Aladdin is the thirty-first animated feature in the Disney animated features canon, produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation, and released on November 25, 1992 by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution. It relates a version of the story of Aladdin and the magic lamp from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. As is usual with Disney film adaptations, many aspects of the traditional story were changed for the movie.
It was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker and songs were by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (with additional lyrics provided by Tim Rice after Ashman's death). Menken received the 1992 Academy Award for Original Music Score of Aladdin. The main soundtrack song "A Whole New World" (sung during the closing credits by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle) won a Grammy Award as well as the Academy Award for Best Song in 1993.
Voice actors included Robin Williams as the Genie. In fact, this was the first major American animated feature film in which particular attention was paid to a celebrity cast member, such as a major movie star, in the film as part of its promotion. This has led to a subsequent increased attention to the casts of later productions, such as Toy Story and Shrek, as a major element of animated film marketing.
The story takes place in the mystical city of Agrabah, which is based mainly on the medieval city of Baghdad, the home of the 1001 Arabian Nights, though it also contains some elements of Indian culture and there are some inconsistencies in the time period. The sultan (who is never given a name) of Agrabah, is secretly being controlled by his grand vizier, Jafar. Jafar, who is also a sorcerer, wants to be the sultan himself and rule Agrabah; to further his goals he has spent years searching for the Cave of Wonders, so he can harness the power of the Genie of the Lamp found within. However, Jafar discovers that only one person, a metaphorical "Diamond in the Rough", can enter the cave.
The sultan, meanwhile, is having problems with finding a prince for his daughter, Princess Jasmine, to marry and Jafar convinces the sultan, by mesmerizing him with his magical staff, that he (Jafar) needs the sultan's ring to find Jasmine a husband. Jafar actually needs the ring to discover the identity of the "Diamond in the Rough."
Jasmine, who does not want to be married off, decides to run away disguised as a peasant girl. In the anarchy of the streets, she is saved by a street urchin named Aladdin, though she doesn't learn his name. Meanwhile, Jafar discovers that Aladdin is the "Diamond in the Rough", and he sends palace guards to apprehend him. When Jasmine asks what happened to her savior, Jafar lies to her, falsely reporting that Aladdin had been executed for "kidnapping the princess."
Later, Jafar, disguised as an old man, sneaks Aladdin to freedom and takes him to the Cave of Wonders. Jafar tells Aladdin that if he brings back the lamp, he will be rewarded. The Cave admits Aladdin entrance, but only if he touches nothing more than the lamp. Inside the Cave, Aladdin successfully finds the lamp, but his pet monkey, Abu, loses control and attempts to take a jewel, causing the cave to come alive and attempt to trap them inside. Aladdin and Abu manage to escape with the aid of a flying carpet (appropriately named "Carpet"). Upon his escape, he hands Jafar the lamp, and Jafar decides to give him his "eternal reward", preparing to attack with his dagger. Abu saves Aladdin by biting Jafar's arm, and Abu and Aladdin fall back into the cave as it closes.
Aladdin, Abu, and Carpet are all trapped inside the Cave of Wonders. Jafar discovers, to his dismay, that Abu got the lamp from him before they disappeared. Aladdin discovers that the lamp is home to an eccentric genie, who will grant him any three wishes, excluding wishes to force a person to fall in love, to kill someone, to bring someone back from the dead, or to give his master extra wishes, or himself duplicated.
Aladdin tricks the genie into getting them out of the cave, without technically wishing for him to do so. Once out of the cave, Aladdin gets to know his genie, and asks him what he would wish for if he had the chance; the genie says he'd wish for freedom, but that can only be granted if his master is benevolent enough to free him with a wish. Aladdin promises to set the genie free with his last wish.
Aladdin, who has fallen in love with Princess Jasmine, is disappointed that he can't wish to make her fall in love with him. However, the law states that only a prince can marry a princess, so he wishes to become a prince.
Meanwhile Jafar, who is worried that the princess might have him beheaded after choosing a husband as punishment for supposedly having Aladdin executed, comes up with the idea to convince the sultan to let him become her husband. He later tries to mesmerise the sultan into granting this request with his staff, but is interrupted when the sultan is startled by the noise from Aladdin's approaching consort.
