If you could have any three wishes granted — taking “a few provisos” into account — what would you wish for? This question has long animated a global fascination with the story of Aladdin and his wonderful lamp. It took arguably its most popular form in Disney’s Aladdin, the 1992 smash that spawned several follow-ups. With this year marking the movie’s 30th anniversary, we’ll discuss them all here.
We all know this one: the story of a street rat who becomes a wacky genie’s master and uses his wishes to become a prince. Howard Ashman, the Broadway songwriter who practically kick-started the Disney Renaissance, pitched the film to Disney in 1988. Though he made little progress before his untimely death in 1991, the project went ahead.
Much has been made about the comedy performances, especially Robin Williams’s iconic, manic improv as the Genie. It’s also worth noting that Disney’s Aladdin is a rollicking adventure, with plenty of thrilling and dramatic action sequences. Throw in some of Disney’s best songs, including the hit romantic duet “A Whole New World,” and you have an enduring and magical movie.
The Straight-to-Home-Video Sequels
There soon followed two sequels, both animated with smaller budgets by Walt Disney Television Animation. The Return of Jafar gives the villain’s sidekick Iago a protagonist turn, with a full character arc that even culminates in a near-sacrifice. Gilbert Gottfried gets to sing two songs in his trademark squawk.
Aladdin and the King of Thieves bring things more in line with the original. After skipping the second one due to contract disputes, Robin Williams even returns as the Genie. This flick is a bigger adventure that sees Aladdin track down his treasure-hunting father, who happens to be the leader of the Forty Thieves. Neither sequel matches Disney’s Aladdin, but they’re perfectly fine romps.
The Animated Series
You would think that a division called Walt Disney Television Animation would focus on animating for television. You would be correct. Between the two films, they created Aladdin, a TV series that ended up having a whopping 86 episodes. These stories follow Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie, and the rest on new adventures with new villains.
Developing shows based on movies was a common practice for Disney back in the 1990s and 2000s. Hercules is especially notable because one memorable episode crosses over with Aladdin. Jafar, characteristically recalcitrant even in death, makes a deal with Hades to manipulate their respective foes into battling each other. The combination is surprisingly hilarious.
The Live-Action Remake
Disney’s Aladdin continues to delight long after its release. Naturally, it became a top candidate for the studio’s live-action remakes of its animation library. Guy Ritchie, known for his kinetic gangster flicks, took the reins and delivered a version of the familiar story with some fresh ideas.
Will Smith takes over for Robin Williams, and his cool and charming Genie mixes the Fresh Prince with Hitch. The rest of the cast features Middle Eastern and South/Southwest Asian actors, an objective improvement. Even if live-action spectacle is more limited in its possibilities than animation, the musical numbers and action sequences are still lively and entertaining.
Aladdin Gifts at Your WDW Store
Disney’s Aladdin celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and you can celebrate by watching all these adventures. If you’ve never seen anything except the original movie, now would be a great time. We at Your WDW Store can also help Aladdin fans celebrate by supplying all kinds of goodies. Visit our cave of wonders today and see what treasures await.