Saturday Movie Review – “Aladdin”

This week’s review is of a family classic. I should also mention that I’ve recently been promoted at work, and the promotion involves more travel. I’ll try to maintain the Saturday Movie Reviews as long as I can, and at least one other author is willing to pitch in when he can, but we can’t guarantee that they’ll last every single week. (I want to try to get them at least up to the one year anniversary of the first one in the series.)

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Scott Weinger as Aladdin
Robin Williams as Genie
Linda Larkin as Princess Jasmine
Jonathan Freeman as Jafar
Frank Welker as Abu
Gilbert Gottfried as Iago

Screenplay written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. The IMDB lists an additional 18 individuals with story credit.
Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker

Complete cast and crew information can be found at the IMDB.
Buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.

Premise

A poor peasant falls in love with a princess and obtains a powerful genie. Along the way, he learns a life lesson or two.

High Point

“Never Had A Friend Like Me” embodies the energy of Robin Williams, and shows exactly why he brought the movie up from mediocrity to classic.

Low

Point

The amount of time needed for the sultan to exercise his right in the job. Wasn’t that solution obvious from the start?

The Scores

The originality isn’t that great. It starts out as a standard adaptation of an extremely well known story. Then they introduce Robin Williams as the Genie, and he revives the mood and modernizes the entire delivery. I give it 4 out of 6.

The animation was mostly smooth. There were a few off-model faces, and the blending of the CGI with traditional animation could have been done a whole lot better. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story, apart from the time required to reach the obvious out, was well handled. (Had they at least shown the Sultan thinking of that, only to have Jafar make him forget about it, they’d have helped themselves out a lot.) I give it 4 out of 6.

The voice acting was well done. The casting was excellent, avoiding the celebrity casting when an unknown would do a better job. (This differs from their later efforts, where every voice actor was some sort of household name.) The only voice actors I recognize by name are Robin Williams (who couldn’t have been improved upon), Gilbert Gottfried (who suited his role well), and Frank Welker (who I know only as a voice actor, and a remarkable one.) I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is pretty good. It starts out mediocre, but then the Genie arrives in a storm of humour. After that much laughing, the audience is relaxed enough to let their guards down and allow themselves to become really invovled in everything else. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production was well edited and choreographed, but CGI and traditional animation just don’t blend as well as these people seem to think. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is a really fun family film, well worth checking out. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Aladdin receives 33 out of 42.

7 replies on “Saturday Movie Review – “Aladdin””

  1. Jethro says:

    Eh
    First of all, congrats on the promotion! Lemme know if they make you travel to Minnesota (;

    Now for my brutal trashing of the movie cause I’m bored(;

    "Aladdin" embodies most the things I hate about Disney movies. The story has little to no resemblance to the original story. For starters, the original story takes place in China, not Random-Arab-Country. And the princess’ name is not Jasmine, it’s something like "The Bright Rising Of The Full Moon" (I’m paraphrasing here). Also Aladdin is a mean bastard suitable for portrayal by Samuel L. Jackson. As is the genie. There is not ONE friendly genie in the entire 1001 Arabian Nights.

    Also Disney removed all the nudity and rape scenes.

    Someone should make a movie based on the REAL Aladdin, or pretty much ANY Arabian Night story. Now THAT’d be interesting.

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: Eh

      "Aladdin" embodies most the things I hate about Disney movies. The story has little to no resemblance to the original story.

      Far be it from me to defend the Disney Version, but the watering-down of this story goes back a couple of centuries. As for the setting (and at least one film version exists which keeps the Chinese setting), people exoticize anything "foreign." When they told the story in the middle east, it had a Chinese setting, because that was far away and exotic. When westerners retold the story, we often situated the story in Arabia, because that was far away and exotic.

      Other than Robin Williams, Disney didn’t really add anything that hadn’t become part of the story’s incarnations in the west, where it has often been presented as a children’s tale.

      • Jethro says:

        Re: Eh

        Far be it from me to defend the Disney Version, but the watering-down of this story goes back a couple of centuries.

        Oh, absolutely, but nevertheless this is something that Disney always does and which I dont’ appreciate. So it’s topical (:

        When they told the story in the middle east, it had a Chinese setting, because that was far away and exotic.

        Actually The Tales of the Arabian Nights are pretty evenly distributed around Asia. And parts of Aladdin take place in Africa.

        When westerners retold the story, we often situated the story in Arabia, because that was far away and exotic.

        As opposed to China which Westerners considered right at home?…

        No, in this case I think it switched to taking place in the middle east because, frankly, nobody MENTIONED where it took place and people just assumed that since it’s part of the Arabian Nights, it took place in Arabia.

        Disney didn’t really add anything that hadn’t become part of the story’s incarnations in the west, where it has often been presented as a children’s tale.

        Just because this story is so heavily distorted that it’s almost impossible to see which distortions Disney put in there doesn’t mean Disney didn’t distort it (: Sure, it’s not as easy a target for this as, say, 101 Dalmations. Or maybe Disney’s just an easy target for me. Or maybe I was bored. (:

        • AceCaseOR says:

          Re: Eh

          As opposed to China which Westerners considered right at home?…

          No, in this case I think it switched to taking place in the middle east because, frankly, nobody MENTIONED where it took place and people just assumed that since it’s part of the Arabian Nights, it took place in Arabia.

          Well, there’s also the possibility that the people at Disney may have thought that setting the story in China might have made Jafar (or the equivilent character) unintentionally look like a certain character created by Sax Rohmer.

        • Timeshredder says:

          Re: Eh

          When westerners retold the story, we often situated the story in Arabia, because that was far away and exotic.

          As opposed to China which Westerners considered right at home?…

          No, in this case I think it switched to taking place in the middle east because, frankly, nobody MENTIONED where it took place and people just assumed that since it’s part of the Arabian Nights, it took place in Arabia.

          That would be the missing part of my argument. Westerners assumed it took place in Arabia, Arabia was already suitably exotic…. A tale about genies and magic lamps should occur in an exotic location. I think it’s a plausible view.

          I don’t like Disney’s modifications, generally, but I think they often take flack for watering down stories that had a long history of being watered down.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Eh

      First of all, congrats on the promotion! Lemme know if they make you travel to Minnesota (;

      Thanks. I doubt I’ll get to Minnesota. The travel part of the job is to go to other Sylvan Learning Centre locations owned by the same owner as the Sherwood Park location I’m based out of, so the travel will be mostly in Alberta, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories. There’s a possibility that I’ll end up in Baltimore at some point, but that’s the only U.S. destination I’d bet on.

      • Jethro says:

        Re: Eh

        Thanks. I doubt I’ll get to Minnesota. The travel part of the job is to go to other Sylvan Learning Centre locations owned by the same owner as the Sherwood Park location

        Well, you never know when they’ll go and buy out the ones down here in Minnesota. Either way, you’re not really missing a HELL of a lot (:

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