(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Aladdin. The instrumental version of "Arabian Nights" plays throughout)
Doug (vo): When I was a kid, Aladdin was my favorite Disney movie. I felt that even though I liked The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, this was the first Disney movie for boys. It had action, it had swordfights, it had lava, it had flying around on magic carpets, it had monsters, it had comedy, it had a lot of adult jokes that I actually sort of understood, it had kick-ass songs. It was just awesome! But I will admit as I get older, that novelty seems to wear off a bit. Unlike Beauty and the Beast that gets better and better as I get older, I do see more and more the flaws of Aladdin. Okay, well, let’s look at the story.
Doug (vo): Aladdin is a thief, trying to get by on the streets. He comes across a princess named Jasmine who’s trying to get away from the palace to make a life for her own. But he gets captured by a sorcerer named Jafar and gets manipulated into searching for a magic lamp. Here, he comes across a flying carpet, and, of course, the Genie. Do I even need to say who voiced him?
Genie (Robin Williams): Hello, Aladdin, nice to have you on the show. Can we call you "Al" or maybe just "Din"? Or how about "Laddie"? [Transforms into a Scottish man] Sounds like, "Here, boy! Come on, Laddie!"
Doug (vo): So he goes back to town, using one of his wishes to turn himself into a prince. This allows him the possibility to marry the princess, but Jafar won’t let it happen. He tries to kill Aladdin and take the lamp away so he can use the Genie for his own diabolical powers. You get your swordfight, giant monsters, action, comedy, all the good stuff.
Doug (vo): So what is it about Aladdin that does or doesn’t work? Well, a lot of the time, it’s sort of the same thing. Aladdin is very modern. Even Agrabah looks much more like Vegas than it does an Arabian city. Of course, Robin Williams’ jokes, while funny, all come from the way that current people talk in even movies that haven’t been made by this time period. In fact, they didn’t know what movies were back then. So there’s a lot of breaking the fourth wall jokes, and, of course, a lot of modern-day talk.
Genie: [singing] I'm in the mood to help you, dude...
Doug (vo): Well, most of it modern. Aladdin and Jasmine, though they don’t quote as many movie stars as Williams does, still seem out of their time period, too. They seem more like Gen-Xers than they do the product of an Arabian village. Jafar is pretty cool and the Sultan is enjoyably stupid, but most of it doesn’t seem to take place once upon a time but more around the time that maybe Shrek lives in. In fact, yeah, Shrek probably stole a lot from this movie, did they? So, does that make Aladdin bad? Not necessarily. If anything, it makes it unique. It’s a very different take that Disney was trying to do, and, apparently, it really paid off. The jokes Robin Williams makes is funny, and despite the fact that it doesn’t look like Arabia, it still looks great. The colors in this movie are just wonderful, as well as the lighting. On top of that, what I think is really important is that Aladdin and Jasmine do have chemistry. Yeah, I know, it’s another three-day romance and then suddenly they get married, but you know what? You believe they’re in love. They do have conversations, they do talk about their problems, and they do try to help each other out. Okay, it’s not Beauty and the Beast, but it works okay. The songs are still awesome. It’s still Alan Menken and it’s still those incredibly catchy beats. At times, some of the modern talk can get a little annoying, like when Aladdin tries to act cool or Gilbert Gottfried yells some more, but I think it still has the same Disney heart, and it is very entertaining.
Doug (vo): So while I don’t like it as much as I did when I was a kid, I still do like it. There’s still a lot of things to admire, a lot of things to laugh at, and a lot of things to hum after leaving the theater. As long as you know what you’re getting yourself into, chances are you’ll have a pretty good time.
[The ending of the film, showing Aladdin and Jasmine celebrating their engagement, is shown as the final song is played]
Aladdin and Jasmine: [singing] For you and me...