Genies abound in movie #32 in the Disney Animated Marathon! And don’t worry, I had to skip ahead a film because of procurement issues, but I will get to Beauty And The Beast as soon as I can!
Screenplay By: Ron Clements & John Musker & Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio
Directed By: Ron Clements & John Musker
Disney is known for a certain brand of comedy populating their animated features. Most of the time that brand of comedy is but a part of the film, it isn’t a comedy first and foremost. Off the top of my head Aladdin is the first, and maybe the only, Disney animated feature that is a comedy before it is anything else. The drama is still present, action is still sought out, relationships are formed and emotions are tugged at. But, in Aladdin those elements serve the madcap comedy as opposed to the other way around.
I have said it many times before, but comedy may be the most subjective of all forms of film. There’s a reason why it’s so easy to say “that was funny” or “that wasn’t funny.” For me, Aladdin is a hit in every way possible, there wasn’t a moment in the film when I wasn’t laughing or coming down from a serious fit of belly busting. It isn’t a specific type of comedy either, it is presented in rapid 1940’s style, but it is witty at times, satirical in others, there is some slapstick here and there and the fourth wall is even broken once or twice. Aladdin’s comedy is timeless as well, through its fantasy elements the film manages to create comedy from the modern as well as the time period it takes place in. Maybe you didn’t laugh a lot, but I did, and that’s always the first thing I look for in my comedy.
Story wise there isn’t much to Aladdin, but that’s okay. I know, I know, that sounds like I’m forgiving a deficiency of the film, but I’m really not. As much as I am usually king of the “I need a great story brigade” there are times when a detailed story/plot isn’t needed. We get enough of a story in the romance between Aladdin and Jasmine as well as the machinations of Jafar. The true goal of Aladdin is to make the audience laugh, and to that end it presents a bare bones story, but a bare bones story that is very effective.
There isn’t an area of Aladdin that I would look at and say is below average. The songs aren’t the best you will find in a film, but they serve their purpose. The animation doesn’t stand out in any particular way, but it is still top notch for the most part. And that is where I have my one big qualm with Aladdin, the chase through the Cave of Wonders. This is one of the first instances I can recall in my youth of being disappointed with the animation flying across my screen. For whatever reason the computer backgrounds stick out like a sore thumb, or I should say they make the hand drawn animation of Aladdin, Apu and Carpet stick out like a sore thumb. Fake sounds like too harsh of a descriptive, but it is the word that comes to mind to describe how off that chase scene looks.
You may have noticed that I have come to the end of this review and I have yet to mention Robin Williams. The reason for that is simple, I don’t believe any breakdown of his portrayal of the Genie is needed. In many ways he makes Aladdin the movie that it is, and there isn’t any way that I can do his work justice, you need to see and hear it for yourself. Stuck between The Lion King and Beauty And The Beast it would be easy to forget about Aladdin, but trust me when I tell you that Aladdin is worth taking the time to see and outside of a little alien we will get to in the future may be the funniest animated feature Disney has ever put out.