- The Washington Times - Friday, October 9, 2015

Disney’s animated classic gets a digital upgrade and triumphantly returns to home theater screens in Aladdin: Diamond Edition (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Rated G, $39.99).

Older viewers can now share with a new generation the tale of a commoner in Agrabah falling for the Princess Jasmine while in a battle over a magic lamp with the deliciously evil Grand Vizier Jaffar and his parrot sidekick Lago.

The irresistible blend of traditional animation, fun songs from Tim Rice and Alan Menken, and a certain wise-cracking genie made the 90-minute effort directed by Ron Clements and John Musker a family favorite since its theatrical debut back in 1992.

That big, blue genie came to life courtesy of the vocal talents of the late Robin Williams and showcased the actor’s ability to hilariously improvise at a frenetic pace.

His schizophrenic imitations of such legends as Groucho Marx, Ed Sullivan, Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson and Peter Lorre offers some heavy-duty belly laughs for viewers.

It’s latest version shines for a truly impeccable transfer to Blu-ray, highlighted by gorgeous blues and purples during nighttime and dusk scenes, the roller-coaster effect of magical carpet ride in the Cave of Wonders and eye-popping colors throughout that make the cartoon look three-dimensional as it fills home theater screens (1.85:1 presentation).

As expected for the vaulted Diamond Edition, owners get near many extras from the DVD Platinum edition release from 2004 as well as some new goodies.

My clear favorite from the new content are outtakes of Robin William’s work as the genie. The 9-minute collage has rough animation synced to his, once-again, hilarious vocal performances. The guy was a true master at finding ways to elicit a laugh from near every age.

Now, go back to the vaults to find such enlightening resources, such as a 70-minute branching documentary on the film — touching on its story origins, music, animators and voice talent — and a pair of optional commentary tracks.

They offer one with Mr. Musker, Mr. Clements and co-producer Amy Pell, and another with supervising animators Andreas Deja, Will Finn, Eric Goldberg and Glean Keane.

Also, several featurettes include a look at the work of Alan Menken, a review of some inspirational concept art by the directors, deleted scenes, deleted songs, music singalongs and a music video of Jessica Simpson (remember her?) and Nick Lachey singing “A Whole New World.”


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