Ron Clements, John Muser, Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio, Burny Mattinson, Roger Allers, Joe Ranft, Daan Jippes, Kevin Harkey, Sue Nichols, Francis Glebas, Darrell Rooney, Larry Leker, James Fujii, Kirk Hanson, Kevin Lima, Rebecca Rees, David S. Smith, Chris Sanders, Brian Pimental, Patrick A. Ventura & Ed Gombert
Ya know, if you wanted to keep the hits coming after The Little Mermaid
and Beauty and the Beast
, you couldn't have done much better than Aladdin
- instead of being a Princess Movie with a focus on the heroine, it's an action-adventure featuring a male protagonist, and is MUCH more comedic and wacky, with tons of slapstick, sidekicks and pop culture-based humor- you could call it the predecessor of Shrek
. There's a lot of the "Standard Disney Formula" here, but under the unusual style of Arabic/Persian influences (The Thief and the Cobbler
, a would-be mega-animation spectacular that flamed out miserably thanks to Executive Meddling and incompetence, was a major influence, but took too long to complete)- you have your Cute Animal Sidekick, The Princess Who Wants More, Effeminate Villain, People Showing Heart-Covered Boxer Shorts Despite This Being the Past, etc. But rarely do they all go together this well.
The Jasmine/Aladdin relationship is pretty typical of Disney films, but the Nostalgia Critic is right- they do have real chemistry. Plus, they're teenagers- of course they like each other immediately and go to insane lengths to hook up. Jafar is delightfully evil, Iago is funny (plenty of people despise Gilbert Gottfried, but I find his particular brand of grating-voice humor entertaining, especially as he became one of the best of the "off-color joke" comedians of the "Roast" era. The Sultan is a friendly dunderhead, and Abu does a good job as the Sidekick because he's the "Grumpy" of this film- the cynic who rips on everybody, instead of acting as a cutesy type.
In terms of Pure Fun, this may be one of the best Disney Movies- it really does throw in everything. It has SOME romance, but is much more focused on action sequences and adventure, so is more pleasing to male audiences. I always remember my mom loving the "Do you trust me?" line being echoed, which is what lets Jasmine in on "Prince Ali-Ababwa's" secret. The same scene is basically put into the Raimi Spider-Man
films, albeit with a kiss instead of dialogue- it's the same impact, though.
Funny thing- that Magic Carpet went basically unrecognized as something special by me as a kid. Only looking at it NOW do I realize that animating such a thing would have been IMPOSSIBLE with traditional animation, and the CGI is pretty damn seamless (moreso than the Frank Welker Sand Cat Head, which sticks out a bit more). The whole "Aladdin is the Diamond In The Rough" plot device seems a bit unnecessary to me- couldn't it just have been chance that Jafar sent Aladdin is? He IS a thief, after all. Why does his Purity/Whatever matter for the overall plotline? The Cat's plan to trap Aladdin forever in the cave is pretty dumb when you think about the fact that he GAVE HIM A MAGIC GENIE LAMP at the same time. The lava effects are something I remembered from when I was a kid- quite rad. Though of course anyone with a fundamental understanding of science goes BATTY when characters start standing RIGHT NEXT TO LAVA like nothing bad will happen- ah, genre conventions.
The music is all pretty famous- Menken & Ashman (the latter died before Beauty & The Beast
came out, but was obviously still working on Aladdin
by that point, too- he coincidentally died just as a song that he loved- Proud of Your Boy
, was dropped from the film after the character of Aladdin's mother was cut) do some more of their classic work, alongside some new names- A Whole New World
is a classic Love Song, though most of the others are more comedic than anything else. There's not even a real Villain Song (one got cut due to being out of place and not fitting the story anymore, and the second is a mere reprise)! Most of the cut songs (they're on the DVD set) are pretty mediocre, really, so I stand by their decisions.
The Genie's rules of wishes are pretty clever: it removes the drama-lessening power of resurrections from the story (something Dragon Ball Z
always suffered from- death NEVER mattered), and removed the PG-rating by avoiding concepts of rape and murder (well, Genie-done murder). Plus the whole "Wish For More Wishes" thing (something I only heard about from a story we got told in Grade 5 class about a Genie named Quicksilver getting caught up in an eternal wish-loop by that).
"You are speechless, I see- A fine quality in a wife!" BWAHAHAHAAHAHAH! GOD I love it when the villains are sexist pigs
. The movie's climax is pretty great, though, especially since the villain is REALLY powerful, and the only way to win is through outwitting him. And it's a pretty decent job, too- it's not just Jafar being a super-idiot, though it's his vanity and power-lust that do him in.
