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I love this movie. As I mentioned in my review of Robots, I consider Aladdin an animated masterpiece. Does it hold up? Definitely.
I know some people think that Aladdin is a Vanilla Protagonist due to The Genie, Princess Jasmine and Jafar being such interesting and scenestealing characters but he isn’t. Indeed, Aladdin is an interesting and likeable character.
Aladdin is flawed, he starts off as an urchin, orphan and streetrat who steals out of necessity repeatedly nearly getting himself and Abu killed as a result of so doing. But it turns out that despite being a thief he actually has a heart hence the Pet the Dog moment wherein he gives his stolen loaf of bread to those children and standing up to them against the Prince leading to his being treated as a ButtMonkey and disdained as a streetrat leading to an emotional "I Want" Song “Streetrat, is that really all they see, when will they realize there’s so much more to me”. As well as Aladdin’s ill-advised efforts to impersonate the Prince and disregarding the Genie’s instruction to tell the truth. And the fact that after he’s been left for dead by Jafar instead of raging against his enemy, he blames himself “this all my fault. I should have freed the Genie when I had the chance”. And I like how Aladdin defeats Jafar by realizing that they are Not So Different and thus anticipating that Jafar would likewise become convinced that he’s nothing without the Lamp and refuse to give up what that grants him.
Robin Williams is absolutely hilarious in his role as the Genie “So why don’t you ruminate whilst I illuminate the possibilities. I’m in the mood to help you, dude and you ain't never had a friend like me”.
I like how intelligent, independent and headstrong Princess Jasmine is and the bumbling but goodhearted Sultan was an entertaining character.
And I love the Magnificent Bastard Jafar as a villain and his Talking Animal NonHuman Sidekick Iago.
And I love the songs in this cartoon.
The only part of this movie I don’t love is the Sultan suddenly having the power to let Princess Jasmine marry whomever she seems worthy though he hadn’t been able to do that before. (Though I still like that scene and the Happy Ending it enables).
All in all, this is a great movie.
Aladdin performs an arguably perfect balancing act between a "real" Disney movie and a Disney parody. The parody elements are why Nostalgia Chick accurately described Aladdin as the "first Dreamworks movie".
Most subsequent Disney Animated Movies that followed, weigh toward one or the other end of the spectrum (parody vs. classic). For comparison, look at "Tarzan" compared to "The Emperor's New Groove". The former would be considered a "real" or "classic" Disney film, while the latter would be considered a "parody". Both films involve elements of both while taking an extreme to one side. The only movie that compares to Aladdin's balancing is "Hercules" which.... is another review for another day.
For an example of Aladdin's balancing, look at the scenes leading up to "a whole new world". Aladdin is trying to charm Jasmine by pretending to be the "suave" Prince Ali. Previously the Carpet and Genie are playing chess, and the Carpet wins. Losing prompts Genie to add more dated pop-culture references (Rodney Dangerfield and Jack Nicholson). Later on, the carpet retains its anthropomorphic tendencies as the song "a whole new world" is being sung. This transition from parody to real Disney is seamless with the gradual use of background music to set the mood shift.
Speaking of that song, I think "a whole new world" is a fairly underappreciated song when compared to other songs in the modern Disney age. Granted it was number one on the charts when it came out and it tends to be remembered fondly, but not really appreciated. What distinguishes this song is that its sung in its entirety by the two romantic parties. No choir or back up singers. That hasn't really been common in Disney films since, and only had Sleeping Beauty's "Once upon a dream" as a predecessor. I once read online (not so reliable, I know) that Brad Kane and Lea Salonga actually had a crush on each other when they first met in the studio. If that's true, it would explain why the passion between the characters seem so real in that song (I'm not a romantic guy but this is an exception for me).
I would like to see this movie get the IMAX treatment other Disney films received. Re-master the CGI with the technology we have today. Scenes like the Cave of Wonders seem kind of awkward rather than cutting-edge like they did in 1992.
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