Night at the Museum 3 Review

night at museum9Not every movie is a masterpiece but you can still enjoy it and that’s how I always felt about the Night at the Museum movies.  They weren’t ‘good’ movies but I liked them and they had enough laughs and overall charm to make them worth a watch.  I kind of feel the same about the National Treasure movies.  I can imagine that back in the day lots of movies were made like them.  Whether it was a stock shoot em up western or a fun action adventure show Hollywood has always made campy family friendly movies that are entertaining if not particularly memorable.

Unfortunately even these innocent franchises can strain the tenuous chord of likability they have and I’m afraid that is what Night at the Museum 3: Secret of the Tomb has done.  Even with such marginal expectations I was really disappointed by it. Especially with the talent, it is a really lame film.

night at museum3If you are unaware of the series it is a pretty simple set up.  Basically Ben Stiller plays a night watchman at the Natural History Museum in New York and each night the characters from the museum become alive including a strange mixture of history and natural history that I don’t think any museum actually has.  We have everything from Atilla the Hun to Teddy Roosevelt to a T-Rex.  It is basically a Toy Story premise with various challenges threatening to shut down the museum and end the nightly lives of our heroes.  The key to making it work is having enough characters and a witty enough script to keep it moderately entertaining.  For instance, Night at the Museum 2 was helped immeasurably by Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart and Bill Hader as General Custer.

Unfortunately in Museum 3 the script isn’t funny enough and the new cast is woefully underused.  The new challenge to the cast of characters is the magical tablet is starting to get a green mold on it and the magic is starting to lessen.  Through convoluted series of events they all have to go to London to find the Egyptian home of the tablet and they all come with Ben Stiller’s Larry.  The main new additions in London are Rebel Wilson as a security guard who doesn’t get one good joke sadly and I love her so much. She tries so hard to get the laughs but the material just isn’t there.

night at museum7They also meet Lancelot played by Dan Stevens who isn’t campy enough.  He isn’t fun enough.  I kept thinking- “You left Lady Mary with a baby for this!”

night at museum4There was one funny scene where Lancelot storms in on Hugh Jackman playing King Arthur in Camelot on a stage.  Got to hand it to Jackman for being willing to laugh at his Wolverine character and public persona.

I kind of felt like Night at the Museum 3 was trying to make a touching send off without giving us a good story on its own.  It’s really a shame because it is our last appearance of Robin Williams and he is the one spot where the goodbye tone feels earned.  I wish there was more for him to do than just say goodbye.

night at museum6To show how this movie wastes talent we have Steve Coogan and Owen Wilson as the miniatures- two of the funniest men out there and their humor just falls flat.  This movie even resorts to characters getting urinated on. I mean that is Adam Sandler territory and with such talent it is a real shame.

night at the museum5The worst part is the time spent with Ben Stiller and his son who wants to skip college and become a DJ.  That’s just what I want in my campy family comedy, teenage father arguments.  I mean how is that fun for kids?

In the end, I went in with very modest, measured expectations but Night at the Museum 3 couldn’t even meet those.  It was just a waste and the only time I laughed was the Hugh Jackman bit and I did like saying goodbye to Robin Williams even if I wish he’d gotten more.

As far as content aside from the urinating monkey there isn’t anything offensive or bothersome. That said, I really don’t think it will have much to entertain kids.  I think they will be bored by a lot of the relationship stuff and Egyptian tomb mumbo jumbo.  I’d say Penguins of Madagascar is much funnier recent family comedy or even Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day.

So in the end I can’t see giving it any higher than a D+

Advertisements

Favorite Disney Non-Villain Songs

Another fun list for you guys!

My top 27 favorite songs of Disney in no particular order (why 27? Because that’s how many I thought of! If I had to pick a favorite song it would probably be Part of Your World, but you guys know how important Little Mermaid is to me)

Out There- You guys know I’m not a huge fan of this movie but this song is so great.  I love that Quasimodo has a normal voice not a professional sounding voice.  It is so real.

Bear Necessities- Probably the best Sherman Brother’s song.  Such a fun rhythm.

Once Upon a Dream- One of the Disney greats. Based on the Sleeping Beauty ballet but just a beautiful song.

