A street rat named Aladdin finds a Magic Lamp that summons a powerful Genie that gives him three wishes. After falling in love with a Princess he met, he decides to use his wishes to win her heart. However, the Sultan's Royal Vizier Jafar, seeks the Lamp and plans to use it so he can become powerful and rule the world.
I'm going to say this about Aladdin, out of all animated Disney heroes, he is by far the best. He's smart, he's clever, he's likable, he's funny, he cares for people and he's relatable. Those are great characteristics for a leading male, especially in a Disney film. I know there are other good ones in the past, such as Tramp, Basil, Robin Hood and Peter Pan; but Aladdin takes the spotlight from all the other previous heroes even the heroes that followed after this film. While also being very smart and caring, he also learns an important message in life (Which is also the films moral) be yourself and don't try to be someone you're not. Oh, and the fact that Aladdin is voiced by Scott Weinger from "Full House" (Whether you like the show or not) is really cool.
Now the Villain, Jafar. Jafar is one of the best Disney villains that Disney's ever created. He carry's nearly everything we enjoy from a Disney villain. He's smart, he's suttle, he's funny, he's threatening, he's scary, he's powerful, he's demanding, he's classy and my goodness is he up there with Maleficent, Frollo and Ursula. He also has a very dark and cool looking design; he keeps altering his appearance; he has great powers; he has villainous henchman along with his talking parrot; and his voice is completely awesome!
All the supporting characters are some of Disney's most comical characters of all time. First, there's Aladdin's sidekick Abu the Monkey, who's not only funny, but is also cute and a major hot head, and all of that combines perfectly with this character. I also love seeing him in his Elephant form as well. Next, there's Aladdin's Magic Carpet and what really amazes me about this character is it doesn't talk nor have a face. Its personality is all expressed in movement which works extremely well. Then we have Jasmine's father the Sultan voiced by Douglas Seale and this character is really enjoyably goofy and dumb, while at the same time having a good heart. Jafar's Parrot voiced by Gilbert Gottfried; out of all Gottfried's acting and voice acting roles, this is not just his greatest performance, but it's also the character we all know him best as with his great comedic timing, hot head personality and Parrot like voice. As for Jasmine's pet Tiger, well Rajah is perhaps a cute character but not too memorable. Out of all characters in this film, the one we all remember the most is the Genie voiced by Robin Williams. What's there not to like or enjoy about this character and performance? He's always over the top; has great comedic timing; has jokes for kids and adults; clever pop culture references that are still funny; great impersonations; a lovable personality; and a character you can feel pity for. This character is not only one of Williams best performances, but it's also (In my opinion) thee best comical side character in all of Disney history that can never be topped! Oh, and Robin Williams performance as the Merchant who opens the story at the beginning is also fun too and indeed sets up the film's tone.
The songs, good god are they all memorable and something you can at least hum too. The song "Arabian Nights" that opens the film is epic, and yes, I am really happy that Disney cut out that unnecessary violent and controversial line in the song. Aladdin's song "One Jump Ahead" is very fun and catchy and does have a beautiful reprise. The Genies songs "Friend Like Me" and "Prince Ali" are all fun, enjoyable and has some great imagery and jokes during the numbers. The villain's song "Prince Ali Reprise" is very short, but man does the villain really sell out that number. Finally the love song "A Whole New World" is very beautiful, very catchy, very romantic, very magical, and is one of Disney's best.
The thing that really broke ground for Disney is its modern fantasy setting with over the top cartoonish humor and pop cultural references. It didn't just start a new idea for Disney, but I can't think of another 2-D animated Disney film that does it as well as this. The film is also one of those rare adventure Disney films for boys like "Peter Pan" or "The Great Mouse Detective". It has everything boys would love to see in an adventure film such as having great action, a great evil villain, over the top humor, treasure, lava, fantasy adventure like settings, and so on. Personally, I think it's Disney's best adventure film for boys. Not to say there's not plenty of things in the film for girls to enjoy. I just feel like the film was aimed more for a boy audience. As for the animation, it's awesome. Again, I love the modern fantasy setting; I love the use of colors; I love some of the computer animation; I love the visuals for Robin William's humor; and I love the Hidden Disney Easter Eggs that were put in the film.
Alright, I know some of you are wondering what I think about some of the controversies in this film. Well, here are my thoughts. The main thing people complain about in this film is Aladdin and Jasmine look and sound American, while the people in Agrabah have dark skin, foreign accents and are portrayed as greedy, goofy and villainous people. While I can see the reason why people attack the film because of that, am I allowed to say that it's a bit nitpicky? I guess the reason why Aladdin and Jasmine are more American looking is because they are young, I mean all the young people in this world look as American as Aladdin and Jasmine (I will say this though, Aladdin and Jasmine do resemble Eric and Belle in a way). As for the people, I didn't think they were all treated that negatively. Most of them are over the top like almost every character in this film to match the films comedic modern tone, style, and atmosphere; so I do find it necessary. The only negative to Arabs I've seen are the thief, Jafar, Jafar's henchman and the market salesmen that tries to cut off Jasmine's arm, that's it. Jafar is the film's main villain so it was necessary to make him stand out as dark and evil looking as well as violent, along with having dangerous henchman and a cut throat thief. As for the Market salesmen, he's more of a jerk and of course without his nasty action, how will Jasmine and Aladdin meet. However, if people out there do find it an offensive stereotype, I can understand. If you think the film teaches kids how nasty this culture is, well, I grew up watching this movie and to be honest it didn't make me think that Arabs are evil and I don't think most kids who have seen this movie are thinking their evil either due to the films comical nature, if you make the world dark and nasty looking then you might have a bone to pick. There's also some suggestive material with all the woman living in this world that parents were pissed about. Personally, I don't think the film went too far with it, but I can understand why parents would be pissed. As for the whole "The Thief And The Cobbler" rip off; both films ripped off each other and the film is owned by Disney when it came out, so I don't think it's necessary to talk or even make a controversy out of it.
I really think it's one of Disney's best. The hero is great; the Princess is great; the villain is nasty; the supporting characters are funny; the songs are unforgettable; the animation is epic; the comedic modern fantasy look and style is outstanding; and it has plenty of action. It's really one of Disney's best and defiantly still holds up as a great Disney film!