Aladdin is a 1992 animated feature produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation, and released by Walt Disney Pictures on November 25, 1992. The thirty-first animated feature in the Disney animated features canon, the film is based on the Arab folktale of Aladdin and the magic lamp from One Thousand and One Nights. Several characters and plot elements are also based on the 1940 version of The Thief of Bagdad. Many aspects of the traditional story were changed for the film—for instance, the setting is changed from "China" to a fictional Arabian city, Agrabah. It was released at the peak stretch of the era known as the Disney Renaissance beginning with The Little Mermaid. Aladdin was the most successful film of 1992, earning over $217 million in revenue in the United States, and over $504 million worldwide.
The film was directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, both of whom had just finished writing and directing The Little Mermaid (1989). The musical score was written by Alan Menken, with lyrics written by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Aladdin features the voices of Scott Weinger, Jonathan Freeman, Linda Larkin, Frank Welker, Gilbert Gottfried, Douglas Seale, and, as the Genie of the lamp, Robin Williams. Although this was not the first time in which a major actor such as Williams provided voice-over work for an animated film, it was the first major American animated feature film in which particular attention was paid to a celebrity voice cast member, such as a major movie star, in the film as part of its promotion. This has led to a subsequent increased attention to the casts of later productions, as a major element of animated film marketing.
Meanwhile, in the palace of Agrabah, Jasmine, the beautiful teenage daughter of the Sultan, must be married before her upcoming birthday, but she rejects every prince she meets, as she wants to be married for true love and not merely for wealth. Later Jasmine, frustrated with "having her life lived for her," climbs over the palace walls, and sees the marketplace for the first time, where she meets the street urchin Aladdin and his sidekick/monkey/partner-in-crime, Abu, and the two young people are seen to be falling for each other. Jafar uses a machine to see that the "diamond in the rough" is Aladdin. Jafar sends a group of guards to capture Aladdin while Jasmine is still with him. Jasmine tells Jafar to release him, but Jafar lies and tells her he is already dead.
Jafar, disguised as an old man, releases Aladdin from prison and leads him to the Cave of Wonders. They are told by the tiger-shaped head of the cave to touch nothing but the lamp. Aladdin enters the cave and encounters a magic carpet before finding the lamp. Abu tries to steal a ruby and causes the cave to start collapsing, but the carpet helps them to the entrance. Jafar takes the lamp from them and tries to kill them but Abu takes the lamp back and bites his arm causing him to knock Abu back into the cave just as it collapses.
When Aladdin awakens, he is given the lamp, and after rubbing it a genie is unleashed, revealing that he will grant Aladdin three wishes. Aladdin dupes the genie into freeing them from the cave without using a wish. Jafar, having lost the lamp, plans to trick the Sultan into marrying him forcefully to Jasmine, then kill off both of them.
While contemplating his wishes, Aladdin asks for the genie's opinion. The genie admits he would wish for freedom, since he is a prisoner to his lamp and must follow the orders of the lamp's master. Aladdin promises to wish him free with his last wish. Happily the genie grants Aladdin his first wish: making him a prince so he can marry Jasmine. They parade to the Sultan's palace, much to Jafar's dismay, but Jasmine initially rejects "Prince Ali" considering him a buffoon like all the others before him. Later that night, Aladdin meets Jasmine, and takes her on a magic carpet ride through the sky. She soon realizes that he is the same boy she met in the streets and that he has lied to her. Aladdin comes up with a story that he sometimes dressed as a "commoner" to escape the pressures of palace life, and she believes him. Aladdin returns her home and they kiss.
Jafar sends the guards, who slap Aladdin in chains and throw him off a cliff into the ocean. The lamp falls from inside his turban, and rubs against his limp hands luckily releasing the genie, who then rescues Aladdin as the second wish after liberally interpreting Aladdin's nodding head. Aladdin returns to the palace, smashing Jafar's staff and revealing the vizier's plot to Jasmine and the Sultan. Jafar realises Aladdin's identity, and escapes. Surprised by Aladdin's bravery, the Sultan decides that Aladdin should be King. This made Aladdin stuck in a dilemma as he needs it to use his final wish to become king, but resulting in breaking his promise that he made to Genie to free him. Iago later steals the genie's lamp and brings it to Jafar, who becomes the genie's new master and uses his first wish to become sultan. Jafar then wishes to become a powerful sorcerer and turns Aladdin back to rags, sending him to a blizzard-swept, far-off place.
Aladdin uses the magic carpet to return to Agrabah, where Jafar is keeping the Sultan, the Genie, and Jasmine as his slaves. He offers Jasmine a place as his queen and wife, but she refuses. Jasmine then notices Aladdin coming in the palace, who was about to get the lamp. She tries to make a diversion by tricking Jafar into believing that she's desperately in love with him. Jasmine gives Jafar an extremely passionate kiss, but he sees Aladdin's reflection in her tiara. Aladdin fights Jafar as he transforms into a giant cobra. When Jafar boasts that he is "the most powerful being on Earth," Aladdin tells him that he isn't as powerful as the genie. Jafar uses his final wish to become a Genie and tries to gain control of the universe with his powers. But he forgets that genies are bound to their lamps and is sucked into his new black lamp dragging Iago with him. The genie then flicks the lamp into the Cave of Wonders.
Aladdin and Jasmine say goodbye to each other now that Aladdin is not a prince so they cannot be married. Aladdin wishes for the genie's freedom, much to the genie's surprise and happiness. Since Jasmine loves Aladdin, the Sultan changes the law so that Jasmine can marry anyone she chooses and she chooses Aladdin. The genie then leaves to explore the world while Aladdin and Jasmine celebrate their engagement.
