Friday, July 16, 2010

Walt Disney Animation Studios Part 31: Aladdin

Series Intro: This is Part 31 of a multi-part retrospective of Walt Disney Animation Studios' endeavors.

Official Title: Aladdin
Release: November 25, 1992
Running Time: 90 minutes
Estimated Cost: $28 million
Estimated Revenue: $504.05million
Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Plot Summary: Expanded
A traveling salesman travels on camel back and once he notices the audience, he breaks the fourth wall and tries to sell us various broken products, until finally he comes across a lamp, and begins to tell us the story of Aladdin and his lamp.

Jafar, vizier to the Sultan of the fictional city of Agrabah, and his parrot Iago have taken a street man out into the desert and convinces the street man to go into the Magical Cave of Wonders; trying to retrieve the magic lamp. The cave devours the man and says only a “diamond in the rough” will be able to successfully open the cave and retrieve the lamp.

The next morning, street rat, Aladdin, is stealing bread (with his adorable monkey companion Abu). The palace guards chase them both to the catchy tune of “One Jump Ahead.” Just as Aladdin and Abu are safe from the guards, Aladdin sees children scrounging for food; he gives them some of his bread, as does Abu, however reluctantly.

Jasmine, daughter of the Sultan, is sick of meeting princes, as she is to marry a prince according to the law. So she decides to run away from the palace. In the city market she meets Aladdin (after running into some trouble with a merchant). Al and her escape only to find themselves under arrest from the guards accompanied by Jaraf (who had cast a spell to reveal that Aladdin would be able to enter the Cave of Wonders). Jaraf arrests Aladdin under the pretenses of kidnapping the Princess.

While under lock and key, Aladdin is hook winked by Jaraf in the disguise of an old man into escaping the prison and entering the Cave of Wonders. The Cave allows Aladdin to enter and to only touch the lamp. But greedy Abu touches some of the treasures and the whole place turns into magma. Luckily, they had befriended a magic carpet who takes them to the mouth of the cave, where Jaraf – in disguise – takes the lamp and throws Aladin back into the disintegrating cave.

Abu reveals that he stole the lamp back from Jaraf, and after rubbing the lamp (to see what’s written on it), Aladdin meets the Genie, whom gets tricked into taking Aladdin, Abu and Carpet out of the collapsed cave.

Once safe, Al tells Genie of his wish to be a prince so he could marry Jasmine, and his wish is granted. And he reenters Agrabah in style to the song of and under the misnomer of “Prince Ali.”

Just before Ali enters the royal palace, Jaraf has convinced the Sultan that the law said if a suitable husband cannot be found for the princess, she is to marry the Grand Vizier! Jaraf uses magic to hypnotize the Sultan.

Jasmine is unimpressed with Ali, and only once she realizes that he is Aladdin from the street (though he says that was his disguise and Ali is the real one) does she trust him and they go on the infamous carpet ride.

Jaraf attempts to kill Ali, but luckily Genie saves Al from drowning. Then Jaraf steals the lamp, reveals Aladdin as the true identity; and enslaves Genie, Jasmine and the Sultan by using his wishes.

Aladdin, Abu and Carpet find there way back from where cold place Jaraf has sent them, and he tricks Jaraf into wishing he had genie powers, but is then tethered to his own lamp (with Iago) and flung into the Cave of Wonders (by Genie).

Aladdin, still left with one wish, does not wish to be a prince again (to marry Jasmine) but wishes to set Genie free (as promised). The Sultan changes the law so Jasmine can marry whomever she wants. And everyone lives happily ever after.


• Arabian Nights
• One Jump Ahead
• Friend Like Me
• Prince Ali
• A Whole New World
• Prince Ali (Reprise)

Almost every song from this movie is a Disney classic!

Plot Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

OMG! As a child, I loved this movie more than Mermaid! It is not a Princess movie at all, and truly had the action/adventure to lure in the boys, while still keeping the girls interested with cute animals and musical romance. It was a truly endearing story.

Animation Rating: 4 out of 5

Colors were bright. Lines were clean. The biggest issue with the animation of this film was it’s reliance on CGI. I remember watching this as a child and thinking that the Cave of Wonders seemed really weird, and now I’ve come to learn that it was CG. I guess I just wonder why? Wouldn’t the scene at the front of the talking tiger head cave been just as powerful if it was hand drawn.

The Test of Time:

Aladdin spawned two straight to video sequels and even a TV series! It won several awards including an Oscar for best score.

Aladdin has an attraction (Dumbo-like flying carpets) in The Magic Kingdom in Florida and a long running stage show in California. Jasmine is part of the Disney Princess marketing.

I saw this movie in theatres.
Through the Modern Lens

Just like Belle before her, Jasmine is a more progressive female. She doesn’t want to just marry, she wants to experience life first. However, her plans change once she meets the man of her dreams and he is head over heals in love with Aladdin! I wish she had been more skeptical of him or that he hadn’t lied to her!

At the time, many Arabian people were offended about the style of animation for the heroes (who look Anglo with tans) verse the villain (having a much more Arab look). I can understand that completely and had to side with them! (In fact when I met Al and Jasmine in WDW, they looked like white actors!)

Next Up:
Lion King

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