Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Aladdin. "We never did, and we may never again"

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the reason why I'm reviewing Aladdin now is because of the death of Robin Williams, and I know it's cliched but Aladdin is genuinely the film I will probably remember him most for. I don't watch any film for its actors so I haven't watched all of his film, but of the films I have watched of his, Aladdin is the one that stuck with me, aside from it being one of my two favorite 2D Disney films to date (the other being Lion King). I stated in both my top 10 lists of Disney songs that there are Disney films that haven't withstood the test of time, the one I brought attention to was The Little Mermaid, but how has Aladdin feared? Lets "Hop a carpet and fly, To another Arabian night".
The plot for Aladdin is fairly simple. The story follows Aladdin, a common "street rat" who is destined for more as he is a "Diamond in the rough" (you'll hear that a few times early on). After being captured for "kidnapping the princess" (which is the cover story for the villain, Jaffar), he is led to the "Cave of wonder" where he finds a magic lamp, has his dreams furfilled, and at the end of the film stop Jaffar who steels the lamp and uses it to, eventually, seal his fate due to his lust for power. This is the heavily shortened version of the story, there's more to it. Aladdin is one of the few "Disney Princess" movies where the princess isn't the main focus of the film and I think the film benefits as a result. Jasmine is only seen when she needs to be seen which emphasizes the point of this being Aladdin's story. Each of the characters are memorable as, in true Disney style, they all stand out due to their personalities.

The art style also still looks great, one of the biggest problems with The Little Mermaid (from what I saw of those videos that I linked to the top 10 lists, I have not seen that film in years) is that the darker colour pallet meant that the art style didn't look as good as other Disney films. That's not the case here. While the pallet does consist of mostly warm colours (using this as a artistic term), the world still looks much cleaner (which is ironic considering the setting for the two films). The warmer pallet, aside from it fitting the setting of a Arabian colony, also helps make the characters stand out from the background, with the exception probably being the Sultan at times but that's because he wears white cloths in a mostly white palace, even if the shades of white are different. The art style also means that powerful moments, such as when Jaffar has control over the lamp look beautiful while maintaining the sense of danger. The designs of the characters, in true Disney style, also reflect the personalities of the characters (which also means that in true Disney style, you know the moment you see him that Jaffar is the villain, because this is the face of a man you can trust with keeping the peace of Agrabah )

You can't talk about Aladdin without talking about Genie, but what is there to say that hasn't already been said? Robin Williams was a perfect fit for this character, to the degree that the script for Williams might as well have been "Your talking to Aladdin, these characters are also here, talk about this, knock yourself out". Robin Williams is a master of improvisation. Anything could happen and he'd be able to come up with multiple jokes that would take most comedians half an hour to write in ten seconds and this is shown off perfectly with Genie. As I said before, I have no idea what was scripted and what was thought up then and there, even with the songs.

On the subject of the songs, while I'll still maintain that One Jump Ahead and Prince Ali are two of the best songs in the film, there's not one song is hate. Arabian Nights is the perfect song to open, you know what I think of One Jump Ahead, Friend Like me (like one jump ahead) is the perfect way to introduce Genie (and dam is it catchy, and a perfect way to describe Robin Williams based on what the public saw of him), Prince Ali... what can I say that hasn't been said about it, imagine Friend like me but even better. And of course, A Whole new world: I'd put Whole New World in the same category of Let it Go, good but overrated and over used. It was the Let it go before Let it go.

People often complain about the 4th wall jokes in the film, saying that it dates the film to a degree and while that might be true, what makes these kinds of 4th wall jokes work is that the 4th wall humor isn't a one of joke, its spread out throughout the film. Its also Robin William's strong point when it comes to humor and it works with his character.

There's a reason why people say that Aladdin is one of their favorite Disney films, me being one of them, is it my all time favorite? No, but its in my Top 3. While next week's review is Pokemon Zeta and Pokemon Omnicron, i'm going to close this review with these.

Aspiring comedians often say to themselves "I could be the next "insert comedian name here", but no one I know, including myself, have said "I could be the next Robin Williams". He was a once in a lifetime comedian, it is likely no one could be the next Robin Williams." "We never did have a friend like you, and we might never have one again"
Rest in peace.

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