Aladdin (1992)

Aladdin (1992)

Disney has seemingly always lumbered along plundering fairy and folk tales, sometimes egregiously and other times in a more transformative, artistic manner, and they’ve been a giant in the animation world for probably more than 70 years* now.

Ups and downs coloured that dominance of course and Aladdin landed during one of those ‘ups’ – during a mighty resurgence in popularity after the hit-and-miss period that was most of the 1980s.

Aladdin is noteworthy in Disney history for several reasons that I’m sure everyone is pretty much aware of – featuring Disney’s first non-European Princess, home to some killer songs and the knock-out performance of Robin Williams too, and also good enough in the eyes of the bean counters to get a remake this year.

Aside from those things, it’s a great story that seems equal parts One Thousand and One Nights and Roman Holiday.There’s memorable characters (not in the least being Jafar), a fantastic fictional desert setting, top notch use of vivid colour, animation and fascinating early CGI in some parts. (I know Pixar’s Toy Story gets a lot of attention as early innovators with CGI and obviously the technology pre-dates both films but that carpet ride was a big thrill in the cinema as a kid – looking back now I can almost see the theme-park ride tie-in :D).

For me, this Disney film has a great balance between comical sidekicks, music, romance, actual heroics, sacrifice and villainy, though if you’ve never seen Aladdin you won’t find any curveballs re: the overall story nor the tone, but it just feels like every aspect hits spot on. And following the success of The Little Mermaid audiences were no doubt more than willing to give it a chance (the monster-performance at the Box Office played that out too).

But, to jump back to that magic carpet ride before I finish, I think it’s a really perfectly-executed escape scene, from the pacing to the direction, the dramatic lighting and even the little break in tension for a spot of humour when Abu is clinging to Aladdin’s face, everything works for me:

And a final note, Robin Williams reportedly improvised heaps of material, allowing the team to pick and choose the bits they liked best, but here’s a classic song from Genie instead 😀

5 Stars

*And a studio for longer, just with smaller beginnings when compared to say, the big hit that was Sleeping Beauty.

5 thoughts on “Aladdin (1992)

  1. I have some mixed feelings about Aladdin and not just because I’m a former Disney fan. The hand-drawn animation is still impressive and Robin Williams certainly nails it as the Genie (may he rest in peace). Looking at it as an adult, I did raise an eyebrow with the lack of cultural accuracy or even how Aladdin and Jasmine have more eurocentric features while most of the characters have stereotypical Middle-Eastern looks. Of course, the original opening lyrics of “Arabian Nights” were very racist that Disney was forced to change it. I did see the remake albeit begrudgingly (LONG STORY), and it was okay. I liked how they got actors of MENA descent to play most of the characters while giving Jasmine a more active role, but it did feel like a money grab like several other remakes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, I forgot about the song! My DVD must have the edited version.

      And I’ve been curious about the remake, especially how Will Smith went – but also to see some folks from the Middle East in the film, yeah. I heard that Mena Massoud is not getting many auditions, which I hope isn’t true.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I believe the edited the song after the original VHS release if I’m not mistaken, so the DVDs would have the edited version from the jump.

        Will Smith is certainly not Robin Williams which we can certainly agree on. He did provide his own style and I did like some of the references like a stealth Fresh Prince pun or having a female character say “Just the two of us?” in a conversation with his human form. Of course, there was the awkward CGI stuff with the Genie though.

        Mena Massoud did a good job as Aladdin which I give him credit for. I hope that’s not the case with him not getting auditions. If it was, I hope it wasn’t because of the remake or god forbid his ethnic background (which is sadly a case even to this day).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ah, that makes sense re: the edited version.

          But great to hear Will Smith still does well and the writers still put some in-jokes in there, nice 🙂

          Same, I saw something mentioned online somewhere but surely there’d *have* to be folks who would hire him.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yeah, that was the case. The remake changed the opening lyrics to something more positive. It was a bizarre choice of having Will Smith sing it since he’s a rapper and not a singer, but that’s besides the point.

            He certainly did well by reinterpreting the character. The 90s kid in me got the in-jokes for the puns he does. I think there was one scene where he even does the Carlton dance for a few seconds.

            Mena Massoud isn’t my favorite actor, but he certainly is talented in acting and singing, so there have to be some people willing to hire him for a movie or two by now.

            Liked by 1 person

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