Aladdin Review
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Like any other successful company, Disney Animation has weathered its share of highs and lows. When directors Ron Clements and John Musker released The Little Mermaid in 1989, they brought the company out of its latest slump while ushering in a new golden era of Disney movies—which they continued with their crowd-pleasing 1992 follow-up, Aladdin.

Aladdin tells the story of a common street rat who falls in love with a princess. Though he lives on the streets of Agrabah, stealing what he needs to survive, Aladdin (voiced by Scott Weinger) dreams of a better life. Meanwhile, in the palace, Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin), dreams of escaping the confines of her royal life. When she runs away from the palace, she meets the charming young thief. Even though the two find an instant connection, there’s a law stating that the princess must marry a prince. But then Aladdin rubs a magic lamp—and the outrageous Genie (Robin Williams) who appears offers to make his greatest wishes come true.

  
 
Disney is well-known for its princesses—for romantic fairy tales about headstrong young girls and True Love’s Kiss. But Aladdin is so much more than just another Disney Princess movie. After all, the movie’s called Aladdin—not Jasmine—and, as such, it focuses its attention on the boy who falls in love with the princess and ends up on a quest to win the girl and save the kingdom in the process. Jasmine may be smart and strong and resourceful—which makes her a beloved Disney Princess—but this is Aladdin’s story. It’s action-packed and musical—with an unforgettable soundtrack (just ask my daughter, who has never heard the songs without her mother singing along). And, thanks to Robin Williams and his wise-cracking Genie, it’s wildly funny, too. And that gives this unconventional fairy tale a more universal appeal. It isn’t just a movie for little girls.

Aladdin is filled with lovable characters—from Aladdin and his trouble-making monkey, Abu, to the princess and her lovably batty father, the sultan (Douglas Seale). Even the sultan’s villainous advisor, Jafar (Jonathan Freeman), and his cynical pet parrot, Iago (Gilbert Gottfried), have their own sinister charm. But Robin Williams steals the show with his grand and glorious Genie. Not only does he fill the film with impersonations and references for the grown-ups, but he also gives it warmth and heart. Add that to the film’s action, adventure, and humor, and you’ve got a Disney fairy tale that’s worth watching over and over again.

Cleverly written and beautifully animated, Aladdin is a beloved Disney classic because it offers a little bit of something for everyone. If it’s been a while since you last took a magic carpet ride with Aladdin and Jasmine, it’s about time to take it out for another spin.


Blu-ray Review:
Fans of Aladdin won’t want to miss the extras included on the film’s long-awaited Diamond Edition Blu-ray release. Not only does it include the classic DVD features—like deleted scenes, music videos, and a tour of the genie’s luxurious lamp—but it also comes with all-new features, too.

Ron and John: You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me joins the film’s directors as they discuss their friendship, their complementary partnership, and their tendency to bring about the closing of local restaurants. And Aladdin: Creating the Broadway Magic explores the development of the Broadway version of the film—which almost didn’t exist.

For more on the film itself, though, there’s Unboxing Aladdin, in which Disney Channel star Joey Bragg reveals cameos, hidden Mickeys, and other secrets.

But perhaps the best features are those that focus on the Genie. In The Genie Outtakes, the directors and Genie animator Eric Goldberg discuss working with Robin Williams while showing some of their favorite outtakes from his recording sessions. And in Genie 101, Scott Weinger, the voice of Aladdin, explains some of the Genie’s impersonations (which is definitely helpful for younger fans). Both of these features are wonderful tributes to both a beloved character and a brilliant comedian who left us much too soon—and they’re well worth a few extra minutes of your time.

No matter what your interests, you’re sure to find something fun and surprising in Aladdin’s special features menu. So, once you finish rewatching the film for the umpteenth time, be sure to check out the extras, too.

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