Movie Ratings, Family Movie Reviews & More!

Aladdin

Released

Latest Home Video

Oct 04, 2004

MPAA Rating:

G


Run Time:

90

Cast

Scott Weinger

Robin Williams

Linda Larkin

Jonathan Freeman

Studio

1992 Walt Disney Home Entertainment

Still shot from the movie: Aladdin.

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Reviewed by

Overall B+
ViolenceB
SexA-
LanguageA-
Drugs/AlcoholA
Run Time90

Making the Grades

Aladdin made its theatrical d0xE9but in 1992, and took the audience by storm. Part of the new focus on Disney's animation department (which began in 1989 with The Little Mermaid), this magical carpet ride was branded a "classic" before it ever flickered across the silver screen. And much to the delight of the marketing team, the film lived up to-and surpassed-their most ambitious projections.

Loosely based on the ancient tales found in the Arabian Nights, the movie follows the plight of an impoverished "street rat" forced to steal food for survival. After a chance meeting with a run-away princess, Aladdin (voice of Scott Weinger) falls in love with the unattainable Jasmine (Linda Larkin). Then fate intervenes.

The wicked Grand Vizier Jafar (Jonathan Freeman) chooses the urchin to fetch a special treasure from a mysterious Cave of Wonders. Although things don't work out as planned for either of them, Aladdin ends up in possession of the much-sought-after lamp. When he discovers it contains a wish-granting genie, the young boy is sure he can have his heart's desire. But even with the powers of enchantment on his side, it's going to take some hard work to polish up this "diamond in the rough."

Venturing into a whole new world, this Mouse House production serves up a script intended to entertain grown-ups, not just the youngsters. Most of the fodder for adult consumption comes courtesy of Robin Williams. Cast as the excitable genie, the comedian lends his famous, improvisational genius (in a cleaned up version) to the role. Thanks to the limitlessness of the art form, his character can shape-shift into anything or anyone, in any quantity. As he transforms from Ed Sullivan to Groucho Marx, the elastic nature of his part gives Williams prime opportunity to deliver some very funny lines and impersonations, most of them appealing to older audiences.

Still, children will find plenty of reasons to embrace the story too, such as memorable music, crazy sidekicks, and a beautiful, self-assured leading lady. Parents may be mildly concerned about the brief costumes on many of the female figures, an obnoxious parrot who nearly swears, and some perilous moments. However, Aladdin's casual attitude towards serious crimes, his lack of consequences for thievery, and his dependence on lies, may present bigger worries.

While families may hope their little ones will not emulate these personality flaw, they will appreciate what the young hero learns as he wrestles with keeping up appearances or revealing his real origin. With a message touting truth as one's greatest strength, this version of Aladdin may indeed become a timeless classic.

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Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Aladdin.

In the beginning of the movie Aladdin steals from food vendors, and with a Robin Hood like attitude, even shares his bread with some starving children. Yet when he suddenly has the power to whatever he wants, he never thinks to repay those he stole from or to improve the situation in his country. Why? If you could have anything you desired, what would you wish for?

Translations of the Arabian Nights, on which this story is based, can be found in your local library.

News & Views About Aladdin:

Canadian Movie Ratings

BC
SK
Not Rated
AB Not Rated
MB Not Rated -----
ON Not Rated
QC Not Rated
NB
NS
NL
PE
Not Rated

Canadian Home Video Rating: NA

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of Aladdin...

Aladdin Platinum Edition 2 Disc DVD Edition

Release Date:5 October 2004

If your VHS copy of Aladdin has been worn ragged from repeated viewings, you will be thrilled to know this Disney Classic is now available on DVD, in a special Platinum Edition. Not only is the picture quality and sound better than you have ever experienced before (thanks to a restored and enhanced digital transfer, and a 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix), but the two-disc package also includes some insightful bonus materials.

As is customary, the set provides a running commentary, in this case by both the filmmakers and the animators. Those wanting more details can check out A Diamond in the Rough, a feature on the second disc containing a couple of hours worth of interviews with the creators, producers, animators, and cast members of Aladdin (a few terms of deity are used in some of these conversations.)

Enthusiasts will learn how the first draft of the story was sent back to the drawing board. They will discover the genesis of the Genie came from the work of Al Hirschfeld, that Princess Jasmine bears a striking resemblance to the illustrator’s sister, and what a cleanup artist does. They can observe the evolution of Aladdin from “too spindly, too tall, too buff, too hard to draw,” to the character we have come to know and love.

Footage of the actors and singers recording their voices will help viewers see the other faces behind the familiar cartoon images. It will also increase their appreciation for the similarities between a jigsaw puzzle and an animation project, as they watch the individual pieces come together to form an amazing motion picture.

The only down side for me was the narration by Gilbert Gottfried, who played the voice of the insufferable parrot Iago. Although the reprise of his character is funny at first, I found he got to be too much. Fortunately, the documentary is broken down into chapters so you can select bite-sized pieces—making his commentary easier to swallow.

Because the film went through such a thorough restructuring, there were plenty of scraps on the cutting room floor. Some of the deleted scenes have been included in the Extras. While most of those involved agree these editing choices were good, there was one element the creators found particularly hard to let go. It was a song Aladdin sings to his mother (a character who was in an early version of the script), where he promises one day she’ll be “Proud of Your Boy.” Presented here as a tribute to Howard Ashman, the man who wrote the lyrics but passed away before completing his work on the rest of this film, the moving number has been recorded with the voice talent of Clay Aiken.

The movie’s musical score is further examined in a vignette titled, Alan Menken: Musical Renaissance Man. The composer and former partner of Ashman rightly deserves this title because his contributions have in fact given new birth to recent Disney animations, such as Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast, and The Hunchback Of Notre Dame.

Other additions are games and activities for the little ones. Timon from The Lion King makes a guest appearance in Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Adventure, Robin Leach gives a “rich and famous” guided tour Inside the Genie’s Lamp (an “itty-bitty living space” that seems to have a vendetta against Iago), and the Three Wishes Game pays homage to The Wizard of Oz. The first person graphics are great, but the premises are simplistic and a bit disappointing.

However, consumers should be satisfied with the easy to use menus and the enclosed DVD guidebook. For fans of this film, the Platinum Edition of Disney’s Aladdin will undoubtedly fulfill their every wish.


DVD Extras:
  • Available subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix (Dolby Digital 5.1), French, Spanish, Commentary by the filmmakers, Commentary by the animators Commentary by the filmmakers
  • “A Diamond In The Rough: The Making Of ALADDIN”—new documentary
  • Deleted Song “Proud Of Your Boy” by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. Clay Aiken Performs “Proud Of Your Boy”
  • Alan Menken: Musical Renaissance Man
  • Deleted Scenes & Songs
  • Disney’s Virtual DVD Ride: Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Adventure
  • The Art of Aladdin
  • 3 Wishes Game
  • Inside The Genie’s Lamp—Never-Before Seen 3-D Tour
  • The Genie World Tour
  • Pop-Up Fun Facts—Watch the film in this special “trivia mode” feature to experience and share fun and interesting secrets about the film.
  • Disney Sing-Along Song Selection

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