Come with us into a whole new world as we look back at Disney’s Aladdin…
The One Where: In the Arabian city of Agrabah, ‘street rat’ Aladdin finds a magic lamp with a powerful genie inside that he uses to win the heart of the beautiful Princess Jasmine. Meanwhile, the Sultan’s scheming vizier Jafar wants the lamp for himself…
Star Turns: Jonathan Freeman is fabulously fruity as Jafar, a perfectly fitting villain for the film’s tone. Likewise, Aladdin and his gang are all good value – particular Magic Carpet, who is given a proper personality through the animation, despite not having any features. They’re great, but you don’t need me to tell you that the much-missed Robin Williams is the star of this show. His Genie is so full of energy and warmth and produces many a memorable line. Goodness knows how Disney will replace him in their inevitable live-action remake.
Best Song: The House of Mouse hit it out of the park yet again here – every Disney fan knows ‘Arabian Nights’, ‘One Jump Ahead’, ‘Friend Like Me’ and ‘Prince Ali.’ They are just all tremendously catchy and fun songs. I’m not usually one for the love songs in Disney musicals, but even I have to say that ‘Whole New World’ is the best of these. A timeless classic.
Verdict: Whereas Beauty and Lion swing the Disney-ometer to romance and drama, Aladdin embraces its cartoony-ness with gusto, making for perhaps the most outright enjoyable Renaissance film. The Genie lifts it immeasurably – and the role stands as one of the best ever showcases of the actor’s talents – but it would still be a pretty great flick without him.
Mickey Everything: Thanks to Genie’s fourth-wall breaking, Aladdin features loads of Disney cameos including Pinocchio, Sebastian, a Goofy hat and some foreshadowing of the Greek and Chinese settings of Hercules and Mulan. A more easily-missed one is that one of the Sultan’s little models resembles the preceding film‘s Beast.