Sing Sweet Nightingale- Cinderella has a lot of great one’s and this one is often forgotten but I love it.

Bibbity Bobbity Boo- One of the sweetest Disney songs and sung by the great Verna Felton.  Great hook and wonderful song.

Friend Like Me- Robin Williams was evidently very nervous about the singing.  Well, he didn’t need to be.  It is one of Disney’s best with hilarious lyrics and great animation.

Beauty and the Beast- One of the best vocals in a Disney film by 4 time tony winner Angela Lansbury.  She basically became the Mother to generations and this song speaks so much to the need for forgiveness, understanding and love in all of our lives.

Baby Mine- One of 2 great lullabies by Disney.  A gut wrenching song, beautifully animated. Just gorgeous.

When You Wish Upon a Star- Became the Disney anthem for a reason.  Just about a perfect song about hope and never giving up on even seemingly lost causes.

Let It Go- Yep, bring on the Frozen haters.  Love this song and Idina Menzel is a goddess. I even thought she nailed it at the Oscars which people were all critical of.  So there!

You’ll be in my Heart- My favorite Disney lullaby.  I used to sing it to my baby sister and my nieces (I’m a rare person where those are only 4 years apart!). My favorite is the Broadway version because it is sung by a woman and not Phil Collins (who is fine. I just prefer the Mother singing it to her  baby).

Why Should I Worry?- Probably Disney’s best pop song with a great hook and one of Billy Joel’s best vocal performances (I’m a huge BJ fan).  Him and Bette Middler save Oliver and Company.

Almost There- I love jazz music so I’m inclined to love The Princess and the Frog for it’s music alone.  The lyrics aren’t great but this is a terrific riff and the vocal performance by broadway star Anika Noni Rose is one of the best pure vocals in Disney history.

Second Star to the Right- Peter Pan does have some great music.  Normally I don’t care for the 50’s choral sounds in movies like Make Mine Music but this one I like and the animation of the boat in the sky at the end is gorgeous.

He’s a Tramp- Again ,I love jazz music and Peggy Lee’s music in Lady and the Tramp is fabulous.  She provides the vocals for this number and it is a perfect cabaret-like number.

Reflection- I am actually not a huge fan of the pop ready Oscar winning ballads of the 90s (Can You Feel the Love, A Whole New World, Colors of the Wind etc) and usually like other songs better in those movies but Reflection from Mulan is an exception.  Another broadway star, Lea Salonga, gives a great vocal and it’s such a heartfelt song. I think most humans can relate to staring at the world and not liking what it reflects back.  People just sometimes don’t understand our hearts or what we are trying to say and those are tough moments. And the Christina Aguilera version isn’t half bad either.

Circle of Life- The pop influenced score of Lion King works great and technically my favorite number is Be Prepared but Circle of Life is terrific.  It has a good hook and the tribal elements are a ton of fun.

Little Black Rain Cloud- Perhaps too much of a lark to be on such a list but I love the Winnie the Pooh music.  Stanley Holloway’s vocals are perfect and it’s all as sweet as honey!

Part of Your World- Definitely my favorite song as a child. It builds momentum perfectly and you see the character go from being sad at the beginning to determined to change her life by the end.  One of Disney’s best in that regard. Jodi Benson’s vocals are some of the best in Disney history and it is just that perfect song for young girls who long to be taken seriously by the world.

Be Our Guest- Boy who knew that Lieutenant Brisco could sing? Jerry Orbach is fabulous as Lumiere.  The song feels like an old vaudeville number with touches of old Hollywood musical thrown in the animation.  I defy you to watch this song and not smile.

Under the Sea- Probably Howard Ashman’s best song and the decision to go reggae Jamaican was inspired.  Terrific lyrics like ‘What do they got a lot of sand? We’ve got a hot crustacean band’. Every fish is a different color and they all play different instruments so by the end it is an orchestra of over 50 harmonizing instruments. Just fabulous.

Won’t Say I’m in Love- I love the music in Hercules and Won’t Say I’m in Love is a fabulous, sassy number by one of my favorite Disney women: Megura.  Susan Egan, who played Belle on broadway, is Megura and she sings the song like a broadway pro!

