#5 – Rewatch on Cable
Aladdin is my second favorite animated Disney movie of all time, right behind Lion King. It must have been fate that Xfinity was doing a free Disney Movie Channel preview this weekend and Aladdin was one of the 12 choices. So I now have the pleasure of counting it among the first movies of 2017 I get to watch. It brings back memories of the hey day of classic animated movies when everyone had an animal sidekick and you didn’t need a reason to break into song.
The last animated Disney movie I saw was Moana, which was one of my least favorite movies of 2016. My complaints for Moana were that it had unmemorable musical numbers (except for You’re Welcome), long stretches of slow moving scenes, and a less than compelling story. Aladdin on the other hand had several catchy songs, zipped along at a quick pace, and had a fantastic story that opened the door for direct to video sequels. It arguably even paved the way for non-white Disney princesses all while being the first animated movie to break $200 million. My how times have changed when there are movies that are grossing more than that in a weekend.
I would give Aladdin 9 out of 10 “dusty old lamps with something written on it”.
The two greatest things about this movie are the Genie and the music. The street urchin and evil sorcerer can’t even hold a candle to the real stars of Aladdin. Robin William’s genie famously ad-libbed so much of the script that it was not allowed to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. His manic energy shines through his voice alone and brings the majority of the laughs. The hits like “Arabian Nights”, “A Whole New World”, and “Prince Ali” are memorable to this day, granted I did just watch it.
It also feels like this movie carved a path for several other movies to break existing trends of white princesses and mediocre celebrities. I mentioned that Jasmine was the first non-white princess as she was followed by Pocahontas, Mulan, and Tiana (surely Moana will join this list shortly as well). By doing this, they also started bringing in other cultures that were outside of the European fairy tales. Aladdin was also the first to make animated movies a more feasible blockbuster. This was the first animated movie to star a big name and the first animated movie to become a big money maker at the theatres. It could be argued that this movie changed the course of all animated movies to follow.
My only complaints are the dated aspects of the movie. I only knew about half of the impressions that the Genie made, and I pride myself on being in tune with pop culture. So I would bet that most of the kids nowadays wouldn’t know any of them. Since animated features were still in the early stages of computer animation, the effects used for the Cave of Wonders looked a little rough compared to the hand drawn characters and backgrounds.
While I didn’t have a mile long list of pros and cons, this movie is a classic. If you haven’t seen this movie, you obviously missed out on several famous pop culture references throughout the years. Seeing this one makes me want to revisit the remainder of the series, which I am a huge fan of as well. I am sure this one will be remade / rebooted soon enough, and it cannot come quick enough. It is surprising that Lion King is getting the live action treatment before Aladdin considering it came out afterwards and has animals in place of people.
Most of my reviews so far are more recent than 1992, so they could have been seen in theatres or easily accessible to watch at home. Disney has made this a little more difficult with their vaults and previously stingy sharing strategy. So if you cannot catch Aladdin on your old dusty VHS, I would go with the latest “live action” reboot – The Jungle Book. Since this one is available on Netflix so grab some friends and catch up on a piece of your childhood that got modern updates. It isn’t as musically charged as the original, but thoroughly enjoyable with great CGI and a fantastic performance by a kid actor … who carried the movie as the only live performer in a world full of computer generated animals and backgrounds.