On Saturday, November 14th, Disney unveiled its latest animated feature film, "Aladdin," in sneak previews across the country. Since then, it has gone on to become the highest-grossing animated film ever produced, and, to anyone who has seen this film, the reason is no secret.
From the moment the film begins, with a lanky man riding a camel against a beautiful star-studded sky, the audience possesses a certain electricity of excitement that can be felt by all. As the "camera" draws closer to the camel and its rider, the man suddenly jumps off, sets up a kiosk, and tries to peddle a hookah/coffee maker to the audience, setting a comic tone that will prevail throughout the film.
The story is as well developed as a Disney plot can be, having gone through many totally different drafts before release. The music is spectacular, mimicking the Harlem Stride piano sound of Fats Waller, yet echoing the pop chart success of "Beauty and the Beast" (especially in the duet "A Whole New World," which was released as a single). The underscoring could be a symphony in itself, with sharp rhythms and subtle wit that has become a trademark of Disney composers.
Following the lead of "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin" showcases spectacular computer-generated sequences, most notably two magic carpet rides: one through a volcanic explosion, the other a tour of the cities of the world. You can be sure that a theme park attraction will spring from these concepts.
Although all actors are outstanding, with a special notation to Lea Solonga ("Miss Saigon") and comedian Gilbert Godfrey ("Problem Child"), the show is stolen by Robin Williams as the genie, whose role was written expressly for him. Not only does Williams play the genie himself, but he impersonates Ed Sullivan, Jack Nicholson, Pinocchio, and more.
The movie may not be as artistically astounding as "Beauty and the Beast," nor will it have the emotional impact of "Bambi," but its new brand of comedy and memorable, jazzy tunes will certainly brand this movie a classic. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.