I’ve Got a Dream- The music in Tangled is often derided as too pop influenced but I really enjoy it.  Mother Knows Best is my favorite but I think I’ve Got a Dream is a lot of fun as well.  It’s just charming.

A Star is Born- Again, I love the muses in Hercules.  I love gospel music! The Gospel Truth is great but I think I like A Star is Born even better.  Makes me want to dance every time I hear it and I am not a dancer.

Legend of the Sword- Another movie I am not a big fan of but I think this song introducing the tale is gorgeous.  I just wish the rest of the movie had lived up to it.

Winnie the Pooh- I like both the 2011 version and 1977 original.  “It’s Winnie the Pooh snuggy little teddy all stuffed with fluff”.  You play the first few chords of this song and I bet 80% of Americans will be able to sing the start of the song.  It defines childhood for most of us.

Make a Man Out of You- I’ll end with the second best song from Mulan.  One of the best Disney male vocals by Donny Osmond of all people.  We get a ton of character development and plot in the song and yet it is still very catchy.

Most Rewatchable Disney Canon Films

I will be seeing Big Hero 6 in the next 3 hours! Oh boy!

I was talking with a friend about Robin Hood and told her despite its problems it is one of the most rewatchable Disney’s.  What I mean by that is some movies are masterpieces but more weighty than the kind of thing I want to watch over and over again .

So what are those movies that I don’t mind repeat and frequent rewatching?  What’s the one that if I’m feeling like a movie that will entertain but not challenge me what do I pick?  I will add that I seem to have a unique high tolerance for repetition.  Other people tire of music, movies, food, books and I just don’t.  If it is something I like than I like it forever and repeatedly.

That said, some films like The Lion King I love but the intensity makes it tough to rewatch again and again.

I will also say that all of the Pixar movies with the exception of Brave (yes even Cars 2) are very rewatchable.   That’s why I’ve struggled to write up reviews of Pixar ,movies . How many ways can I say masterpiece?

pixar

 

Here goes in no particular order:

1.  Tangled- romantic comedies are probably my favorite genre to rewatch.  Tangled is funny, light, joyous, beautiful and a terrific villain.

Tangled_rapunzel_poster_20

2. Robin Hood- Maybe not the most ambitious Disney film but the humor makes it very rewatchable.  I love the voice performances and while it is a bit too long it is so much fun I enjoy rewatching it.

robin hood poster

3. Jungle Book- I hate the ending but other than that it is charming, funny, and the music is the true star.  It clips along so well with moments of real heart.  It is certainly up there in the movies I’ve seen the most.

1967_80sRR_JUNGLEBOOK

4. Emperor’s New Groove- Again not the most ambitious but so full of laughs that it is great to rewatch.  Comedies are often the best for rewatching as we don’t always feel up to an intense emotional experience.

emperors poster

5. Aladdin- Another comedy makes the list but Aladdin is so much fun with the manic energy of Robin Williams.  Every time I see it I spot a new impression or moment I had missed before.  It will entertain both boys and girls equally and it is just one I wouldn’t mind watching on most any day.

aladdin poster

6. Frozen- I can see many of you roll your eyes because you are sick of this movie.  I repeat I don’t get sick of movies.  If I like them I like them and I like Frozen.  I could listen to the music all day and the humor is great, pacing a lot of fun and I just enjoy watching it most any day.

Frozen-movie-poster

7. Lady and the Tramp- sweet, simple, romantic and with some tension and laughs.  Just something so pleasant I can’t think of a time when I would not enjoy watching it. As the poster says the ‘happiest motion picture’ from early Disney.

Lady-and-tramp-1955-poster

8. 101 Dalmatians- A lot of of humor with Cruella,  fun lively story, lots of great characters.  Dry with with Horace and Jasper.  Always at the top of my rewatch list.

