Disney’s Aladdin Blu-Ray Release Pays Tribute to Robin Williams

AladdinDiamondBlurayRev smallWhen 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.

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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

Aspect Ratio:1:85:1

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

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyAladdin

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DisneyAnimation

Website: http://movies.disney.com/aladdin

WWE and The Flinstones tag-team for “Stone Age Smackdown”!

After teaming up with Scooby-Doo and the gang at Wrestlemania, the Superstars of the WWE are going “pre-historic” and hitting the road to the town of Bedrock and an encounter with The Flintstones!

Check out the details in the following press release, watch the trailer, and then catch up with me for my commentary at the bottom of the post!:

WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND WWE STUDIOS’ ORIGINAL NEW ANIMATED FILM THE FLINTSTONES& WWE: STONE AGE SMACKDOWN IS SET TO RELEASE MARCH 10, 2015

Starring WWE Superstars John Cena® and Vince McMahon Available for the First Time on Blu-Ray™ Combo, DVD and Digital HD

NEW YORK, NY (January 15, 2015 )– The Flintstones join forces with WWE and go back to the Stone Age in the all-new animated film, The Flintstones & WWE: Stone Age Smackdown, co-produced by WWE® Studios and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Timed to debut leading into WrestleMania 31, this all-new original movie is available on DVD, Blu-ray Combo, and Digital HD for the first time on March 10, 2015. Rated the #2 greatest cartoon of all time by TV Guide, the Flintstones’ return to the center ring will be sure to deliver high-octane action for fans of all ages.

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Only an appearance in a Flintstones feature could get The Undertaker to come out of retirement!

Watch the trailer after the jump!

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Doctor Puppet Visits “The Planet That Came For Christmas”

With the Doctor Who Christmas Special just a day away, Whovians can whet their appetites for a new Timelord adventure and enjoy this delightful animated holiday feature from the folks behind “Doctor Puppet“!

If you’ve never heard of them before, this is from the Doctor Puppet YouTube Channel: “Doctor Puppet is a Doctor Who fan series made by a team of professional artists and musicians. It’s a labor of love. The puppets and animation are created in a tiny New York City apartment. The music and vocals are produced and recorded in England.”

Yesterday they posted their newest short called “The Planet That Came For Christmas.” It wonderfully captures the spirit of the Christmas specials using the same stop-motion technique that fans of the classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” enjoy:

Happy Christmas everyone!

“Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Lost Missions” are released on Blu-Ray

As I mentioned in a  previous post, with the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” drawing closer, it’s getting more and more difficult to wait. For me, it’s very much like waiting for Christmas when you were a kid!

Luckily, there are plenty of goodies out there to keep me – and fellow Star Wars fans – occupied. For instance, I’ll be sitting down and portioning out episodes from the latest Blu-Ray edition of The Clone Wars animated series, which hits store shelves TODAY! Here are the details:

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS: THE LOST MISSIONS

Blasts onto Blu-ray™ and DVD November 11th, 2014

Synopsis: Against a backdrop of ever-shifting loyalties, uneasy alliances and ancient hostilities, the conflict between the Republic and the Separatists ramps up, setting the stage for Darth Sidious’ ultimate act of treachery against the Jedi. In these uncertain times, some of the deepest mysteries of the light and dark sides of the Force are revealed as an intrepid clone trooper uncovers a shocking conspiracy, Anakin Skywalker’s closest relationship is tested to its limits, and Master Yoda makes a discovery that could forever change the balance of power in the galaxy.

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Voice Cast: Tom Kane as Narrator, Dee Bradley Baker (TV’s “Phineas & Ferb,” “American Dad,” “Ultimate Spiderman”) as Clone Troopers, Matt Lanter (TV’s “90210,” “Ultimate Spiderman”) as Anakin Skywalker, James Arnold Taylor (TV’s “Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.,” “Jonny Test”) as Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ashley Eckstein (TV’s “Sofia The First,” “That’s So Raven”) as Ahsoka Tano

Read more after the jump!

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Lucasfilm Ltd. brings animated “Strange Magic” to theaters January 23. 2015

With Star Wars fans anxiously awaiting the release of “The Force Awakens” in December of 2015, it’s nice to know that there are going to be a few geeky films to whet our appetites in the meantime. May of 2015 will see the release of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which still seems like an eternity away for me.

Now it looks like I’ll be able to score a fantasy fix even sooner, with word of a new animated fantasy feature from Lucasfilm Ltd.!

The film is called “Strange Magic” and is based on a story by George Lucas, who appears to be returning to the territory that he last staked out in “Willow.”

Oh yeah, and it’s coming out in January!

Read the details after the jump…

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“Star Wars: Rebels” merchandise & toyline arrives!

When you consider that the very first Star Wars movie didn’t have any toys available at its premiere, it’s unheard of to not have any products based on the property on store shelves these days.

Now that Star Wars is part of the Disney family, they’re not wasting any time releasing toys and other goodies to promote the new animated series Star Wars: Rebels.

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From the press release:

Glendale, Calif. (September 22, 2014) — Disney Consumer Products has unveiled an intergalactic assortment of products celebrating the release of Star Wars Rebels, the new Disney XD animated television series which debuts October 3rd on Disney Channel and continues on Disney XD starting October 13th. With all new exciting adventures and memorable new characters, Star Wars Rebels will introduce a new generation of fans to the Star Wars galaxy, inspiring new lines of figures, spaceships and lightsabers, apparel and accessories, home décor, books and more from best-in-class licensees including Hasbro, LEGO, Mad Engine, Rubies and Jay Franco.

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