ice Storm) and Gilbert Gottfried (Problem Child) comprise the film’s vocal talent.

    In the wake of celebrated hits including The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin would continue to whisk audiences away to new, exotic locales and exciting adventures while elevating the era known as the Disney Renaissance to soaring new heights.  Originally pitched by the late Lyricist Howard Ashman (Oliver & Company, The Little Mermaid), Aladdin perfectly blends fantasy and romance with a stunning array of beautifully rendered characters each bursting with personality and humor.  From the frantic marketplace sequences of Aladdin evading pursuing guards to the high-octane, computer-generated journey through the Cave of Wonders and Aladdin and Jasmine’s enchanting carpet ride among the stars, Aladdin dazzles with magnificent artistry.  Complimented by gifted voice performances, the late Robin Williams’ turn as the beloved blue Genie eternally tickles audiences funny bones with his quick-witted energy and hilarious, if not slightly dated, impressions of celebrity personalities including, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arsenio Hall, Jack Nicholson and Peter Lorre.  

    Earning two Academy Awards for Best Music (original song and score respectively), Composer Alan Menken and Lyricist Tim Rice’s enchanting melodies and irresistible songs for “A Whole New World” and “One Jump Ahead” cement the film’s legacy as one of Disney’s most cherished achievements.  Enormously praised and credited as the most successful film of 1992, Aladdin continues to bring joy to a new generation of viewers with its immense heart and highly regarded animation demonstrating the very best of Disney’s seemingly endless talents.  

    Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment welcomes Aladdin into its illustrious Diamond line with a 1080p transfer, sporting a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.  Bursting with bold colors that erupt on screen while black levels read exquisitely inky, the results are most satisfying.  Furthermore, detail is top-notch while the computer-generated workings of the Cave of Wonders offer exceptional depth and clarity.  Long awaited for its domestic high-definition debut, Aladdin’s appearance is a wish come true.  Accompanied with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix, dialogue is excellently delivered with the delicacies of Menken’s score expertly prioritized while song numbers provide powerful punches leaving listeners singing in their seats.  Newly crafted special features include, The Genie Outtakes (8:53), Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic (18:53), Unboxing Aladdin (4:40), Genie 101 (3:59) and Ron & John: You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me (5:36).  In addition, vintage supplements include, Deleted Songs (13:57), Deleted Scenes (5:43), Music Videos for “Proud of Your Boy” Performed by Clay Aiken (2:20) joined by its Original Story Reel (2:18) and a Behind the Scenes of the Music Video (3:20) plus, “A Whole New World” Performed by Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey (4:14), a Behind the Scenes of the Music Video (3:46) and “A Whole New World” Performed by Regina Belle & Peabo Bryson (4:07).  Additionally, Disney Song Selection (11:28), Inside the Genie’s Lamp: Guided Tour (6:13), The Genie World Tour (3:14), an Audio Commentary with Producers/Directors John Musker and Ron Clements & Co-Producer Amy Pell as well as an Audio Commentary with Supervising Animators Andreas Deja, Eric Goldberg and Glen Keane are also included.  Finally, A Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin (1:10:52), Alan Menken: Musical Renaissance Man (19:55), The Art of Aladdin: Art Review with Filmmakers’ Commentary (8:45), the Original Theatrical Trailer (2:50), The Return of Jafar Trailer (0:43), Sneak Peeks at Disney Movie Rewards (0:20), Disney Parks (0:32), The Muppets (0:32), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (1:52), The Good Dinosaur (1:14), Inside Out (1:27) and Tomorrowland (0:50) along with a DVD edition and Digital HD Code conclude the extensive extras.

    Beloved more than ever by audiences of all ages, Aladdin is a magical tour de force that stands out as one of Disney’s most respected and crowd-pleasing efforts of the 1990s.  After much time, Disney’s overdue Diamond Edition release is well worth its wait with gorgeous sights, grandiose sound and sizable supplements to satisfy all street rats and riff raffs.  Desires for a high-definition magic carpet ride will have their wish granted with this essential release.

    RATING: 5/5

    Available October 13th from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Aladdin can be purchased via Amazon.com and other fine retailers.

  • Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition (1959) Blu-ray Review

    Sleeping Beauty (1959)

    Director: Clyde Geronimi

    Starring: Mary Costa, Bill Shirley, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Barbara Luddy & Barbara Jo Allen 

    Released by: Disney

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    Marking the final animated fairy-tale to be produced in Walt Disney’s lifetime, Sleeping Beauty has charmed viewers for 55 years with its enchanting artistry and the inclusion of one of its most memorable villains.  Celebrating this animation milestone, Disney proudly welcomes Sleeping Beauty into its prestigious Diamond Edition line and allowing viewers to experience Princess Aurora’s tale like never before.  Available for a limited time, re-experience the magic and wonder of this timeless Disney classic.

    Sleeping Beauty opens on the birth of King Stefan and Queen Leah’s baby daughter, Aurora.  After the evil, unwanted fairy Maleficent places a deadly curse on Princess Aurora, three good fairies, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, plan to protect her.  Unfortunately, as Maleficent’s will grows stronger, only true love will save the young Princess from certain doom.

