When I first saw the movie “Aladdin” at the movie theater in 1992, it made a tremendous impact on me. First, it made me actually like musicals. Sorry, I never got into “The Little Mermaid” or “Beauty and the Beast” like so many others did. Quite frankly, musicals were never my thing. But when we first meet Aladdin in the streets of Agrabah, evading the Sultan’s soldiers while singing about his “street rat lifestyle”, I was hooked. Add to that the subtle nods to “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and some spectacular action sequences, and I was reeled in. But it wasn’t until the Genie (voiced by Robin Williams) hit the screen that I was truly enamored with this world that “Aladdin” co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker helped bring to the big screen. I grew up on Williams as a part of my pop-culture world. His stand-up act, his appearances on television shows like “Happy Days” and “Mork and Mindy” helped shape my sense of humor and appreciation for the spoken word.
Nonetheless, it’s a bittersweet experience for me to watch Disney’s “Aladdin” on the new Diamond Edition Blu-ray. Don’t get me wrong, the transfer is immaculate and looks gorgeous on my big-screen HD set. I even loved the little running “Abu the Monkey” icon that appears on screen as the disc loads. But when you consider how much Robin Williams meant to the movie, viewing the film can bring a slight pang to the heart as Williams’ passing is something that still affects his fans.
Thankfully, the folks at Disney were mindful enough of this and included features that paid tribute to Robin Williams, most notably “The Genie Outtakes.” In this bonus feature, “Aladdin” directors Clements and Musker talk about working with Williams and share a number of outtakes that never made the final film. The outtakes are pretty funny, as you would expect, although you could see why they weren’t used. The number of celebrity impersonations Williams did while recording the dialogue of the Genie was staggering and a testament to his comedic talent, but in some cases the references were a bit too obscure for the audience. Still, it was a treat to see some of these takes brought to light for his fans to see.
That feature alone makes the “Aladdin” Blu-Ray/DVD Diamond Edition worth adding to your home library, but there are others, like “Genie 101” and the look at the making of the Broadway Musical that will please most Disneyphiles.
The disc is a wonderful tribute to Robin Williams and his talent. And it will remind each of us that we’ll never have a friend like him ever again.
Disney’s Aladdin: Diamond Edition Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Product Details
Synopsis: Disney’s beloved masterpiece will make your heart race and your spirit soar. Experience the laughter, adventure and Academy Award®-winning music (1992: Best Music, Original Song, “A Whole New World,” Original Score) for the first time on Blu-ray and Digital HD. And now Aladdin shines even brighter with never-before-seen tributes to the enchanting talent of Robin Williams, the “Genius behind the Genie”.
Voice Cast: Robin Williams (Jumanji, Night at the Museum) as The Genie, Scott Weinger (TV’s “Full House”) as Aladdin, Linda Larkin as Jasmine, Gilbert Gottfried (TV’s “Saturday Night Live”) as Iago, Jonathan Freeman (Aladdin: the Musical on Broadway) as Jafar, Douglas Seale (Rescuers Down Under, For Love or Money) as Sultan and Frank Welker (Mulan, The Smurfs 2) as Abu.
Producers/Directors: John Musker and Ron Clements (Moana, The Little Mermaid, Hercules)
Writers: Ron Clements and John Musker (Moana, The Little Mermaid, Hercules) Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean 1-4)
Music & Lyrics: Alan Menken – Music (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Howard Ashman – Lyrics (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast), Tim Rice – Lyrics (The Lion King, Evita)
Blu-ray & Digital Bonus Features: The Genie Outtakes – Robin Williams’ Genie outtakes are magically brought to life.
Genie 101 – Our host, Scott Weinger (the voice of Aladdin), takes us through the various transformations of the famous (and formerly famous) celebrity references of the Genie.
Ron & John: You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me – Directors John Musker & Ron Clements sit down and discuss the experiences of their long-running partnership together at Disney.
Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic – Join host Darren Criss as we take “a new fantastic point of view” at the story of how Aladdin went from a classic Disney animated film to become Broadway’s smash hit with Composer Alan Menken and others.
Unboxing Aladdin – Our host, Joey Bragg from Disney Channel’s Liv & Maddy, explore the Easter eggs and hidden secrets of Aladdin in this unboxing video.
Classic Bonus – ALL classic bonus from the original DVD release
DMA Exclusive: Deleted Song – “My Finest Hour” – Jafar takes the stage in this never-before-seen deleted song. Includes intro from Ron & John. (DMA exclusive)
DVD Bonus Features: Select Classic Bonus, including:
- Deleted Song / “Proud Of Your Boy” (Original Demo Recording)
- Deleted Song / “You Can Count On Me”
- Deleted Song / “Humiliate The Boy”
- Deleted Song / “Why Me”
- Deleted Scene / “Aladdin & Jasmine’s First Meeting”
- Deleted Scene / “Aladdin in the Lap of Luxury”
Ratings: G in US & Canada (bonus materials are not rated)
Feature Run Time: Approximately 91 Minutes
Audio: Blu-ray: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. DVD: English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.
Languages: English, French and Spanish
Subtitles: English (ESL/SDH), French and Spanish