As "Prince Ali Ababwa", Aladdin returns to Agrabah and, although offending Jasmine by appearing as another typical rich and self-important prince, eventually wins Jasmine's love by taking her on a romantic ride on the flying carpet. Afterwards, Jasmine tricks Aladdin into admitting he's the street urchin she met in the marketplace. Aladdin however, wants to naturally impress her, so he deceives her by telling her that he really is a prince and had just pretended be a commoner in order to escape the restrictions of palace life.
Jafar, who is afraid that "Prince Aboubou", as he incorrectly calls him, may win Princess Jasimine over, ruining his own plans to marry her, wants Aladdin out of the way. He orders the guards to shackle and gag Aladdin. He tells him that he's "worn out his welcome," and a guard hits Aladdin over the head, knocking him unconscious. He comes to when the guards drop him over a cliff into the sea. They have attached a ball-and-chain, so he sinks very quickly. He hits the bottom, and his turban floats down. The lamp tumbles out and he begins to struggle towards it, but passes out before he can reach it. Unconscious, he slides down towards the lamp, and rolls over, causing it to rub against his fingers. The genie appears, and saves Aladdin, using up his second wish. Aladdin and the genie return to the palace and Aladdin confronts Jafar over trying to have him killed. Jafar uses his staff to try to convince the sultan that Aladdin is lying, but Aladdin, seeing what he is doing, grabs the staff and shatters it. He then shows the sultan that Jafar has been controlling him and plotting against him. The sultan calls for the guards to arrest Jafar, but he manages to escape, and, before doing so, sees the lamp in Aladdin's possession, recognising him as the "Diamond in the Rough". The sultan is convinced that his troubles are over as Jasmine has finally chosen a suitor.
All seems well, but the weight of his future responsibilities begins to distress Aladdin. He begins to consider reneging on his promise to free Genie, which severely offends him. Chastened, Aladdin decides to tell Jasmine the whole truth of the matter. Unfortunately, Aladdin leaves the lamp in his chamber and Jafar sends his parrot Iago, to steal it. Lamp in hand, Jafar becomes Genie's next master, and wishes to become sultan. When the former sultan and Jasmine refuse to bow to him, he wishes to be the most powerful sorcerer in the world. With his new powers, Jafar forces them to bow to him.
Jafar then uses his magic to reveal that "Prince Ali" is merely the street rat Aladdin and he sends Aladdin to "the ends of the earth", in one of the palace towers. "The ends of the earth" appears to be Antarctica, or the Arctic or perhaps the Himalaya. Aladdin flies back to Agrabah on the flying carpet, with the intent of reclaiming the lamp.
Meanwhile Jafar, who is angry that Jasmine does not wish to become his queen, makes a wish for the genie to cause her to fall in love with him. The genie tries to tell him that he cannot grant that wish, but Jafar does not listen. Jasimine, who sees Aladdin sneaking into the palace, pretends that the wish has taken effect, much to the genie's surprise, in order to distract Jafar. Jafar, however, sees Aladdin's reflection in Jasimine's crown and confronts him before he can reach the lamp.
Jafar uses magic to imprison or transfigure all the good characters other than Aladdin himself so they cannot steal the lamp back. Jafar eventually turns himself into a giant cobra and fights Aladdin. When Aladdin appears to be defeated, Jafar tells Aladdin he was a fool for thinking he could defeat "the most powerful being on earth". Aladdin reminds Jafar he is not the most powerful being on earth, and that that honor belongs to the genie, since he gave Jafar his power in the first place.
Jafar decides to use his final wish to become the most powerful genie in the world. Jafar is at first convinced that his new powers will allow him to rule the universe, but he realizes too late that Aladdin tricked him, since as a genie Jafar is no longer free. Jafar, along with Iago, are imprisoned in his own lamp and Genie sends them to the Cave of Wonders.
