Disney: Aladdin: The Return of Jafar

Aladdin: The Return of Jafar or simply The Return of Jafar is the first sequel to Disney's Aladdin.

Some time after Aladdin defeated the evil sorceror Jafar, he is living with Jasmine in the Sultan's palace in Agrabah, adjusting to his new life. Genie returns from a long vacation throughout the world, and has come to stay for good. Somewhere in the distant desert meanwhile, the geniefied Jafar and his pet Iago dig themselves out of the sands where Genie buried them. Iago abandons his master to start over, and soon finds himself in Agrabah again. Aladdin decides to take the former villain in after he saves him from some vengeful thieves. When Jafar is freed from the lamp by Abis Mal, a thief with a grudge against Aladdin, Jafar unfolds his plan to destroy his enemy and everyone he loves.

It was followed by Aladdin: The Series, and then Aladdin and the King of Thieves.

This film provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Abis Mal is the Iraqi version of George Costanza. Both characters are also portrayed by Jason Alexander.
  • Animation Bump: In the loosest sense of the term. The half done by the Japanese team is a smidgen better than that of the Australian-produced half. The "You're Only Second Rate" number and the scene leading up to it stands out in particular.
    • On the other hand, Iago's animation becomes significantly less lively once Japan takes over.
  • Anti-Love Song: Forget About Love (or rather, half of it is)
  • Arc Words: Whenever it's pointed out that genies can't kill, this response appears: "You'd be surprised what you can live through."
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: When Iago is in a birdcage begging for Abu to let him out
    Iago: C'mon! I've got a wife & three eggs! Imagine them hatching never knowing their daddy! C'MON! Open the cage! Open IT! Open it! OPEN IT!
    [Abu spots Rajah the Tiger nearby and opens the cage]
    Iago: Yeah that's more like it—Dah!
    [Sees Rajah snarling menacingly at him]
    Iago: CLOSE THE CAGE! Close it! Close it! CLOSE IT!
  • Badass Arm-Fold: Jafar comes out of the lamp as a huge red genie, folds his arms, hovers hugely and ominously, then leans in really close, scaring Abis Mal.
  • Bad Boss: Abis Mal, even before they upped his villainy a bit in the series where he pulls a You Have Failed Me on one of his mooks, was a genuinely terrible boss to his gang of thieves: Specifically, in the beginning, he was shown to keep the lion's share of the the plunder that he and his gang stole, and gave his gang a small pocketbag of change at best. It's also strongly implied that this wasn't the first time Abis Mal cheapskated his followers either.
  • Badass Decay: In-Universe with the Genie. It seems to come with being free, as he admits in Return of Jafar, where he struggles several times to get his powers to work right.
  • Bag of Spilling: Justified. The Genie gets noticeably nerfed in the sequels and television show, mentioning that his freedom from the lamp has reduced his powers. This culminates in a musical number where Genie Jafar (who Genie gave his power to and logically could not have been more powerful than imprisoned Genie) toys with and captures Genie with ease. Although he does maintain his apparent ability to perceive time and events as all occurring simultaneously, allowing for plenty of modern pop culture references and anachronistic objects to go around. Although in Aladdin and the King of Thieves he seems much more powerful than he was in this film. Maybe he just learned how to make the most use of his weaker powers.
  • Big Bad: Jafar, Aladdin's Arch-Enemy, returns in this movie.
  • Big "Shut Up!": from Iago to Jafar. "Hey, Jafar! SHUT UUUUUUP!" Also a Call Back - Jafar's last line in the first movie was one of these to Iago as the two were flung into the distance.
  • Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: Used three times by Iago, except referring to "strong words" instead of "ugly words." He uses it for "friend," "traitor," and "but."
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Iago. He opts to bail just before the final confrontation with Jafar. Just when things are looking bleak for our heroes, Iago comes charging into the fight and manages to snatch Jafar's genie lamp. Despite being injured by a magical blast, Iago is able to shove the lamp into a pool of lava, destroying Jafar and saving the day.
  • Clipped Wing Angel: Averted, unlike the first film. After being freed from the lamp by Abis Mal, Jafar's Genie form is extremely dangerous. During the final fight he quickly knocks out Genie, shatters Carpet into a million pieces, and turns the palace grounds into a lava pit that the heroes are almost burned alive in. They win only because of Iago's timely intervention and exploiting Jafar's single Achilles' Heel, destroying his dark lamp.
  • Darker and Edgier: A lesser example; while some elements are more lighthearted (Abis Mal, Genie) Jafar's plan to frame Aladdin for the murder of the Sultan, make Jasmine think he killed her father, and then kill Aladdin is pretty dark, especially when he gets within seconds of winning.