101 dalmations

9. Lilo and Stitch- Probably my most emotional film on this list but it is so lovingly told and Lilo is such a real kid I am drawn to the picture despite my dislike for Stitch.  Maybe part of it is I find the Hawaiian local and music so relaxing it’s an easy rewatch for me..  It brings back many happy memories.

lilo and stitch poster

10. Mulan- Another movie with a lot of humor, romance, heart, and excitement.  Just thoroughly entertaining and not too deep or morose like other less rewatchable films.

Movie_poster_mulanHonorable Mentions- Beauty and the Beast although it feels a little long for a frequent rewatch, Little Mermaid because of my nostalgia for it, and Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh which is probably the most rewatchable for little one’s.

 

Off to see Big Hero 6!!!!

Disney Renaissance Best and Worse

DisneyRenaissance

So I recently finished reviewing the Disney Renaissance and I know how everyone loves lists, so I will do my best at ranking these films (and I will try to not have everything be Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid.

Best Villain-

Gold- Ursula

Silver- Scar

Bronze- Gaston

Best Artistry-

Gold- Tarzan

Silver- Beauty and the Beast

Bronze- Hunchback of Notre Dame

Favorite Lead Character/Hero-

Gold-  Belle

Silver- Mulan

Bronze- Ariel

Favorite Side Character-

Gold- Genie

Silver- Sebastian

Bronze- Lumiere

Even More Minor Characters-

Gold- Wilbur, Rescuers Down Under

Silver- Mushu

Bronze- Zazu

Best Vocal Performance-

Gold- Robin Williams, Aladdin

Silver- Samuel Wright, Little Mermaid

Bronze- Pat Carroll, Little Mermaid

Honorable Mention- John Candy, Rescuers Down Under

Best Original Score-

Gold- Lion King, Hans Zimmer

Silver- Rescuers Down Under, Bruce Broughton

Bronze- Little Mermaid, Alan Menken

Best Song- (this is tough)

Gold-Part of Your World- Menken and Ashman

Silver- Be Our Guest- Menken and Ashman

Bronze-Friend Like Me- Menken and Ashman

Honorable Mentions- Out There (Menken and Schwartz),  Under the Sea (Menken and Ashman), A Star is Born (Menken and Zippel), You’ll Be in My Heart (Phil Collins), Reflection (Wilder and Zippel)

Best Villain Song-

Gold- Poor Unfortunate Souls, Menken and Ashman

Silver- Be Prepared, Elton John and Tim Rice

Bronze- Savages, Menken and Schwartz

Honorable Mentions- Gaston (Menken and Ashman),

Worst Villain-

Gold- Radcliffe

Silver- Clayton

Bronze- Shan-yu

Saddest Moment-

Gold- Mufasa’s death

Silver- Quasimodo getting mocked and tied up by gypsies

Bronze- Beast dies

Best Comedy-

Gold- Aladdin

Silver- Hercules

Bronze- Rescuers Down Under (not a comedy but the funny moments were so funny)

Scariest Moment-

Gold- Mcleach and the knife throwing, Rescuers Down Under

Silver- Mob Song, Beauty and the Beast

Couldn’t think of anything else scary in Renaissance.  That’s strange.

Cringe-worthy Moment

Gold- Burning down house with family in it, Hunchback

Silver- Hellfire, rape and murder song, Hunchback

Bronze- Pocahontas teaching John Smith about how gold is stupid, Pocahontas

Honorable Mention- Basically all of Pocahontas except Savages number

Underrated

Gold-  Rescuers Down Under

Silver- Mulan

Bronze- Hercules

Most Romantic Moment-

Gold- Belle and Beast dancing

Silver- Kiss the Girl

Bronze- Jasmine and Aladdin kiss

Grand Champions-

Worst- Pocahontas

Best- Beauty and the Beast

Co-Best- Little Mermaid (I love both so much!)

 

I just finished reviewing Dinosaur (oh my…) and here’s how we currently stand rating-wise

A+  we have 6 B+   we have 4 C+   we have 2 D       we have 3
A     we have 9 B      we have 1 C      we have 3 D-      we have 3
A-    we have 2 B-     we have 1 C-     we have 3 F        we have 1

 

What are your favorites from the Renaissance?  Please share.

Thank you to everyone for your comments.  We might not always agree but I enjoying conversing with all of you!

