1 The Mickey Mindset: Disney Animation Reviews #31: Aladdin

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Disney Animation Reviews #31: Aladdin

Disney Movie Review: 31/52 - Aladdin
Ryan Dosier- My favorite Disney film, one of my favorite films ever, and the first film I ever saw is Aladdin (1992). I don’t know enough good words to talk about this hysterical, magical, perfect adventure. To me, Aladdin stands as a showcase of what animation can truly be when pushed to its limits. If Beauty and the Beast is the pinnacle of animation as an art form, Aladdin is the pinnacle of animation as an entertainment medium.

Aladdin takes off to wild and exotic places with Disney’s funniest and most enjoyable characters ever and some of its best music. The film is packed to the brim with a modernity that pushed Disney forward in so many ways. The style of humor, the look of the film, and the sound of the music all brought Disney into the 90s in such a glorious way.

Aladdin himself is an outstanding character. He is smart, kind, witty, and clever. It takes a character of that strength to not get run over by the Genie and the other eccentric members of the cast. Aladdin is one of the most heroic Disney protagonists. He proves himself worthy of rising from street rat to prince by the time the film ends. Aladdin’s greatest moment is when he wishes the Genie free. It is a moment that says so much about the character so simply. 

Then there’s the Genie… boy, where do you even start? As soon as he appears on screen, the Genie puts the movie in a chokehold of comedy that he never releases. What the team of Robin Williams and animator Eric Goldberg did with the Genie has never been replicated or topped. The amount of ad-lib and humor that is packed into a single scene with the Genie thanks to Williams—and then somehow flawlessly animated by Goldberg—is unbelievable. Never before has a character so effortlessly and often stolen scenes. When the Genie poofs onscreen he is the only thing that is important anymore. He demands this attention because he is so outrageously funny and outstandingly animated. 

The Genie doesn’t have a greatest scene, he has the greatest scenes. One cannot understate how brilliant Robin Williams is in Aladdin. There is no Genie without Williams, period. Williams is manic, bizarre, and just plain amazing. Robin Williams’ performance is the reason that celebrity voice casting is so popular, but no one has ever reached the amazing heights that he did as the Genie. No character says animation better than the Genie either, who can (and does) transform into anything, anyone, and everything in the blink of an eye. I can’t think of a better representation of the entertainment value and, dare I say, magic of animation than the Genie.

This ridiculous adoration of the Genie should not be taken as discounting the other amazing characters in Aladdin. Abu the monkey, Iago the parrot, the Magic Carpet, and Jafar are my favorite supporting characters in any Disney movie. The burden of comedy falls on Abu and Iago before the Genie arrives and they are wonderful. Jafar is one of the great Disney villains with his slippery, sly, wicked tactics. He also has the best evil laugh of any villain, so that’s gotta count for something.

The music, mostly provided again by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken with a few songs given lyrics by the great Tim Rice, is yet again some of the greatest Disney music. Both of the Genie’s songs, “Friend Like Me” and “Prince Ali” are awesomely fun. In fact, “Friend Like Me” may be the most fun Disney song period. However the most perfect song in the film is “A Whole New World.” The music and lyrics soar just like the magic carpet and succeeds for so many reasons. It is a beautiful, romantic, excellent piece of music. 

Story is also exceptional in Aladdin with a splendid mix of daring-do and comic nonsense. There are plenty of surprising moments, plenty of heartwarming moments, and tons of character developments that make the film stand out as one of the strongest written in Disney’s catalogue. The relationship between Aladdin and the Genie is the real heartbeat of the movie and their touching times are the film’s most emotionally satisfying.

As I see it, there is no good reason not to love Aladdin. It packs humor, heart, adventure, outstanding animation, beautiful songs, and magical everything else into one of the most fun times you can have watching an animated feature. Aladdin dazzles and amazes and it all looks completely effortless. Because of the talent, passion, and dedication of the filmmakers that created this, Aladdin stands strong and tall among the other true Disney masterpieces.

5/5 Magic Lamps


  1. I like this movie as well. I just hope you're not another one of the people that finds The Lion King overrated...

    1. Just hope he doesn't go through the whole "Kimba the White Lion" controversy. I'm getting tired of it. Heck, Kimba was based on Disney's own "Bambi".

  2. Jessie AbercrombieJune 18, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    "Aladdin is one of the most heroic Disney protagonists," eh?

    Ryan, have you by any chance seen Twisted? It's a live-action musical parody of Aladdin that twists the story and tells it from the villain's point of view (in the style of Wicked). I highly recommend it to all Disney fans, as it lovingly pokes fun at and contains references to many Disney animated features (not just Aladdin). It's available in its entirety on Youtube (just search "Twisted Act 1 Part 1"). Although I should warn you that it contains strong adult language throughout; it's definitely not for kids.

    Anyway, just thought I'd recommend it. It may give you a different perspective on Aladdin ;-)