Of course, Aladdin is no now longer a prince and is not elegible to marry Jasmine. The genie insists that Aladdin use his final wish to make himself a prince again, but nevertheless, he keeps his promise and wishes the genie free. When all seems lost for Aladdin and Jasmine, the sultan decides that, between his loyalty to his genie and his courage in defeating Jafar, Aladdin has proven his worth; the sultan therefore changes the law so that "the princess shall marry anyone she deems worthy" meaning Aladdin and Jasmine can be married. The genie flies away to see the world while the happy couple begin their new life together.
|Lea Salonga||Princess Jasmine|
|Bruce Adler||The Merchant|
One of the verses of the opening song "Arabian Nights" was censored because of political sensitivity. Following protests from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, (ADC) the lyrics were changed in July 1993 from "Where they cut off your ear if they don't like your face/It's barbaric, but, hey, it's home," in the original release to "Where it's flat and immense and the heat is intense/It's barbaric, but, hey, it's home." The new change was seen on the 1993 video release of this title. The original lyric was intact on the initial CD soundtrack release that predated the movie's theatrical release and subsequent protests. The soundtrack was re-released at the time of the DVD release of the film; on the re-released soundtrack, the edited lyric is used.
It is rumored that during a scene in the film, Aladdin whispers "good teenagers, take off your clothes." According to Snopes, Aladdin actually says "good kitty" to Rajah the tiger, only to have a second voice say "take off your clo...." This dialogue is edited in the DVD version, lessening the chance of misunderstanding. Other Disney films have alleged subtle sexual references.
- As with many Disney animated films, there are several references to the company's previous productions:
- The Genie's head briefly turns into that of Pinocchio.
- The Genie pulls Sebastian (from The Little Mermaid) out of a recipe book (and the first few notes of Under the Sea are played).
- Beast, from Beauty and the Beast, can be seen among the stack of the Sultan's toy figurines.
- The Genie dons a Goofy hat before leaving on his vacation.
- Most of Robin Williams' dialogue was improvised.
- Seven different video games based on the movie were produced. Each one released for the Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear, Super NES (later ported to the Game Boy Advance), Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Sony PlayStation.
- Robin Williams, the voice of the Genie, also voiced the Merchant. This is because the Merchant was originally supposed to return at the end, revealing that he himself was at one time the Genie but had transformed into a human, but this was changed and the Merchant reappeared during the ending of Aladdin and the King of Thieves.
- The genie's appearance is similar to that of the genie in the 1940 movie The Thief of Bagdad. This film also featured an evil vizier named Jafar, and a (human) sidekick to the main character named Abu.
- The movie was also featured in the video game Kingdom Hearts, mirroring the plot of the movie loosely, but was cut down and altered to fit the game. In Agrabah, Aladdin teams up with Sora to fight off the Heartless invading his home. Princess Jasmine was kidnapped by Jafar and the Heartless, as she was revealed to be one of the Princesses of Heart. Once the Keyhole was seal, Genie joins up with Sora as a summon. A facsimile of Agrabah was also used for Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for the Gameboy Advance. The world returns for Kingdom Hearts II, although the story involves more elements from The Return of Jafar.
- Some of the original songs before the story was rewritten and half of the characters were cut: "Proud of Your Boy" (suppose to be sung by Aladdin to his mother [who was later removed from the story] while she was sleeping) "Call Me A Princess" "Omar, Babkak, Aladdin, Kassim" "Humiliate The Boy" (sung by Jafar, cut as it was considered too cruel for the film) "High Adventure" "Count on Me" (which was something Aladdin sung to his friends and family, which was changed to "A Whole New World". Rough versions of "High Adventure" and "Proud of Your Boy" can be found in the Special Edition Soundtrack.
- Vocal doubles were used for the singing voices of the three major characters—Brad Kane for Scott Weinger (Aladdin), Lea Salonga for Linda Larkin (Jasmine), and Bruce Adler for Robin Williams (The Merchant), although Williams did do his own singing voice for the Genie.
- In 2003, Disney's California Adventure opened "Aladdin--A Musical Spectacular," a stage show based on the movie. The show has been quite popular due to the fact that while roughly 90% of it is scripted, the dialogue of the Genie constantly changes to reflect popular culture of the time. The show also carries an additional song by Jasmine that was cut from the movie "To Be Free."
- Aladdin at the Internet Movie Database
- Aladdin at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- UltimateDisney.com DVD Review with Pictures