Aladdin: You’re only in trouble if you get caught.
Beware; spoilers may follow.
This is easily by far the most fun movie to come from Walt Disney Animation Studios. This movie is filled with superb action, animation, romance, comedy, music, and just overall enjoyment on all fronts. It does not fail on a single one of them.
Our main hero, Aladdin, is a thief living in the streets trying to get by in life alongside his trusty monkey companion, Abu. He comes across a princess named Jasmine who is trying to get away from her life in the palace, given that she is being forced to marry a prince. The two meet up and become smitten with one another. Aladdin, however, is tricked by the main villain, Jafar, into going into the Cave of Wonders to find a magic lamp as he is the only one who can enter it as he is the “diamond in the rough.” Inside the cave, he comes across a magic carpet and the Genie of the lamp. He returns to the town using one of his three wishes to be transformed into a prince. This gives him the prospect of marrying Jasmine. However, Jafar wants to marry the princess, become Sultan, and achieve ultimate power. Thus, he tries to kill Aladdin and steal the lamp so that the Genie can fulfill his evil plans.
The movie is very engaging in that every scene in the movie offers all of the aforementioned elements (action, comedy, romance, songs). At the same time the movie knows how to balance said elements out. And the same can be said for the characters. Each one receives the appropriate amount of screen time; enough for us to build a connection with them and for them to build connections with each other.
The animation in this movie is exceptional. All the characters both main and side are drawn well, the backgrounds are beautiful, the colors are wonderful, and the chase and action scenes are very creative.
Aladdin is a strong character and truly is deserving of being known as “the diamond in the rough.” He’s very kind, optimistic, confident, and quick-witted. The majority of the film also shows he isn’t selfish and is willing to help anyone in need whether it be his friends, Jasmine, or the less fortunate. At the same time he isn’t flawless. He has insecurities being about being discriminated upon given his status and those insecurities ultimately do have consequences for himself and those around him. He does however realize these insecurities by the end of the movie and becomes a better person.
Jasmine is also a great character. She’s very bold, stubborn, independent, and headstrong. Much like Aladdin, she is very compassionate towards those she cares about. At the same time her stubbornness is also a flaw. She at times does come across as very opinionated and fussy. She is however, willing to give people a chance.
Aladdin and Jasmine’s romance despite it being only taking place within a few days is still very well done. Their status in this world helps you compare and contrast their characters perfectly. They both talk about their problems such as how they both feel trapped in their respective worlds and do help each other through said problems. You really believe that they are in love.
The relationship between Aladdin and the Genie is also a well-developed relationship. The movie showcases well how it goes from a simple master to servant relationship to a close friendship and you really feel for the both of them.
Jafar is a cool villain. His voice and dialogue are very sly and devilish. You also get to see him take on a lot of different forms. He appears as an old man, a sorcerer, a snake, and even a genie and each form is animated magnificently.
The songs are enjoyable every step of the way. They are all very catchy and each one moves the story along and establishes the characters and their relationships well. And they all shine upon the humor, romance, and action at their strongest.
The side characters are also great. The two that stick out the most are the Carpet and the Genie. Carpet is probably one of Disney’s greatest sidekicks of all time. He has no face, no expressions, and yet the movie succeeds in giving him a character through animation on his movements alone. He’s very loyal and heroic towards our heroes but does have a timid side to him. The Genie is by far the greatest thing about this movie. Not only does he have some terrific animation and an awesome song but his voice actor Robin Williams did a lot of improvisation in the process and his impressions and overall humorous dialogue make the majority of comedy in this movie. Williams succeeds in becoming one with this character. Abu and Jafar’s pet parrot Iago are decent side characters. At times they get annoying but they also give a few laughs.
Aladdin is a very modern and unique take on a fairy-tale movie and it in no way falls flat. It has entertainment for any and all audiences to appreciate. It is a fun movie that I have seen many times and will probably see many more for years to come.