Today I’m gonna be talking about Disney’s 1992 animated fantasy comedy film Aladdin. It stars the voice talents of Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin, Jonathan Freeman, and Gilbert Gottfried. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker in their third directorial pairing. Aladdin is based on an Arabic folktale and tells the story of a young street urchin named Aladdin, voiced by Scott Weinger. Aladdin finds a magic lamp that contains a Genie, voiced by Robin Williams, who can grant him three wishes. With some magical assistance from the Genie. Aladdin must use his street smarts to impress the princess and save the city of Agrabah. Do you know how there are just some movies you really connect with as a kid? Aladdin wasn’t one of those for me.
For years, I’ve been kinda confused about that. So many people I know consider Aladdin to be one of their favorite Disney movies and thinking about the movie, I couldn’t really remember anything specific I actually disliked about it. It was full of memorable and classic songs. It had Robin Williams’ endlessly creative portrayal of the Genie, and it had a whole slew of animal (and carpet) characters. So why didn’t I love it? Well, I think I finally figured it out. As a whole, the film feels childish. Now I know that sounds like a silly thing to say about an animated Disney movie. The tone of Aladdin is extremely different from any other Disney release. Even though it focuses on a romantic coming-of-age and self-discovery story, it plays out like a straight-up comedy. I have no problem with comedy.
Most of my favorite movies are comedies. I love the humor in Disney movies for the most part, but something about it in Aladdin just feels different. Much of the film’s comedy stems from Robin Williams’ work as the Genie. There’s quite a bit more referential humor than the typical Disney movie. That’s not where I take issue with it. What bothers me is how overtly slapstick the rest of the comedy is. It’s like the writers figured that the Genie’s jokes, impressions, and mile-a-minute references were good enough to cover all the dialogue. Then realized most of it would probably go over kids’ heads, so they decided to throw in some visual gags to balance things out. Despite this qualm, I still really do enjoy the film.
How awesome is that? So Aladdin might never have been my first choice when I was looking through my VHS tapes back in the day and it’s never gonna be one of my favorite Disney movies, but it’s still a movie that I can put on and enjoy. I can still root for Aladdin, I can still smile hearing Robin Williams again, and I can still wish I had a magic carpet to fly around on. Aladdin 1992 might not be the diamond in the rough for me, but I’m glad this movie isn’t stuck in the Cave of Wonders. Alright, let’s talk about the pros and cons. Pro number one has gotta be Robin Williams as the Genie. He injected so much fun and life into that character and I really can’t imagine what the movie would’ve been like had he not gotten the role.
He brought his signature blend of improv and impressions, which really sets this movie apart from other Disney films. It’s certainly not the only movie to make pop culture references, but I think it’s the most prolific in that regard. They might be anachronistic and a lot of them went over my head when I was a kid, but now as an adult, I can really appreciate what Robin Williams did with the Genie. The second pro is Jasmine.
Things like the narrator bumping his face into the “camera” at the beginning of Iago flying into. The wall and being temporarily flattened. Those kinda things felt suited for the Aladdin tv show but seemed excessively goofy and juvenile for the movie. My second con is the Sultan’s gullibility. It’s so frustrating every time I watch the movie. I don’t mind his happy-go-lucky personality and I know Jafar had the whole hypnotism thing going on, but come on! The Sultan couldn’t have looked at Jafar the first time he met him and thought “Hey, I think this menacing-looking guy with the parrot and snake-head scepter should be my top advisor.” I’m gonna give Aladdin 3.5 out of 5 paws.
It’s got a lot of things I like, but the goofy physical comedy and generic romance prevent . This one from ever being one of my go-to Disney films. I would recommend Aladdin to anyone who’s a fan of the Disney Renaissance Era. If you enjoy a more structured plot in your animated films or want a more adventurous and comedic take on the classic princess story. Then this one is probably gonna be for you. Also, if you like Robin Williams, you’ve gotta check out his largely improvised comedy in this movie. If you liked Aladdin 1992, I would recommend you check out both Pocahontas and Mulan for some more strong Disney princesses and adventurous plots.
If you loved Robin Williams as the Genie and want to see more of his referential impression improv style in a family movie. Alright, a couple of questions for you guys. Number one: Have you seen the original Aladdin? If so, what’d you think of it? And number two: If you found the Genie’s lamp, what would your three wishes be? Be sure to leave your answers in the comments below so we can get a discussion going.