  • Disney Death: This movie loves this. Genie gets chucked across the garden but he's just unconscious, Carpet gets torn to shreds but it's just fine, and Iago gets blasted with lightning but "You'd be surprised what you can live through." Justified as in his genie form Jafar cannot actually kill people directly.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After Abis Mal failed to not only retrieve the plunder that Aladdin stole back from them and dispersed to the Agrabahian populace, but also get revenge on Aladdin when they encountered him at Agrabah's streets (and nearly got them arrested thanks to Iago knocking them back), Abis Mal's gang of thieves evidently had enough of their boss and tried to kill him on the spot after he retrieved some water from the well (the same well that Iago ditched Jafar's Lamp into earlier). It's averted, and not because they forgave him so much as they were scared off by Jafar being unwittingly released from the lamp by Abis Mal before they could deliver the killing blows on him.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Jafar plays this in an incredibly obvious version of this trope as Abis Mal's genie. He curtails any authority Abis Mal may have had with Jackass Genie tactics and threats of giving him A Fate Worse Than Death, and sets up the whole plan to best Aladdin himself.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: When Iago tries to redeem himself to Aladdin by trying to free the Genie from the crystal ball prison, Abu goes off on an unintelligible rant, to which Iago responds: "Do I insult your mother?"
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Abis Mal gets pressed into servitude after accidentally summoning the genie Jafar. Jafar accomplishes this by constantly threatening violence against Abis. (The hapless thief is aware that in his world, genies cannot kill, but Jafar keeps repeating ominously, "You'd be surprised what you can live through.") Also, Jafar is the epitome of the Jackass Genie, so it's not like he can make his wishes and be on his way.
  • Evil Laugh: Both a heroic example and a straight example within seconds of each other, respectively by Genie and Jafar.
  • Evil Overlooker: On the cover Jafar is menacingly hovering over the heroes by looking at them through a crystal ball.
  • Evil Plan: Jafar's Batman Gambit. Upon his release, he immediately comes up with a plan to retake Agrabah and kill all of his old enemies, relying on two people to help him accomplish this task: Abis Mal, and Iago. Both serve him out of utter fear, and Jafar almost gets away with all he has done. This includes having Iago lead Aladdin and the Sultan astray while Jafar imprisons the Genie, Abu, and Jasmine; chasing Aladdin down a waterfall and having him live so that he can return to Agrabah and be arrested for the 'murder of the sultan' - after which he would be humiliated by Jafar disguised as Jasmine right before his death. Had Iago not interfered, Jafar would have won.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Jafar gets his lamp dropped in lava, has an electrifying seizure, then explodes into dust. When this movie was released onto DVD, Disney actually tweaked the animation in this scene from it's original VHS release so that you don't see Jafar's flashing skeleton.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Implied. Genies may not be able to kill, but "you'd be surprised what you can live through."
  • Faux Affably Evil: Jafar even moreso than in the previous film.
  • Forgot I Could Fly: When Genie escapes from the orb Jafar put him in, Genie races through the castle and snatches Aladdin away from the execution stand, only to poof the rest of the protagonists to safety seconds later.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Jafar's true form of a huge red Genie is too much for thief Abis Mal, so Jafar spends most of the film looking as he did while human. Which only helped a little, since let's face it, even human Jafar is pretty intimidating.
  • Freeing The Genie: Jafar makes Abis Mal vow to make this wish. However, when it's most appropriate to do, Mal (very reasonably) gets cold feet.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Iago.
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door: Iago, switching sides three times and then conspiring with Cassim in King of Thieves.
  • Jackass Genie: Jafar is a natural at this, wasting Abis Mal's two wishes and implying that he could just as easily twist the third to get Abis Mal to work for him. This backfires later on when, after promising Abis Mal piles of treasures in return for wishing Jafar to be free; Abis Mal hesitates and asks in a Genre Savvy way if the treasure would disappear.
  • Jerkass: Jafar is this to Abis Mal.
  • Keep Away: The movie ends with Aladdin and his friends trying to get Jafar's lamp away from him and Abis Mal in order to destroy it, because according to Genie, the only way to kill a genie is to destroy his lamp before his summoner can wish him free (at which the genie becomes invincible afterwards). Jafar finds out about this, and as a result he traps the heroes in a pit of lava, with the lamp just out of reach. Fortunately, Iago the parrot shows up in time, grabs Jafar's lamp, and throws it into the lava. Cue Jafar getting electrocuted, turning into a skeleton, screaming throughout, and exploding violently.
  • Keep the Reward: Near the beginning of the movie, Aladdin saves the Sultan's life and the Sultan offers to make him Royal Vizier. In the end, he turns it down, because he says he wants to have adventures and see the world.
