johnlink ranks ALADDIN (1992)

For whatever reason, this movie has been hanging around the edges of my conscious for the past week or so. Therefore, like an earbug that must be played to eliminate it from repeating itself in one’s head, I decided to watch ALADDIN late in the morning on a post blizzard day.

I watched ALADDIN (1992) on 12.21.09. I’d seen this film probably thirty or so times in my youth, but have not watched it in several years.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAIN THE SAME.

FILM

It’s easy to forget how groundbreaking the integration of computer imaging with traditional hand-drawn animation in the early 90s was. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST had done some of this the year before, but both the underground carpet ride scene and the tumbling tower in ALADDIN were amazing for their day.

The animation here is very good. Robin Williams’ Genie was certainly the majority of the focus, along with the big action pieces. There were times that I felt Abu’s voice was not in-line with the action, and that is on the direction, since the animators and voice actors are merely doing as told. But I am picking nits here, this is a wonderful film. Thematically, I love the grass-is-always-greener concept that Aladdin, Jasmine, and the Genie all tangle with. Sure this is a kid’s story, but I love that it is a positive message in terms of dream realization. SCORE:7

MOVIE

I consider this Pre-Pixar in its self-referential curiosity. We have homages paid to the Marx Brothers, TAXI DRIVER, PINOCCHIO, THE LITTLE MERMAID, the Macy’s Day Parade, Rodney Dangerfield, Jack Nicholson, and much more. The key here is that the references are timeless. I feel like if I were to watch SHREK today, half the humor would be mired in early 2000’s pop culture. The intelligence in Aladdin is that people will know all the above references twenty years from now.

The mix of music and action is wondrously done. There are things I picked up on this time around that I had not noticed as a kid (the Groucho reference was one), and I love that there are still discoveries to be made. I always considered LION KING to be my favorite animated film, but this viewing surprised me in just how close a second Aladdin is. SCORE: 10

ACTING

Perhaps the biggest compliment to Robin Williams’ characterization is that we forget that he didn’t appear in this movie until it was over a third over. He did the same thing in GOOD WILL HUNTING, showed up late and managed to become the iconic memory of the film.

Gilbert Gottfried was born to play Iago (itself a reference). He may be annoying in every other situation in life, but his voice was made to be the obnoxiously loud villainous sidekick. The rest of the voice cast is solid. I did mention my small issue with the Abu stuff, but that is not on the acting per-se. SCORE: 8

WRITING

How smart is it that of Aladdin’s three wishes, one ultimately is a fallacy he must amend for, one he does not actually make, and one is a selfless act to help a friend gain freedom. Only his first wish is in his interest, and he pays a price for it. I like that idea.

Robin Williams should get a freakin’ writing credit for all the improv he did. His energy propels this movie to elite status. Without his wit and presence, this is merely a slighlty above average film. SCORE: 7

BONUS

I am not a fan of musicals, though I can live with it in an animated world. But the songs in ALADDIN are top level. The voice work is wonderful, and the writing is stellar. I give it a bonus point for its quality. SCORE: 1

FINAL TALLY

FILM: 7; MOVIE: 10; ACTING: 8; WRITING: 7; BONUS: 1

7+10+8+7+1= 33

FINAL SCORE: 8.25

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~ by johnlink00 on December 21, 2009.

3 Responses to “johnlink ranks ALADDIN (1992)”

  1. I love this movie too. I’m glad you finally watched it to satisfy the “earbug”… my ears were tired of hearing you sing A Whole New World. (As funny as the attempt was).

  2. I can show you the world… shining, shimmering, spleeeeeeeeeendid. Tell me princess, now when do you last let your heart deciiiiiiiiide….

  3. For more on the 3 wishes theme, here’s a very good Dunesteef episode with a reading of the original story, plus some very interesting commentary. ((No, I had nothing to do with this particular Dunesteef production)) http://dunesteef.com/2009/10/29/halloween-bonus-the-monkeys-paw-by-w-w-jacobs/#comments

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