movie film review | chris tookey


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  Aladdin Review
Tookey's Rating
7 /10
Average Rating
8.42 /10
Voices: Scott Weinger, Robin Williams , Linda Larkin

Directed by: John Musker , Rod Clements
Written by: John Musker, Ron Clements, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice

Released: 1992
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 90

Young Tom Cruise lookalike makes good despite the efforts of swarthy Arab-types to stop him.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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After a competent but undistinguished first half-hour, Aladdin catches fire, not to mention the imagination of the audience, with the appearance of the Genie of the Lamp: blue, bulbous and bursting with bottled-up bonhomie. Robin Williams provides a marvellous, mercurial voice-over, spinning the script into areas of alternative cabaret and pop-conscious improvisation hitherto unexplored in cartoon.

The dialogue is funny, up to the minute, and matched by ingenious animation: the Grand Vizier’s parrot, with the vengeful squawkiness of a New York cab-driver, is a fine slapstick creation, and the mute but expressive Magic Carpet must be among the most engaging supporting characters in the whole Disney canon.

The songs advance the plot, are illustrated with every device of the animator’s art, and won two Oscars (for best song and score). But the lyrics lack the wit, and the music the melodic strength, of Beauty and the Beast, or even The Little Mermaid. Also, the film is terribly noisy and relentless. The arcade-game decibels and rock-promo-speed cutting are so excessive, they make the dialogue and lyrics hard to follow.

Not for the first time in a Hollywood film, all the likeable characters look American (Aladdin himself is a dead-ringer for Tom Cruise), whereas most of the villains are foreign. The worst of them all, the Grand Vizier, looks like an Arab and speaks with that favourite accoutrement of Hollywood villainy, an English accent. The movie gives the impression that survival through stealing and opportunistic shoplifting are permissible activities - as long as the people you steal from are from the Third World. While the narrative goes through the motions of paying obeisance to humanistic values (the two, non-controversial messages seem to “Be true to yourself” and “Abolish slavery”), there is something missing: and it’s called charm.

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