    MOVIE:

    Perfectly achieving Disney’s intended desire of medieval art, Sleeping Beauty would reach soaring new artistic heights that are still marveled at to this day.  Deemed the most expensive Disney feature at the time, costing an astounding $6 million, Sleeping Beauty would ultimately fail to recoup its budget at the box-office.  Often criticized for its lack of character development, Sleeping Beauty has effectively cast its charming spell on viewers for decades, earning praise as one of Disney’s most beloved animated features.  While, Princess Aurora may suffer from being far too two-dimensional at times, it is Disney Artist Eyvind Earle’s color styling and design skills that keep Sleeping Beauty a sight to behold.  In addition, Marc Davis‘ design and execution of the evil Maleficent is the true showstopper of the film, casting a brooding cloud of melancholy in every scene.  In addition, comical interactions amongst the three good fairies and an exciting battle sequence between Prince Phillip and Maleficent, in dragon form, sends Sleeping Beauty off on a breathtaking high note.

    In production for nearly a decade before debuting, Sleeping Beauty stands proudly as one of Disney Animation’s finest efforts.  A slice of artistic perfection, Sleeping Beauty is not only viewed as a cinematic landmark, but its impact is firmly cemented in the original Disneyland where Sleeping Beauty’s Castle serves as its central icon.  Experiencing a new generation of recognition courtesy of Disney’s live-action Maleficent feature film, Sleeping Beauty remains a timeless tale that only occurs once upon a dream.

    RATING: 4.5/5

    VIDEO:

    Sleeping Beauty arrives with a 1080p transfer, capturing its original 2.55:1 aspect ratio.  Viewers searching for drastic differences in Disney’s Diamond Edition and their previous 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition release won’t find any.  Repurposing the six-year old transfer is hardly a negative as its existing appearance is quite remarkable. Colors are always bright and bold, the exquisite backgrounds are pristinely detailed and black levels impress with no crushing to be found whatsoever.  While, some digital tinkering may be at use, it is never harshly overused and stands as a solid example of how to properly execute its purpose.  Simply put, Sleeping Beauty looks perfect, leaving viewers beyond satisfied.

    RATING: 5/5

    AUDIO:

    Equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix, Disney once again repurposes the existing mix from the 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition.  No cause for alarm as the mix relays crisp dialogue, effective sound effects and beautifully balanced music from Tchaikovsky.  Intense sequences taking place at Maleficent’s dark castle and her final battle with Prince Phillip offer some of the tracks finest moments with wide, booming authority.  Complimenting the impressive video transfer, Sleeping Beauty’s audio treatment will easily delight.  

    RATING: 5/5 

    EXTRAS:

    While, severely lacking several special features from the 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition, Disney has ported over the impressive audio commentary featuring Film Historian Leonard Maltin, Supervising Animator Andreas Deja and Chief Creative Officer of Pixar & Disney Animation John Lasseter.  In addition, three featurettes, The Sound of Beauty: Restoring A Classic (10:50), Picture Perfect: The Making of Sleeping Beauty (43:32) and Eyvind Earle: A Man and His Art (7:33) have also been carried over.  Meanwhile, the Diamond Edition has supplied the following new features:

    • Deleted Scene: The Curse is Fulfilled (2:58): An omitted scene told through storyboards as Aurora engages Maleficent, in disguise, at the spinning wheel.  

    • Deleted Scene: The Arrival of Maleficent (1:58): An alternate, storyboarded take of Maleficent’s grand entrance.

    • Deleted Scene: The Fair (7:48): The three good fairies cast a protection spell over the castle in order for Aurora to live in protection.  Bored, Aurora sneaks off to a local fair for some fun.

    • The Art of Evil: Generations of Disney Villains (9:49): Lino DiSalvo (Bolt, Frozen) and Andrea Deja (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin) discuss iconic Disney antagonists as well Disney Legend Marc Davis’ countless contributions and talent.

    • @DisneyAnimation: Artists in Motion (4:27): Visual Development Artist, Brittney Lee (Wreck-It Ralph, Paperman), crafts an impressive model of Maleficent entirely out of paper. 

    • Once Upon a Parade (8:49): Sarah Hyland of Modern Family fame guides a group of children on a whimsical tour of Fantasyland and Walt Disney World’s latest Festival of Fantasy parade.

    • Beauty-Oke: “Once Upon A Dream” (2:32):  A sing-along segment featuring the iconic song.

    • Sneak Peeks

    • DVD Edition

    • Digital HD Code

    RATING: 3/5

    OVERALL:

    Although, lacking in more than several previously available special features, Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition will be an obvious purchase for Disney completists.  Keeping the out of print 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition handy for obvious reasons, the Diamond Edition of Sleeping Beauty offers the same, pitch perfect A/V specifications with a decent spread of new supplemental features.  Nearly unmatched in its artistic aesthetic and ushering in one of the most iconic Disney villains, Sleeping Beauty is a visual marvel that continues to dazzle viewers over half a century later.

    RATING: 4.5/5

    Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition is available now and can be purchased through Amazon.com and other fine retailers.