Making the Grades
A Walt Disney production made exclusively for video release, The Return Of Jafar is the sequel to Aladdin, the huge hit feature Disney released about 2 years previous. In this episode, all the characters from the original movie are present, including the wicked Jafar, who found his way back after being tossed out of the kingdom by the genie. The plot is much the same as the past movie, with Jafar out for revenge against Aladdin as he sets up a scheme to make Aladdin appear to have murdered the sultan.
This video release seems to be the stepping stone Disney is using to take the Aladdin premise from the big screen to Saturday morning. Don't expect the usual Disney quality found in their features. Most of the work on this film has been done "offshore" in Australia and Japan, resulting in an inferior quality that resembles Saturday morning fare. At 66 minutes, the film hardly qualifies as a feature, although making it any longer would only further dilute what little it has going for it.
Violence is the usual, "I'm gonna get you!" type of content. Although the original Aladdin contained some violence, there was also some interesting diversions, and a predominant love interest between Aladdin and Jasmine. This movie seems to be filled with nonstop confrontations, an easy way to keep young viewers engaged.
Finally, Robin Williams refused the opportunity to do the voice of the genie, leaving the movie with an unknown actor trying to imitate Williams trying to imitate many other people. Williams made the genie's character, and the rest of the film for that matter, and trying to replace him is impossible. Overall, The Return Of Jafar may be worth the rent for the kids, but I wouldn't put my money down to own it.