Written by Ron Clements, John Musker, Ted Elliott, Terry Russo, Burny Mattinson, Roger Allers, Daan Jippes, Kevin Harkey, Sue C. Nichols, Francis Glebas, Darrell Rooney, Larry Leker, James Fujii, Kirk Hanson, Kevin Lima, Rebecca Rees, David S. Smith, Chris Sanders, Brian Pimental, and Patrick A. Ventura
Directed by Rn Clements and John Musker
On a rainy summer afternoon, it’s sometimes hard to find something to do. When it seems we’ve watched the same films over and over, I can sometimes pull a DVD from the collection that we haven’t viewed in some time and sit back and enjoy it as if it’s brand new.
Such was the case with the Disney animated classic, Aladdin. It begins with the nefarious Jafar securing the last piece of the scarab to enter the Cave of Wonders. However, the cave, with its rich treasures, can only be entered by a “Diamond in the Rough”, which the street criminal he has chosen to help him most certainly is not.
Back in the marketplace, there is a hoopla surrounding the theft of some bread by Aladdin. The chase is on by the authorities as they attempt to catch him but he makes his escape, only to give the stolen bread to two children as bad off as he and his pet monkey and friend, Abu, are.
A parade follows as the latest Prince to call on Princess Jasmine comes through on his way to the palace. The Princess rejects him as she has every other suitor that has come to call on her. Her loneliness and feeling trapped in the palace like a prison motivate her to explore beyond the palace where she encounters Aladdin.
The two are immediately attracted to each other, but they come from entirely different worlds. However, Jafar recognizes Aladdin as being the one he is looking for. He brings him out to the Cave of Wonders where Aladdin and Abu enter with the promise of all the treasure they can manage once Jafar has secured what he desires, a mysterious lamp. Abu jumps the gun in that respect, and they find themselves trapped in the cave with a new friend, a flying magic carpet.
Aladdin does possess the lamp Jafar wanted, and when he rubs it, a Genie appears. The story takes on a breakneck pace at this point as the Genie grants Aladdin three wishes. There are only three hitches to those wishes. The Genie can’t kill anyone, he can’t make anyone fall in love with anyone else, and he can’t bring people back from the dead.
In order to win the heart of the Princess, Aladdin decides to become a Prince.
Will Aladdin and Jasmine find true love? Will Jafar recognize him when he comes to the palace in the guise of a Prince? Will Aladdin keep his promise to make his final wish that the Genie will be free?
The story is nice and sweet. There’s enough suspense and mild peril to keep kids interested without frightening them, although some of the scenes involving Jafar could spark nightmares. A good story like this does need a good villain, and Jafar is written and drawn that way.
The vocal talents are really good, although all of them are pretty much overshadowed by Robin Williams as the Genie. Other than Gilbert Gottfried as Iago, he’s the only well-known member of the vocal cast. This works better than some of Disney’s later animated films which feature an all-star lineup. I didn’t feel distracted by listening for the person first and the character second.
Robin Williams really makes the film and steals the show as the Genie. His comedy is perfect as the wise-cracking Genie who seems to take nothing seriously. He’ll cut into imitations of the likes of Ed Sullivan, Al Pacino, and others which is some of what makes the film funny for adults without distracting from what’s taking place to the kids. They think he’s funny as well as their parents, but the parents will get these jokes more. I love films that work at two levels, and this is one of the finest.
The sidekicks are cute. Although Gilbert Gottfried can get terribly annoying, Iago is a good companion for him. Brash and outspoken, it’s like he has to hide himself as a parrot to get over on those around him. Abu grunts and mimes his way through the film, getting his point across without having to become a talking monkey. Likewise, the magic carpet takes on a personality all its own as he befriends the unlikely duo of Aladdin and Abu.
The animation is great. This was the film where it first really dawned on me that they had to record the voices first and animate it later. This is apparent with Robin Williams’ fast style of comedy which seems to rip along non-stop at times and he ad-libs at times. That the Genie matched his voice perfectly took a talented team of animators
Funny lines, such as when Jasmine’s father laments “Her mother wasn’t nearly so picky…” You might miss it at first if you’re not paying attention. That’s one of the charms of the film. The jokes aren’t so in your face that I felt like I was being hit over the head with them, but are often subtle, throwaway lines that you can miss.
The music here is good as well. I really enjoy the original songs in the film. Alan Menken did a terrific job on songs that became classics such as A Whole New World and Friend Like Me. They are catchy and beautiful and something kids will learn to sing along to.
My six-year-old granddaughter and I watched Aladdin together recently. She hadn’t seen it in a while and thoroughly enjoyed it. She acted along with different parts, especially getting excited when the Genie appeared. Watch for a cameo by Sebastian from A Little Mermaid.
” A Whole New World music video by Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson
” Proud of Your Boy music video by Clay Aiken
” Disney Virtual DVD Ride: Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Adventure
” Inside the Genie’s Lamp, a 3-D Tour
” The Genie World Tour
” 3 Wishes Game
” Deleted Songs Found In The Disney Vault
” A Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin
” Pop-Up Fun Facts
” Aladdin Storybook
” Character Portrait Drawings
” The Senitype Film Frame
Categories: Movie Reviews
One of my favorites!
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Mine too. Robin Williams nailed it, as usual.