Adapted from Henrik Sylow Review
The tale of Aladdin and the magic lamp was first accounted for around 944 AD, but it wasn’t until 1888 by Burton’s “Arabian Nights” it became known to the western world. It is the tale of Aladdin, the son of a poor tailor, who was deceived by an African magician to fetch a magic lamp and to be left for dead, who takes revenge and marriages the sultan’s daughter and in turn becomes the sultan himself. The first film version came in 1906 as “Aladdin ou la lampe merveilleuse” by Albert Capellani, and later became integrated parts on “The Thief of Bagdad”, both in Raoul Walsh’s 1924 version and in Michael Powell’s 1940 version, both by themselves stunning timeless classics.
Having turned Paramount around, Eisner and Katzenberg moved on to Disney in 1984, both in order to make it financially sound again, but also to make Disney regain the magic it had lost during the seventies. Katzenberg believed that the secret to success was a great story and under his control, Disney went from making forgettable films to re-establishing its second golden age, with films like “Who killed Roger Rabbit?”, “The Little Mermaid”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Aladdin” and “The Lion King”. Katzenberg was also responsible for taking on Pixar, before he was fired by Eisner and moved on to form DreamWorks with Spielberg and Geffen, where he continued to develop great animated stories like “Shrek” and “Shrek 2”. By any standard, “Aladdin” is still today the greatest achievement by Disney, surpassed only in box office by “The Lion King”, but in terms of animation, storytelling and music, it has no equal.
The story is a very basic adaptation of the original tale. Aladdin is a thief with a golden heart, who longs for a better life and dreams of living a life of luxury in the sultan’s palace. Here, princess Jasmin, has the same dream, except that she wants a life outside the palace. The two meet and fall in love, but are torn apart by the evil schemes of the grand vizier Jafar, who wants to both be the sultan and have Jasmin for himself. Luring Aladdin to get him a magic lamp and to leave him for dead, his plans are foiled and Aladdin by chance activates the lamp, releasing the Genie, who grants him three wishes. But Jafar does not intend to let a simple thief spoil his plans… There are several reasons why “Aladdin” is such a great film.
First of all it has a simple story, where the motif of being true to yourself is pitted against greed and megalomania. A step up from traditional golden age Disney motifs of the inner child and coming of age, the motifs are more mature, yet innocent enough to find their way to the hearts of those with an inner child.
Second of all, the supporting cast were strengthened in character. The supporting cast have always had its stars and strength in character, just think Jiminy Cricket in “Pinocchio” or Thumper in “Bambi”, but in “Aladdin” the supporting cast almost have the strength of leading characters: Iago the parrot, the magic carpet and above all, Genie. All three are an animators dream come true, strongly inspired by the non-stop improvisations of Gotlieb and Williams.
Third and finally, the songs. To some extend, a Disney film is very much like a classic musical, where the plot stops to allow the characters to express the situation thru song, but thanks to the genius of Alan Menken (winner of 8 Oscars) the musical side is elevated to classical status by its modern Broadway approach. -- Henrik Sylow
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
I hope my daughter is more discerning than Jasmine...
Okay, I have to say I am a little disappointed by this one. While the animation, songs and celebrity voices are GREAT, I do not believe that the moral- TO BE YOURSELF- is presented in a way that is clearly discernable to children (especially the younger ones) without some help from a parent. Part of the reason for this is that Aladdin goes FAR BEYOND just pretending to be something he isn't- a wealthy prince, rather than a pauper- to impress princess Jasmine. He ends up LYING to her about every aspect of his life, multiple times throughout the film with virtually no consequences. In fact, there were so many lies that it made me wonder HOW Jasmine could still fall in love with him! I think I would like my own daughter to be a little more discerning! I am also somewhat bothered that Aladdin (and his monkey Abu) are portrayed as stealing food / being thieves at the beginning of the movie, again without consequences. They reason that it is okay to steal the food because you "gotta eat to live, gotta steal to eat." There is even a song about it, as well as a very lively sequence in which they are running away from the "authorities" to avoid punishment. And of course, they do avoid punishment... I don't want my kids to think stealing is okay under ANY circumstances. Maybe Aladin should get a job... :)
Now I don't like overanalyzing Disney. But at the same time I try very hard to teach my children traditional, conservative values. I don't appreciate any film that undermines the basics- stealing and lying are not okay and there are consequences for these actions in the real world-- at least there are when you're 3...
4 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Hoorary for Disney!
I've always loved Aladdin. It has wonderful music, incredibly enjoyable characters and an actual plot. Of course, it's your good versus evil story, where the "prince" gets the beautiful princess, but you're going to find that in almost every Disney classic, but hey, it wouldn't be Disney without some sort of romance. Princess Jasmine is much spunkier than most of the other princesses. She's smart and sassy and a real joy to watch.
In this new Special Edition, the vibrant colors come to life in full, much better than a regular old video tape. It's a great movie for the whole family, with little jokes for the adults, too. I find myself laughing every time I see it. What an enjoyable movie!
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
COOL Special Edition Aladdin Gift Box Set (2004, DVD)
I bought this dvd,Aladdin Special Edition Gift Box Set three weeks ago and i have to say that it exceeded my expectations completely. This special edition gift box set of Aladdin is loaded with extras that Disney movie fans and collectors do not want to be without. It brings the special edition movie with lots of commentaries on the making of this movies as well as information on attractions ont the parks, it also has some really fun Aladdin games to play. The box set also brings reproductions of the original art work done by the original animators who drew all of the main characters and it is also signed by them; and they come with a certificate of authenticity. The coolest part is that it brings a cell from the movie which is very incredible and looks great up on the wall. I recomend this product for all of those disney fanatics that enjoy collecting, this is definately one that you do not want to be without.
A Disney Masterpiece! One of my 3 favorites!
This is the third and final Menken / Rice masterpiece, the first two being The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.
Same basic Disney plot - you can always expect a happy ending!
The score and vocals are breathtakingly beautiful - Disney really pushed the creative envelope on this one, and won!
I remember falling in love with this over ten years ago - I still have the first edition CD and VHS. You'll love it on DVD, and so will your children!
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.