Link to Last Week’s Part: The Disneyathon: The Direct to Blog Sequel – Part 1: Aladdin: The Return of Jafar
Link to my Aladdin (1992) Review: The Disneyathon Part 12: Original Classics
Quick Announcement: I really miss calculated myself about releasing a post every Thursday. Thursday is my work day and I’m realising putting the two on the same day isn’t a very good idea for a variety of reasons the main one being I have a higher chance of forgetting to post it, which this week I did. So I decided in order to avoid these problems entirely, I’m changing the date from Thursday to every Friday now, since it’s much more convenient for me and there is a better chance of me keeping to a consistent schedule. That’s it, enjoy the post folks!
So, despite my distaste for Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, it was a big success and paved the perfect path for Disney to make more cheap inferior sequels to the movies you love, starting just two years later with another Aladdin sequel, this time called Aladdin and the King of Thieves. Similar to The Return of Jafar which served as the pilot for a short lived Aladdin TV series, The King of Thieves was not only the series finale, but was also meant to conclude the Disney Aladdin franchise. That’s a lot of pressure to put on one film, so did it pull it off?
Here’s a surprise for you, I actually like Aladdin and the King of Thieves. It’s an improvement over Return of Jafar, as it’s entertaining, the songs are at least decent and the characters aren’t contorted to work in with the plot. Within the first 40 seconds of King of Thieves you hear that Robin Williams is back voicing the Genie and that’s enough to get you excited for the fun ride ahead. Williams even sings the catchy opening song There’s A Party Here in Agrabah, during which we learn almost all four of this film’s major storylines. The first being that Aladdin and Jasmine are getting married, second that Aladdin is thinking about his long lost father and third the Forty Thieves are infiltrating the palace with a plan to rob the joint. The only storyline missing from the opening surrounds the quest for the golden touch hand. It’s a solid opening in my books, as it doesn’t waste any time, while also leaving some intrigue as to what’s to come.
The story in general is just good stuff. It’s your usual Aladdin fare crossing-over with an Indiana Jones type adventure. What more could you want? Well, it seems the writers thought you wanted to know what Aladdin’s parents had been up to all this time. Aladdin’s mother met the same fate as Jasmine’s mum, condemned to irrelevancy. Aladdin’s father on the other hand is not only alive, but is the king of the thieves, which sounds completely absurd. Whatever, I’ll go with it as it’s the same movie where the whole adventure hinges on a magical spirit sceptre to tell them where the treasure is.
Unfortunately, around the mid point when Aladdin is reunited with his father Cassim, and all of their daddy issues ensue, the film starts to take a dip. The petty conflict between Aladdin and Cassim is annoying and reminded me too much of last week’s plot of Jasmine temporarily hating Aladdin for lying to her about Iago. Thankfully this low point is somewhat salvaged by Robin Williams’ improv, despite him having very little to work with. The Genie serves no purpose in the story besides being a comic relief, the reason for this I believe is because the movie would otherwise only be 20 minutes long. Why ask a magic sceptre with a one question limit where the hand is, when you have a Genie or better yet, why bother going on a long quest to get the hand when he can make it appear out of thin air? I know he is free from the Genie responsibilities, but he’s like Aladdin’s best friend and is willing to save him and his buddies whenever they’re in danger so, why not use him to get the hand? It’s a big plot hole and the writers are pretty sneaky to cover it up as it’s only ever raised when Cassim asks Aladdin if he’s used up all of his three wishes yet. Oh well, at least we got to see The Genie become Mrs Doubtfire in the the same movie that he does impressions of Rocky, Forrest Gump and a bunch of other celebrities that I mostly recognised this time.
The final act at the temple of the golden touchy hand puts the movie back on track. They defeat the most underwhelming villain of all time and live happily ever after, great stuff! I mainly appreciated the extra effort put into the animation for inside the temple of the McGuffin hand which really shows off how much it has improved since Return of Jafar. The only thing that bothered me about the conclusion is Aladdin’s dad’s sudden change of heart to toss away the golden hand thing. The guy literally spent years searching for that thing, which involved abandoning his family to poverty so he could join a dangerous gang of criminals and eventually become their leader. After all of that, two days with his son convinces him he’s better off without it. If this was an attempt to have a Sean Connery like arc from the Last Crusade, it’s so poorly mishandled, as Cassim has more reasons to keep it than throw it away.
I may have sounded a little negative at the end, but overall Aladdin and The King of Thieves exceeded my low expectations and I would say is a solid follow-up to the original Aladdin. Now that I think about it, it’s better than all the sequels I covered in the original Disneyathon series. It’s an honest surprise, I recommend seeking it out if you haven’t done so already. That’s the end of the Aladdin sequels, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t try that again with two more sequels to the same beloved franchise. We’ll talk about one of those next Friday, so see you then!
Link to Next Week’s Part: The Disneyathon: The Direct to Blog Sequel – Part 3: Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas