Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Thursday, 23 September 2010
The story/folktale of Aladdin is one of the most beloved of all time, dating back almost 1200 years, but for "Generation X" (people born 1982-2000) and "Generation Y" (people born 2001 onwards) this wonderful Disney animation is what we associate the word "Aladdin" with.
Set in Agrabah, the plot follows the titular Aladdin (Scott Weinger), a street-rat who, along with small monkey Abu (Frank Welker), his best friend and partner in crime, has to steal in order to eat. When Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin), daughter of the Sultan (Douglas Seale), runs away from home she befriends Aladdin in the marketplace and the pair very quickly start to develop feelings for each other. However, the palace guards catch up to them and Aladdin is imprisoned and left to await execution. He is later aided in escape by the Sultan's Grand Vizier, Jafar (Jonathan Freeman), and is sent into a Cave of Wonders (also Welker) to retrieve a Lamp. However, thanks to Abu's greediness the Cave closes, trapping Aladdin and Abu, but their life changes when Aladdin rubs the Lamp and out comes a Genie (Robin Williams), who can grant him three wishes. Once they escape the Cave, along with a Magic Carpet Aladdin uses his first wish to become a Prince, so that he can marry Jasmine. At the palace the pair, after a little while, fall in love. However, Jafar gets his hands on the Lamp and gains control of Genie. After becoming the most powerful Sorcerer in the world (wish one) it looks like he's set to destroy Agrabah and take over the world, and only Aladdin can stop him!
Aladdin features better animation than any other Disney in my view. The characters, the streets of Agrabah and every other little thing (props, backgrounds) are drawn with great detail, and are brighter, and more vibrant and colourful than those of any other Disney film. The characters are also much more vibrant and exciting than they have been in any other Disney film. Aladdin is so irresistably charming, cocky and kind-hearted, and his love for Jasmine, Abu and Genie is so heart-warming, particularly if you associate it with the love you feel for others. Abu is hilarious as he pretty much talks through the noises a monkey makes with its throat and also seeing a kleptomaniac monkey that will weild swords is actually really unbelievably funny to watch. The funniest, most memorable character, however, is Genie. Seeing how poor his work has been in the last few years it is hard to believe that less than twenty years ago Robin Williams, along with Steve Martin, Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy (all of whom have also churned out some very poor work over the last few years), was one of the funniest actors in Hollywood. In the Genie he creates a truly farcical, melodramatic, slightly camp and loveable character, that will instantly become one of your all time favourite Disney characters, and the Genie/Robin Williams truly gets the best gags of the film.
Jafar is ranked, for me, as one of Disney's greatest villains. Like the all-time greats (The Wicked Queen, Scar) he appears majestic, yet he is also cold, calculated, homicidal, sly and cunning, and, like Scar in 1994's The Lion King, he has a truly spine-tingling voice full of cold hatred and malice that will keep you gripped from start to finish. The film also features a magnificent Oscar-winning score that includes the Oscar-winning A Whole New World, One Jump Ahead, Friend Like Me and Prince Ali, that is really catchy with such lovely to watch action in the aforementioned musical numbers. With all of these factors combined Aladdin is, in my view, one of the all-time best Disney films and will be loved by both children and adults alike.
Stars: Scott Weigner, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin, Jonathan Freeman, Frank Welker, Gilbert Gottfried, Douglas Seale, Jim Cummings.
Oscars: Best Original Score (Alan Menken), Best Original Song (A Whole New World - Alan Menken, Tim Rice).
Oscar nominations: Best Sound Editing (Mark A. Mangini), Best Sound Mixing (Terry Porter, Mel Metcalfe, David J. Hudson, Doc Kane), Best Original Song (Friend Like Me - Alan Menken, Howard Ashman).