Aladdin was one of those movies that never clicked with me. It’s weird because the film hit at a time when I was just getting out of kid movies. Yeah, I was the kind of snobby kid who brought a book with him to see Apollo 13. Sure, it was the Phantom Tollbooth, but it still counts. Anyways, random movies from the early 90s that people obsess over.
Walt Disney in the early 90s was a bizarre time. The Eisner/Katzenberg/Satan triumvirate was producing animated musicals that would later be adapted for Broadway. Meanwhile, narrative animators were left to scramble as other studios desperately tried to mimic the Disney style. Don Bluth bounced around the place, while heaven help you if you were a Bakshi or other kind of animator. More than that, Aladdin (1992) is a constant reminder that Katzenberg/Eisner wasn’t that great for animation.
Sometimes, I ponder issues of cultural disconnect. Right now, I’m finishing this piece while listening to a child-like 30 year old hum music from the Toy Story movies. While I appreciate creative and spunky people, there is something that goes off in my head. How are young adults still really into that Disney era? It was musical after musical that used a Mad Libs style system to keep Tim Rice employed.
It wasn’t until the rise of the Internet that American animation started to recover. You might grit your teeth or scream at me about this. However, no one really cares about the simplistic musicals that dominated your childhood. At least Aladdin had a Elliot/Rossio rewritten script that tried to offer up more story for a film like this. But, how do you have a story sandwiched between constant music and Robin Williams showing off more than a drag queen with ADHD?
Watching this film back to back with the recent live-action version struck me odd. All of my problems with the animated version are solved by the live-action version. But, the live-action version feels so unremarkable and cold. Did all of the emotional heart come from the Ashman music? It can’t be, because even in 1992…it was starting to feel tired coming off of everything built up in the last 3-4 years.
The 4K disc is loaded with special features. You get two ways to watch the film, an alternate ending, featurettes, commentary, outtakes and more! I wish we got some special features in 4K, but I’ll take what I can get. It’s quite impressive. I’d recommend a purchase to fans.