Disney’s Aladdin has always been one of my favorite classics of the Disney Renaissance, and apparently it was the same for millions of viewers as it went on to have video games, a TV series, and even a few so-so direct-to-video sequels. Now 23 years later this legendary film comes to Blu-ray for the first time in Aladdin: Diamond Edition. Cleaned up to look even better than ever and packed with loads of special features, you’ll want to pull this genie out of the lamp for the whole family to experience.
Aladdin (voiced by Scott Weinger of Full House fame) is a young street rat…err…guy who is trying to get through life in Agrabah the best way he knows how, which is avoiding palace guards while stealing whatever food he can with the help of his monkey friend Abu. At the end of the day, he’s tired of being poor and longs for a better life like the rich people have there. Meanwhile Princess Jasmine (voiced by Linda Larkin) is tired of being rich and trapped in the royal palace while longing for freedom, which leads her to runaway in disguise and bumps into Aladdin. The two quickly fall in love while one adventure after another happens, as the evil vizier Jafar tricks Aladdin into entering the Cave of Wonders and retrieving a magic lamp that contains the hilarious Genie (voiced to legendary perfection by Robin Williams). To say more would spoil the fun and mystery of the movie, but trust me when I say you’ll love every minute as you watch.
To say I enjoyed Aladdin is a an understatement, as it’s easily one of the best video releases I’ve seen this year. I haven’t seen the movie since the 90’s, so watching it again and in high definition was quite the treat. Everything from the amazing artwork and animation, to the equally awesome songs and soundtrack just come together perfectly. Then there’s Robin Williams as Genie that completely steals the show with his rapid fire, comedic genius that’s just a wonder to behold and effects viewers even more so due to his tragic passing.
If that wasn’t enough, there are loads of special features here that will keep viewers busy for who knows how long, as even I couldn’t get through all of them. There’s two sets of audio commentaries for starters, one featuring directors John Musker and Ron Clements joined by producer Amy Pell who discuss how it was bringing the film to life. The second set has film animators Andreas Deja, Will Finn, Eric Goldberg, and Glean Keane taking viewers behind the scenes on how they animated the characters, which turns out to be some pretty interesting stuff. There’s plenty of other extras such as the nearly two hour “A Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin” that is hosted by Leonard Maltin, some deleted scenes and songs, a featurette on the Aladdin broadway show, and more.
But the one I loved the most is the newly made “The Genie Outtakes” where viewers get to see a few minutes of deleted improvised dialogue Robin Williams did for Genie. While Williams is never shown, Disney threw in some storyboard art pieces while also showing what part of the movie where these pieces would’ve fit / looked like had these scenes stayed in the film. This extra alone is worth the price of admission, as you can see just how much Williams touched those around him as well as see his brilliance at work.
Aladdin: Diamond Edition is a must have Blu-ray for your collection, as it’s easily one of this year’s best releases. Disney really took their time restoring this 1992 classic and making it look like an animated film that was released recently. The loads of special features included serve as a fitting tribute to not only Robin Williams, but to all involved in the making of the movie. So hop on your magic carpet and head to your local cave of wonders to pick up this magical film, and get ready to experience an amazing arabian night.