Jonathan Freeman

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Aladdin Review


Extraordinary
Disney's version of Aladdin and his magic lamp is one of its best animated features -- or features, period -- with terrific songs and gorgeous colors, thrilling action sequences and big laughs. It doesn't have the classical emotional weight of Beauty and the Beast, which came out a year earlier, but it's one of the only Disney films to break out of that nebulous "family" genre and function as a genuine comedy/adventure.

What everyone remembers, comedically speaking, is Genie, a blue whirling dervish of impressions and wisecracks as vocalized by Robin Williams in 100 percent inspiration, negligible perspiration mode. But Aladdin also features what may be the only tolerable role for Gilbert Gottfried, period: Iago, the cranky parrot sidekick of evil villain Jafar. Even Aladdin and Jasmine, while essentially bland, have likeably cynical streaks (Jasmine is disgusted by the parade of handsome princes sent to woo her, as if she's just finished watching a Disney movie marathon). These characters would have significant goodwill flogged away by a TV series and the pair of direct-to-video follow-ups that bookend it, but on its own, Aladdin is a rollicking good time. And although the contribution of Williams is immeasurable, the Disney team rises to the occasion with some terrific, fast-paced gagwork and visual mastery.

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