 

Movie 31: Aladdin

aladdin posterNext up we have one of the most popular Disney animated films ever made- their 31st film, Aladdin.  While  it is not as artistically special or as epic as the movies it is sandwiched between (Beauty and the Beast and Lion King), it is one of Disney’s best comedies and I think that is why it is remembered so fondly. We all love what makes us laugh!

I have now watched Aladdin 4 times in recent weeks.  When Robin Williams died I felt so sad so I hunted down Aladdin and watched it.  I kind of forgot about it and even said in my Disney Tag video I thought it was a little overrated.  I don’t know if it was just the passing,but I left that viewing completely charmed.  Now I watched it again and then with 2 commentaries and am still charmed.

Do I like all the choices they made?  No, but I think it is a ton of fun.

The Production-

Aladdin was released on Thanksgiving in 1992 (I remember going to see it as our Thanksgiving movie!).  It was suggested as a concept by Howard Ashman in 1988 when the ‘Gong Show’ had occurred and ideas like Oliver and Company and the Little Mermaid had been approved.

Aladdin

It was a return to the Disney tradition of making movies for boys but it starred a grown man (or teen) which had never been done before.  Every other male figure had either been an eccentric, a bore or a little child.  I had heard on a number of audio commentaries that male adults were harder to draw and I finally heard an explanation on the director’s commentary with Ron Clements and John Musker.   One of them said:

“Male leading men are harder to do in animation than the women because you can slightly caricature the female figure and look and a slight exaggeration makes it more appealing but when you do that with the male figure that slight exaggeration is a little off-putting”

So there you have it! Originally Michael J. Fox was used to create Aladdin but then when they decided to make the character older they went with Tom Cruise as their inspiration!

I wonder if the exaggerated style needed for a man, made them go with the even more exaggerated inspiration of Al Hirschfeld drawings from the New Yorker?  His comics  had ‘swooping lines and elongated faces.

bob hope hirschfield
Here is a Hirschfeld drawing of Bob Hope

It is also interesting that Disney made no attempt to tie the movie back to its original source material or the Arabic culture.  It kind of makes me laugh that people were offended by a line by the peddler/narrator ,’where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face’ when a million other things are done that directly fly in the face of Arabic customs and culture.

How about the fact that none of the characters actually look Arabic?  I would think that is more potentially bothersome than a funny line in a song.  Seriously it’s the most white Arabs ever put on-screen.

aladdin

As much as I like the film I kind of wish they had been a little braver with their skin colorings and not only been tan on Jafar’s face (but oddly enough never his neck?).  It is such a cliché to have the people of darker complexion be the bad guy.  Sigh…

But Aladdin is not the movie for such discussion.  It is a comedy!!!  It has one job and that is to make you laugh and it does that job very well.  And pretty much all the laughs come from one man- Robin Williams.  He owns this movie.  There was talk after it was released that he should be the first person to be nominated for best supporting actor for an animated movie and I agree.  (I really wish they would have an award for voice work because it is such an art).

Robin-Williams-AladdinClements and Musker said they wrote the part of the Genie for Robin Williams and it was quite the labor of love for him to participate at all.  At the time he was filming Toys and Hook and would spend hours on set for those films and then come at night to record for Aladdin.

At one point in the commentary Clements says ‘people often ask me how much of the material was ad-libbed vs scripted? And I say none of it.  It was all written’.  This caught me off guard but then Musker says ‘he’s lying!’.

ed sullivan aladdin

Evidently they would give Robin Williams boxes of props, costumes and concepts and he would go from there.  For one of the songs he came up with 59 different characters!  Just the one’s included in the film are amazing. with everything from Ed Sullivan to John Wayne to Ethel Merman- all people most kids don’t know but they didn’t need to.  We knew it was a funny voice, which made us laugh.  The adults, for instance, could laugh at the Groucho Marx imitation, while kids thought it was a silly looking character.

They also said on the commentary Williams was nervous about his singing, which I guess he had never done before, and considering he does 2 of the 4 songs he’s great!

