God I love this movie. This was the first Disney movie that I saw more than once in the theater. When it came out in 1992 I took everyone I could to see it (the only other Disney film I did that with was The Lion King in 1994). I loved everything about it, Howard Ashman (who passed while the film was still in development), Tim Rice and Alan Menken’s songs and score, the pacing, the imagery, the dialogue, the moments, and Robin Williams.
The picture and sound have been wonderfully restored and the image looks great, and all this one does is bring back fantastic memories for me. I remember buying the CD of the soundtrack before I even saw the film (with the original lyrics in the opening number that were changed shortly after the film opened), and grabbing it on VHS as soon as I was able to order it.
It’s a classic story with beautiful songs, and honestly, serves as a wonderful testament to Williams’ comic ability – I think animating him was the only way some people could keep up with him and his rapid-fire delivery.
The songs still resonate, the animation still looks stunning, and every time I hear any of the dialogue I am transported back, and my love for Disney grows anew. The film won two Oscars, Best Song, Best Score, and they continue to endure, as I journeyed once again with Genie, Aladdin, Jasmine Abu and the Carpet. I love this one so much.
The extras on this edition, like all the Signature Collections are full of fun, and the joy of film making. There is a commentary by producers/directors John Musker and Ron Clements, joined by co-producer Amy Pell, as well as one featuring the supervising animators, Andreas Deja, Will Finn, Eric Goldberg and Glen Keane.
There’s a chat with John Musker and Ron Clements at Disney Studios, which gives us a look behind the scenes and their working relationship/friendship. A crash course on being a Genie with Genie 101, that is dedicated to Robin Williams, hosted by Scott Weinger – the voice of Aladdin as he takes the viewer through all the imitations Williams’ Genie delivers. There are also Genie outtakes, which are is a gem to see as Robin improvs his way through his role.
There’s also the alternate ending, a look at the original voice cast, and a look at Scott Weinger, then and now as he reflects on the film.
Of interest to theater goers is a fascinating look at the Broadway adaptation of the film, and how they adapted some of the magical moments and characters in a whole new way for the stage.
This is yet another jewel in the Signature Collection series from Disney, and has definitely earned a pride of place among the titles there. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to the blu-ray today.