In ALADDIN, a street urchin woos an Arabian Princess by pretending to be a prince. He gets help from an exuberant blue genie in a bottle, who grants him three wishes. But before this story ends happily ever after, Aladdin must tell Princess Jasmine the truth about his identity, and defeat an evil royal advisor, neither one an easy task!
Jasmine is no Belle and Aladdin is no Beast, but add a big blue genie voiced by Robin Williams to the picture and you've got a very entertaining Disney movie. Williams brings humor and vitality to a movie that might otherwise be just another "princess forced to marry against her will" story. His imagination and antics clearly inspired the animators, too, and every scene with the genie is off-the-charts creative.
Songs like "A Whole New World," and a magic carpet with more personality than all of Disney's animal sidekicks put together, help give scenes without the genie a lift. Jasmine is spunky even though her predicament isn't very original, and Aladdin is sweet and eventually learns his own self worth.
In the DVD extras, kids won't want to miss a virtual magic carpet ride in which viewers speed through different Arabian settings as if on a roller coaster. They should also check out the fun and interactive 3-D tour of Genie's lamp. Music videos by pop singers Clay Aiken and Jessica Simpson add little to the Aladdin experience, and unfortunately Robin Williams isn't a part of the special edition -- you won't find him reminiscing about the making of Aladdin, even though it may go down in history as one of his best roles. The bonus material focuses a lot on the death of songwriter Howard Ashman and how that affected the moviemaking and music. While the discussion of the death of this person who influenced many Disney movies may be interesting and moving for adults, it is not necessarily suitable or fun for kids.