There was some ugliness between Disney and Williams because he had taken the SAG minimum to be in Aladdin on the agreement they would not use his likeness or make the genie more than 20% of the marketing in respect for Toys which opened the same month.  Disney did not live up to their side of this bargain (on one hand can you blame them but still a deal is a deal) and it angered Williams, which is why he is not in the 2nd Aladdin film but things were made up for the 3rd.

Unlike Beauty and the Beast or Little Mermaid there are only 6 songs in Aladdin, 2 of which are reprises.  3 of the songs are written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken and a Whole New World is by Tim Rice and Menken.  I wonder if this song scarcity was partly to appease boys who would be less interested typically in musical numbers?  However, the songs we get are well written and once again very funny.   There is not a villain song except for the Prince Ali reprise by Jafar but this works very well so no issue from me.

kiss

Artistically it is simple with mostly color blocking as backgrounds.  Evidently blue is used to convey good in the film and red evil.  In fact, in the final scenes everything is red even the characters and their clothing.

aladdin and red

Some of the CGI in the film does not hold up very well.  Things like the cave of wonders looks pretty corny to a modern audience but the film is so over-the-top I don’t really care.

caveLet’s actually talk about the story-

The Story-

We start out with our narrator setting the tone with the song ‘Arabian Nights’.  It is a very effective number.  Robin Williams does not sing this song but he does do the other voice work for the narrator:

It does a very good job setting mood and tone. We get the gravitas of the music with the silliness of the peddler selling us tupperware (Evidently they brought a box of junk for Robin Williams from the $1 store and he ad-libbed all of it).

The narrator was actually supposed to be revealed to be the Genie at the end but it had to be cut because the ending with Genie leaving felt complete.

After the narrator we see Jafar and a thief.  They have found the cave of wonders but it takes a ‘diamond in the rough’ to enter.

Next we meet Aladdin.  What a great way to be introduced to a character.  We know from the beginning he is special, “our diamond in the rough”.

How rough is he?  Well, he is a thief and the next song shows us that.  It is one of the most ‘Broadway’ Disney songs,  so of course I love it.

So, 2 out of 4 songs done in the first few minutes.  Again, that feels very ‘please the boys’ to me but I’m ok with it.  It does take too long to get to the Genie (almost 40 minutes!) but it’s not terrible.

A lot of the scenes in Aladdin feel like a good sitcom.  Think of a show like The Office.  There would be a tender hearteded scene with Michael Scott immediately followed by ‘that’s what she said’ or other silly punchline.  It’ never gets too sentimental but it also doesn’t leave the viewers cold.

These tender moments start early in Aladdin with a Prince riding into the castle repulsed by Aladdin.  He says he is a ‘street rat’ and nobody will remember him.

street ratThen we meet  Jasmine . She is portrayed as a modern woman who wants to get out of the castle and live for herself.  Much to her father’s chagrin she rejects suitor after suitor (including the Prince who insulted Aladdin).  A lot of the time she is shown holding a bird symbolizing feeling caged in and lonely.  Jasmine is a little bland but I liked her. Again, it does not matter that she is completely implausible for an Arabic woman (even today in some cultures) because they’ve already established the movie is its own enchanted world, with its own rules and customs.

jasmineJasmine decides to run away and Aladdin saves her from getting her hand chopped off by a merchant.  They have some nice moments together and there is genuine chemistry.  (Like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast the couple in Aladdin have significant screen time together and form a realistic bond).

Our next scene is with Jafar and his hilarious pet parrot Iago voiced by Gilbert Gottfried.  Some find him shrill and annoying but  he was funny to me (but I love Fran Drescher so I guess I don’t mind shrill).  I don’t think he is in the movie too much.  Just enough to provide some good comic relief especially when the Genie is nowhere to be found.

iago

If parents have issues with words like ‘shut up’ or ‘moron’ they probably will not care for Iago as he uses them a lot.

