MY TOP TWENTY FILMS OF ALL TIME. #16: Aladdin

It’s time to get onto some Disney now. So, why not start with one of the greatest animated films of all time. Aladdin is one of them Disney movies which just seemed to get everything right. The 1992 movie explores the story of Aladdin who is joined by his pet monkey Abu. He is a young thief in Agrabah who does what he can to survive. Along his way, he meets Princess Jasmine, whom he saves from an angry merchant at the market. They quickly become close until Aladdin is arrested. Jasmine is later told by her father’s advisor, Jafar, that Aladdin has since been executed. This is a lie, as Jafar is actually looking to use Aladdin to obtain a magical lamp for his own need for power from the Cave of Wonders, a cave that can only be entered by someone who is a “diamond in the rough”. Jafar attempts access into the cave early in the film just for the petty thief he hired to get killed once he enters. Jafar, dressed as an old man, uses Aladdin to obtain the lamp. He and Abu are warned they can get the lamp, but must not touch anything else in the cave. While in the cave, the duo meet the magic carpet (Disney’s first ever CGI character) and the carpet helps them find the lamp. When Abu traps them in the cave, Aladdin then rubs the lamp and is stunned to see a genie emerge and sings the catchy ‘Friend Like Me’. The Genie (portrayed by the legendary Robin Williams) comes to Aladdin’s rescue and gets him out of the cave. The Genie then reveals he can grant his “master” three wishes. So we continue…

aladdin genie

Aladdin, after making his first wish to become a prince, re-enters Agrabah in the hopes of winning over Princess Jasmine. The Genie helps to make his entrance as grand as possible and the song ‘Prince Ali’ introduces Agrabah to Aladdin in his new look (Let’s just say it, the songs are brilliant and the ones with Robin Williams singing are just superb). Jafar attempts to stop any potential suitors for Jasmine as he wants to marry her for the power of being Sultan. Jafar, still upset about not getting the lamp, hatches a plan once he realises that Prince Ali is Aladdin and that he is alive because of the Genie when he sees the lamp. Aladdin has used two wishes and the third was originally to free Genie so that he could be free from the lamp and do what he wants, but Aladdin doesn’t want to give him up as he feels he will be nothing without the Genie by his side. Later, Iago, Jafar’s parrot, steals the lamp and brings in to Jafar for him to use the power. Aladdin, powerless and exposed as the thief that he once was, is banished from the kingdom and Jafar uses his new powers of sorcery to remove Aladdin. With the genie under the control of the evil Jafar and him taking over Agrabah, it is in the end a self-inflicted wish which sees Jafar finally defeated.

The film is very much a delight and thrill ride throughout its run time. Whether it’s flying on the magic carpet singing ‘A Whole New World’, exploring the beautifully created Cave Of Wonders or just the effortless comedy from Robin Williams as he makes Genie a pop-culture icon, this film has a lot going for it. The magic carpet shows that a character can show emotion without a voice and without a face as it becomes the heart of the movie as it helps the characters get out of certain dangers. The music is brilliant throughout, Robin Williams has a great presence in every scene he is in and the music he contributes his voice to is beyond amazing. Aladdin is definitely one of the all-time classics and an achievement on so many levels in both what you see and what you feel.

Written By Jonjo Cosgrove.

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