  • Killed Off for Real: Jafar is killed off for real. The Aladdin canon continued with three seasons of a cartoon series as well as a final movie, all without bringing him back, even though he is a relatively popular Disney villain. He does return in a Hercules crossover episode, in which he's still technically dead.
  • Light Is Not Good: Abis Mal mostly wears yellow and blue.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: In the final battle, Jafar petrifies Carpet when he and Aladdin try to reach Jafar's lamp. They subsequently crash, and Carpet is shattered in a hundred pieces.
  • Little "No": Jasmine when Iago is hit by Jafar's magic.
  • Loophole Abuse: Because he's now bound by the rules of the genie, Jafar can't kill Aladdin himself. So, it forces him to rely on proxies and indirect assassination attempts where he technically doesn't lay a finger on Al.
  • Meaningful Echo: "You'd be surprised what you could live through."
  • Meaningful Name: Abis Mal really is the pits!
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The main reason for Iago's Heel-Face Turn; he's sick and tired of Jafar constantly abusing him and pushing him around.
  • Negative Continuity: Genie mentions Hercules (who looks nothing like the Disney version, because well this was produced 4 years before Disney did Hercules) the problem? The Hercules the tv series (that takes place during teen Hercules's training) has a crossover with Aladdin. Indicating that the entire Aladdin series would have taken place before Hercules was even a famous hero!
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Aladdin tricking Jafar into becoming a genie saved the day in the first film. But when he gets loose in this film, Aladdin's created a foe with all of the Genie's powers and none of the morals. Way to go, Al.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • If Jafar had just swallowed his pride and actually treated Iago like somewhat of an equal after forcing him out of the Lamp instead of, well, ranting that Iago would have been stuck in the bazaar squacking "Polly Want A Cracker" had he not been involved, most of the movie would not have happened.
    • If Jafar hadn't mistreated Abis Mal and wasted his wishes with Jackass Genie antics, he would have been wished free before Aladdin and the gang could stop him. This seems to be one of Jafar's biggest flaws.
  • No Ontological Inertia: After Jafar's death, all the destruction he caused is reversed, with the lava pit closing back up, the palace getting restored, and Carpet reintegrated.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now: Near the end, Jafar has Aladdin and his friends at his mercy hanging over a lava pit. "Give it up, boy. You can never have my lamp, and there is no one here to save you this time." Cue Iago's arrival.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: The good guys really lay it on thick when Iago's (reluctantly) planning to betray them.
  • Off Model: There's some pretty sub-par animation.
    • Just look at Jasmine's face during the "Forget About Love" musical number.
    • For some reason Genie looks less like... well, Genie when he's voiced by Dan Castellaneta. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he's usually a darker shade of blue when Robin Williams is behind him. It's hard to explain but if you watch it you'll see it.
    • The Carpet looks less lively outside the first movie (as the intricate texture implemented through CG was replaced with a regular Cel-painted drawing).
    • Jafar in some scenes looks like he's being played by Captain Hook.
    • In one scene, the Sultan loses his eyebrows!
    • In many scenes, most notably the ones where Genie is present (The "Nothing Like a Friend" musical number) the colors of his skin overlap with other parts of his body, like his mouth.
    • This is also attributed to the sudden switch between two studiosnote  midway in the film.
    • During the "Forget About Love" number Aladdin is wearing his formal clothes. After the number ends (and it's still the same scene) he's suddenly wearing his street clothes.
  • Offscreen Inertia: Abis Mal (technically Jafar's master) is thrown out the palace window during the final battle and is quickly forgotten as the heroes fight Jafar, almost die, successfully kill him and happily plan for the future. It's only after the credits that we cut to a tree outside the palace with Abis Mal pitifully hanging by his pants.
    Abis Mal: Does this mean I don't get my third wish?
  • Off with His Head!/Public Execution: Attempted after Aladdin has been framed and condemned to die for "the murder of the Sultan". Fortunately, Iago does a Heel-Face Turn and breaks the Genie free from the glass bottle, and in turn, the Genie becomes a Big Damn Hero in flying at the speed of light and rescuing Aladdin a mere split-second before he is to be decapitated.
  • One-Winged Angel: Played with in that it's actually his original, real form at the start of the film, but Jafar decides to transition back into his gigantic Genie self for the final battle instead of the human he looked like for most of it. Unlike the first film, it's not in any way a Clipped Wing Angel.
  • Pilot Movie: The movie is essentially structured as a 3-part pilot to the series.