Eventually Aladdin is captured and Jasmine is returned to the castle. To her dismay, Jafar tells her Aladdin has been beheaded for hurting the Princess. In truth, he has actually been taken to the dungeon and tricked into entering the Cave of Wonders with his monkey Abu (who is super cute).

abu

In the cave they find the lamp but Abu triggers the alarm and the cave starts turning into lava and they have to use a magic carpet (which has tons of personality for a rectangle) to get out of the cave.

aladdin carpet rideJafar thinking he has the lamp leaves Aladdin and Abu inside the cave but Abu steals the lamp.  That’s when we finally get our Genie!!!  I can’t imagine anyone not liking the Genie or Friend Like Me. It’s perfect.    Evidently it was the first number they animated so certain features are different (longer ears, Aladdin looks younger) but none of that matters.  It is so funny.  You forget most of the time it is just the Genie with blue background.  It’s so manic that’s all we need.

Eventually Aladdin wishes to be made a prince so he can woo Jasmine and we get the next musical number, Prince Ali.  Robin Williams is hilarious  as if he is commenting on a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

In a surprise to Aladdin, Jasmine is not impressed with Prince Ali (neither is Jafar of course!).  She won’t even meet with him, but he convinces her to try a magic carpet ride.  I know A Whole New World won the Oscar for best song but I think it is just okay but the animation is lovely and it provides one of the movies only softer extended moments.

After the ride Jasmine is smitten with Aladdin and has basically figured out he is the street rat from earlier despite him continuing to lie about it.  He tells her he dresses as a commoner for fun, but I don’t think she really believes him.

She is smitten enough to get one of the best Disney kisses ever!

aladdin and jasmine

After the date Jafar traps Aladdin and tries to drown him in the ocean.  The Genie is unleashed and uses one of Aladdin’s 3 wishes to save him..  This is a pretty intense moment for a Disney lead and probably the closest any actually come to dying.

Aladdin comes back to the palace and exposes Jafar as the crook he is but he is unwilling to come clean to Jasmine about who he is.  He also tells Genie he can’t give him his freedom because they want him to be Sultan and he needs to remain a Prince with his wishes.

Just then Iago steals Aladdin’s lamp and brings it to Jafar who makes himself Sultan on high.  The red coloring on these scenes is great at establishing mood (and contrast from the all blue of Aladdin’s scenes when he is master of the lamp).  We also get the reprise of Prince Ali which is Jafar’s villain song.

prince ali scene

Aladdin get’s sent to the ‘ends of the earth’ and we know it is somewhere with snow.  Again the CGI in some of these scenes doesn’t age particularly well but it is a nice emotional segment for Aladdin who feels terrible about Abu and The Carpet.

Getting free we get to Jafar imprisoning Jasmine and her father.  Her outfit is very slinky in these scenes which may be a problem for some Christian viewers.

red jasmine

Aladdin returns and he and Jafar have a wonderfully executed final battle  that feels like Aladdin may have met his match.  The Genie is also helpless because Jafar is his master.

For the finale we get one of the best moments of friendship in all of Disney and a great message about being yourself and loving others more than self.  Especially with Robin Williams passing it is a very tender scene.

Movie Review/Conclusion-

My thoughts on Aladdin are very simple.   What I look for in a comedy is ‘did it make me laugh?’ and this did.  It did as a child and it did now.  The schtick by Robin Williams still holds up and is full of energy and happiness,  which is hard to resist. The genie is one of the best Disney characters ever and it is one of the best examples of a side character stealing the show in a movie- live action or animated.

It also has some nice action segments that will entertain boys and girls.

I think the villain is fine but not one of Disney’s best (although it is nice to have a male villain for once).  I like Iago and think he is used just enough to not be wearing.

Jasmine is a little bland but charming.  The music is a lot of fun if sparingly used. The artistry is fine, does the job it needs to do.

I wish we got to the Genie sooner and the Whole New World sequence is a little forgettable, but not bad.

Like all the great Disney there is genuine heart mixed in with the humor and some nice messages about friendship and honesty.

So all in all, I really enjoy Aladdin.  Is it in my top 10? I don’t think so but it is probably my favorite Disney comedy, so maybe…not sure .  Ask me in a couple years when Robin Williams passing isn’t so fresh.

For now I give it an

Overall Grade- A-

I made donation to St Jude in Robin William’s memory after his passing (I just felt like doing something, not simply talking) and I’d like to make another contribution.  $1 for every view this post gets up to $150. I feel very sad at his loss.