Is there a single culture the animation department at Disney hasn’t white-washed for the masses? Among the over overpraised cartoons in the studio’s entire canon, Aladdin explores what happens when a street urchin simultaneously falls in love with a princess and incurs the wrath of the evil sorcerer trying to destroy her father’s kingdom. Jasmine is another “free-spirited” type in the Barbie-doll tradition, a faux feminist who wants everyone to know that she can do everything the boys can, even with such a big bosom. Though the film’s milieu is ostensibly an Arab enchanted city, there’s nothing particularly Middle Eastern about the whole thing outside of the sand (who knew loveable tigers were popular outside of India!). Having spent considerable quality time with Aladdin dodging police officers and fruit sellers at the local market, it’s amazing Jasmine can’t recognize Aladdin beneath the turban. Seriously, it’s not like the animators have made it difficult for her: Every Arab male in the film is shady and sniveling (hell, even the evil Jafar’s pet parrot gets his name from Shakespeare’s “darkest” play, Othello), whereas Aladdin looks like Scott Wolf and sounds like Clay Aiken. Disney knows how to sell lies, but Aladdin is ultimately less offensive than patently ridiculous, mostly because its ethnic white noise is really just an excuse for Robin Williams—as a postmodern blabbermouthed genie who grants Aladdin three wishes—to put on the most elaborate, narcissistic circus act in the history of cinema. The actor once said, “Cocaine is God’s way of saying you’re making too much money.” Aladdin is proof that he was right.
Aladdin looks great, but not as good as The Lion King did on the two-disc DVD edition of the 1994 film Disney released last year. But because Aladdin wasn't re-released in theaters like The Lion King was prior to its video release, this DVD edition will not disappoint purists concerned that Disney might once again remaster one of their films from a newly updated version. With no deleted scenes or songs reincorporated into the mix, this is the Aladdin everyone saw back in 1992. Save for some noticeable edge enhancement, this is an absolutely pristine transfer. Even better is the aggressive and all-consuming Dolby Digital 5.1 "Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix." The film has certainly never sounded as good as it does here.
Disc One: Four deleted songs ("Proud of Your Boy," "You Can Count On Me," "Humiliate the Boy," and "Why Me?"), two deleted scenes (in one, Aladdin steals money from a swindler, which is apparently is more acceptable than stealing money from someone who makes an honest living), Disney song selections for anyone who wants to jump straight to the show tunes, a pop-up fun facts feature, two commentary tracks (one by the filmmakers, the second by the animators), and three music videos ("Proud of Your Boy" by Clay Aiken, "A Whole New World" by Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, and the original video of "A Whole New World" by Regina Belle and Peabo Bryson) with accompanying making-of featurettes. Disc Two: Numerous features ("A Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin," "Alan Menken: Musical Renaissance Man," and "The Art of Aladdin") that play better than the commentary tracks on the first disc, a series of 3-D games, and publicity goodies.
If you're addicted to cocaine, you don't want to miss Robin Williams's shrill performance in this 1992 Disney monstrosity. It's a great deterrent.