  • Retcon: It's pretty heavily implied that Aladdin and Jasmine are married at the end of Aladdin, when they kiss during the fireworks. As we see in this movie and obviously Aladdin and the King of Thieves, their wedding hasn't quite happened yet. It's mentioned by the film's directors on the DVD commentary that they felt that the ending may have been unclear on whether or not a wedding had happened, thus they actually felt that the Aladdin sequels were a good idea. The implication is that the very end of the original Aladdin actually occurs after the animated series and films that follow.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Jafar's biggest fault in thie movie, causing a carelessness and unnecessary cruelty that ultimately leads to his downfall.
  • Revenge of the Sequel: The title announcing Jafar's return.
  • Reverse Psychology: Iago's entire aim while singing with Jasmine in "Forget About Love," and it works like a charm - his over the top griping about how Jas should give up Aladdin causes her to remember how much she loved him with little fuss. In a fun twist, though, he really does think "all that mushy stuff" is disgusting, but he's willing to help them get back together anyway in order to help a friend.
  • Shapeshifting: Both the Genie and Jafar can do this. Genie takes advantage of this to disguise himself as Aladdin to distract Jafar during the final battle. If you look closely, Genie!Aladdin isn't wearing Aladdin's fez.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shrunken Organ: After Iago's presence been exposed to the palace, Genie tries to convince Iago to get Al & Jasmine to reconcile; One such method is then poofing up an x-ray over the parrot revealing a shrunken heart
    Iago: Jeez,! What're you tryin' to do, gimme a heart attack?
    Genie[appears as a doctor]: Aha! You do have a heart!
    [poofs up an X-ray over Iago revealing a tiny heart in his ribs]
    Genie: An itty bitty one, but it is there.
  • Supporting Protagonist: While Aladdin is the main character of the entire series, The Return of Jafar is really Iago's story.
  • Technicolor Death: When Jafar's lamp is destroyed, his skeleton is visible while he sparks with electricity, then he explodes into gold dust.
  • This Cannot Be!: "The street rat? Still alive!? NO!"
  • Three Wishes: A subversion. Abis Mal frees Jafar and also gets the standard three wishes, despite Jafar demanding he take him to Agrabah first so he can get revenge on Aladdin, then he'll give Abis Mal his wishes. Instead Jafar takes the Jackass Genie route and makes Abis Mal completely waste the first two, while saving the third one for getting himself freed from the lamp. Abis Mal never gets to do so in the end. Technically, Jafar does grant three wished- the treasure ship, not drowning, and the treasure chest. Bare in mind that in the first film, the Genie couldn't even save Aladdin from drowning without him unconsciously nodding his head (and could only save him from the Cave of Wonders because he thought that was a wish), so Jafar can either grant as many wishes as he wants, or decide which wishes count and which don't- Justified either way, since Jafar is the most powerful Genie in existence, and so can bend the rules even if he can't break them.
  • Too Powerful to Live: Jafar as an evil genie. After Genie explains that the only way to get rid of a genie for good is to destroy their lamp, Aladdin decides that they have to destroy Jafar once and for all. Jasmine even mentions beforehand that "He's so powerful!".
  • Troll: Jafar is clearly having fun tormenting Abis Mal for the sake of having fun doing it.
  • Villain Ball: Jafar saving Aladdin's life. When Abis Mal and several shadowy assassins on horseback (with enchanted horses, actually all Jafar) manages to force Aladdin down a waterfall, Jafar then telekinetically lifts the unconscious Aladdin away from the waterfall's rocks and places him safely on the continuing river. Abis Mal then proceeds to call out on Jafar for this, causing Jafar to almost attack Abis Mal before calmly informing him that he only delayed the inevitable for Aladdin, and that the true revenge was yet to come.
  • Villain Song: "You're Only Second Rate".
  • Villainous Breakdown: When Jafar sees that Aladdin is still alive, after his plan to have him killed fails.
  • Wham Line:
    Aladdin: It's the truth! Why don't you believe me?
    Jasmine!Jafar: Because we know you're lying!
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Double Subversion:
    Genie: [bold, heroic] HAHAHAHAHA, who's laughing now?!
    Jafar: Mmmuhahahahahahahahahahahaha! Why, I believe it's me.
  • Wild Card: Iago.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Jafar's death scene.
  • You Got Spunk: Jafar tells a captured Jasmine who's face he has grabbed: "Mmmm such spirit." In response, Jasmine tries to bite him.
    Jafar: Perhaps after a few days in chains, you'll be more kindly disposed toward me. Especially if you want your father to remain healthy!
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Iago defects from Jafar to the good guys for his own gain, and eventually starts to actually like them. Once Jafar comes back, however, he bullies Iago into becoming The Mole and uses him to capture them all, though Iago's clearly not happy about doing it.
    Jafar: That's what I love about you! You're so— predictable. A villain through and through.
    Iago: Yeah... no problem...