Reception & Cultural Impact:
-The movie did PHENOMENALLY well, and fits right into the Disney Renaissance. The notion of a snarkier, rapscallion of a lead character wasn't entirely new, but I think Aladdin
led to the flood of that personality type in the later (non-Disney) animated films following this one. Many of the songs went on to become major show-stoppers, though only Friend Like Me
became a MAJOR recurring theme throughout Disney history. Robin Williams' performance as The Genie also set off a firestorm of celebrity Voice Actors who'd try to use Disney films to aid their careers.
-However, the latter effectively changed animated films FOREVER- before that, you were likely to get unknowns as major characters (the only celebrities in Beauty and the Beast
play household appliances), and the occasional minor celebrity at-best- guys like Phil Harris (Baloo/Little John). Jiminy Cricket and Robin Hood were played be people audiences might recognize, but not, like, ROBIN WILLIAMS-level guys. But The Genie changed all that- from then on, if you ran an Animated Feature, you were putting A-Listers in the big roles. So people with the Broadway training to pull off emotional reactions using their voice, like Robby Benson, Paige O'Hara & Jodi Benson... were soon falling by the wayside, as Pocahontas
featured Mel Gibson, Mulan
had Eddie Murphy, etc., all being hired mainly to play themselves and their own recognizable voices. You can see the effects of this all the way to modern times, where almost every non-Disney picture is made up 100% of big-name stars. Disney themselves fell into this BADLY after a point, but have since shrunk back a bit- Tangled
both featured actual celebs as the Main Characters, but most of the love interests, side characters, sidekicks and villains were played by minor TV and Broadway actors, some of whom (Josh Gad, Idina Menzel) only became big AFTER the movies hit.
-There was a bit of a stink over the offensiveness of the movie to Arabs, but given how that part of the world riots at the drop of a hat, I'd hardly be surprised- it still got the "they cut off your ear if they don't like your face" line switched in the Home Video release. Other complaints (including from Roger Ebert) were that Al & Jasmine looked too European (they're basically the Standard Disney Design but with tans and larger nose bridges, compared to the hideous, hook-nosed caricatures that made up the antagonistic people.
-The movie's popularity set off a Straight-To-Video Sequel (the first of the Disney films, if I recall correctly- itself a trailblazer, albeit a dubious honour), ANOTHER sequel (The King of Thieves
, revealing Aladdin's father), and a TV series. I recall seeing many episodes of it (Dan "Homer" Castellanetta played the role of The Genie, as he did in the first sequel), but I couldn't tell you a single thing about it if I tried. Apparently it's well-thought-of, but I found it rather "blah" at the time. But this whole concept of forming a cottage industry around one particular feature ended up being replicated again and again, though The Little Mermaid
did a TV series two years earlier.
-There's also an Aladdin
Broadway Musical, which is a bit odd considering how LONG it took them to make that- the two preceding, and one following, Disney Renaissance titles surrounding it all got their musicals in the NINETIES- why did it take so long for Aladdin to get his? The Genie's actor was basically guaranteed the Tony give how great and eye-catching his role is, and Jafar from the movie actually played the musical version as well, which was neat. Expect this one to run for years.
stuff: various Disney Parks have had meet & greets for the characters, with EPCOT featuring one in the Morocco Pavilion. There are Flying Carpet Rides in some parks as well (mainly in Adventureland), and a stage show in Tokyo DisneySea's "Arabian Coast" section (which features unrelated stuff, such as a fantastic Sinbad dark ride and the world's largest merry-go-round). Though oddly enough, the most Merch-based stuff for the film is centered around the third-tier protagonist, as Princess Jasmine, appearing in the famous Disney Princess line, has become the most Toyetic character, inspiring many SOLO meet & greets (with most non-white Face Character performers being stuck playing her, Mulan & Pocahontas). In fact, looking at the Disney Parks, Jasmine has ten times the presence of THE MAIN CHARACTER of the feature- such is the power of the Princess Thing. She's become a bit notorious to Disneyphiles, too, as certain modern movements have led to her Harem Girl Outfit (which, to be fair, is hilariously silly if you think about it) being replaced by what looks like a hideous bejeweled tent. Though I'm pretty sure you can see the traditional outfit in places- I know I saw one in the Disney World Cinderella's Royal Table restaurant.