If you grew up in the 1990’s, there’s a very good chance that Robin Williams had a huge influence on your childhood. Starring in iconic films like Ms. Doubtfire, Jumanji¸ Flubber¸ and more. Williams influenced a whole generation of children with humor. Even for some of his dramatic roles Williams transformed himself into someone truly capable of anything. With turns in dramatic films like Dead Poet’s Society or One Hour Photo – Williams proved he could do more than just seemly make us laugh. He could make us cry or even, yes, give us a good scare. That’s why when news broke on August 11th, 2014 of his death – later revealed to be a suicide – that same generation that laughed, cried and feared Williams in those roles were stunned and hurt by his loss. He is forever missed.
Given his impressive resume in the live action, his realm in the animation world can sometimes be overlooked. If you asked the generation, though, that grew on Williams, what do you remember about 1992’s Aladdin? The answer will more than likely always been Williams’ Genie. It’s the reason we may revisit it so many times and the reason so many people could have been against the 2019 live action remake (place review link here). Aladdin though is so much bigger than Williams. Aladdin tells the story of a street kid who stumbles upon a magic lamp and awakens a genie – it is then followed by his journey to find love and the ultimately defeat Jafar, the film’s antagonist. Williams turns in one of the best performances of his careers here. Stealing frames with his signature humor and electric energy.
Though, Williams isn’t alone here. He is joined by Aladdin, played by Scott Weinger of Full House & Fuller House, and Princess Jasmine, played by Linda Larkin. It’s the arcs of both individual characters that make this film come alive. Aladdin, a street orphan, struggling to survive from day to day. However, in moments, proving his heart is that he would rather starve than to see someone else. He just wants happiness above all else. Princess Jasmine, a sheltered princess, merely longing for the outside world. The culture around her is trying to marry her off for anything but love – because it’s the law. Both journeys take viewers through circumstances that not only create character development, extremely well. Also, slowly entwining both arcs until the story leads to the climatic, “A Whole New World’’.
Honestly, the pacing of this film is one of the strongest strengths it carries. No genie is required. It just feels nature. Giving attention to both Aladdin and Jasmine alike to build up their stories beautifully before they get tangled into one another. While also, brilliantly building up the villain of Jafar. Each arc is well executed and equally balanced. Until you reach, “A Whole New World”. While the music and animation are equally as strong as the story telling. The storytelling ends up taken a nose dive into the water with Aladdin during the film’s third act. The final twenty minutes of the film feel so rushed. The pacing that once existed dies as all three arcs come to a head together. As if, the creators had a limited budget and time.
Overall, Aladdin (1992), stands strong as one of Disney’s best entries into their animated library. With a career defining performance from Robin Williams, a memorable soundtrack, beautiful animation and well crafted storytelling – Aladdin truly stands one as one of the greats. As good as the pacing of the film is, though, it’s interrupted and polluted by the film’s final act who seeks in favor of a quick wrap-up. Still, Aladdin, will make you laugh, cry and sing along the entirety of its duration.
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