Most characters' designs were based on the work of caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. Jafar's design was not based on Hirschfeld's work because Jafar's supervising animator, Andreas Deja, wanted the character to be contrasting. Aladdin, designed by a team including supervising animator Glen Keane, was originally made to resemble actor Michael J. Fox. During production, it was decided that the design was too boyish and wasn't "appealing enough," so the character was redesigned to add elements derived from actor Tom Cruise, rapper MC Hammer, and Calvin Klein models. Computer animation was used in a number of scenes in the film, such as the tiger entrance of the Cave of Wonders, the scene where Aladdin tries to escape the collapsing cave, and the texture for the magic carpet.
Musker and Clements created the Genie with Robin Williams in mind; even though Katzenberg suggested names such as John Candy, Steve Martin, and Eddie Murphy, Williams was approached and eventually accepted the role. Williams came for voice recording sessions during breaks in the shooting of two other films he was starring in at the time, Hook and Toys. Unusually for an animated film, much of Williams' dialogue was ad-libbed: for some scenes, Williams was given topics and dialogue suggestions, but allowed to improvise his lines. It was estimated that Williams improvised 52 characters. Eric Goldberg, the supervising animator for the Genie, then reviewed Wiliams' recorded dialogue and selected the best gags/lines. Goldberg and his crew then created character animation to match Williams' jokes, puns, and impersonations.
Williams also provided the voice of a merchant in the opening scene, which was completely unscripted (the production left Williams a table with props and asked him to describe the object in character). The double role originally led to the merchant revealing to be the Genie disguised, but that idea was later dropped (the merchant returned in the ending of Aladdin and the King of Thieves).
The compilation Classic Disney: 60 Years of Musical Magic includes "A Whole New World" on the red disc and "One Jump Ahead" on the blue disc. The compilation Disney's Greatest Hits also includes "A Whole New World" on the blue disc.
Eight others were written, but removed from the film (most of them sung by Jafar). The DVD Special Edition released in 2004 includes four songs in early animations tests, and a music video of one of them, "Proud of Your Boy", performed by Clay Aiken. That version also appears on the album DisneyMania 3. Demo versions of these tracks were released on the "Music Behind the Magic" box set. Others included in the DVD are "You Can Count On Me" (not included on DVD - originally performed by singer, Derek Young, who was later replaced due to a recasting of Aladdin's speaking voice). "You Can Count On Me" demo version performed by Alan Menken (replaced by "One Jump Ahead" in the movie), "Humiliate the Boy", and "Why Me" (both replaced by "Prince Ali Reprise").
It was the most successful film of 1992, with $217 million in the United States and over $504 million worldwide, being the biggest gross for an animated film until The Lion King two years later. As of 2008, it is the third highest grossing traditionally animated feature worldwide, behind The Lion King and The Simpsons Movie, however adjusted for inflation it is ahead of The Simpsons Movie.
|Best Music, Original Score||Alan Menken|
|Best Music, Original Song ("A Whole New World")||Alan Menken & Tim Rice|
|Best Music, Original Song ("Friend Like Me")||Howard Ashman|
|Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing||Terry Porter, Mel Metcalfe , David J. Hudson, & Doc Kane|
|Best Sound||Mark Mangini|
|Best Original Song ("A Whole New World")||Won|
|Best Original Song for ("Prince Ali")||Nominated|
|Best Original Song for "(Friend Like Me)"||Nominated|
|Best Original Score||Won|
|Special Achievement Award for Robin Williams||Won|
|Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy||Nominated|
The ADC also complained about lead characters Aladdin and Jasmine being portrayed, with Anglicized features and Anglo-American accents, in contrast to the other characters in the film, who are dark-skinned, have Arab accents and grotesque facial features, and appear villainous or greedy.
Williams and Disney had a bitter falling-out, and as a result Dan Castellaneta voiced the Genie in The Return of Jafar, the Aladdin animated television series, and had recorded his voice for Aladdin and the King of Thieves. When Jeffrey Katzenberg was fired from Disney and replaced by former 20th Century Fox production head Joe Roth (whose last act for Fox was greenlighting Williams' film Mrs. Doubtfire), Roth arranged for a public apology to Williams by Disney. Williams agreed to perform in Hollywood Pictures' Jack, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and even agreed to voice the Genie again for the King Of Thieves sequel (for considerably more than scale), replacing all of Castellaneta's dialogue.
When Williams re-teamed with Doubtfire director Chris Columbus for 1999's Bicentennial Man, Disney asked that the budget be cut by approximately $20 million, and when the film was released on Christmas Day, it flopped at the box office. Williams blamed Disney's marketing and the loss of content the film had suffered due to the budget cuts. As a result, Williams was again on bad terms with Disney, and Castellaneta was once again recruited to replace him as Genie in the Kingdom Hearts video game series and the House of Mouse TV series. The DVD release for Aladdin has no involvement whatsoever from Williams in the bonus materials, although some of his original recording sessions can be seen.
Many in-jokes were also done by the filmmakers, such as a "cameo appearance" from directors Clements and Musker, drawing some characters based on Disney workers, and naming a character "Razoul" after the layout supervisor, Rasoul Azadani.
The Goofy hat, Hawaiian shirt, and sandals that the Genie is wearing at the end of the film is a reference to a short film that Robin Williams did for the Disney/MGM Studios tour in the late 80's. In the film, Williams plays an excitable tourist who is wearing the same clothes.
Other impersonations of the Genie include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Peter Lorre, Señor Wences, Ed Sullivan, Groucho Marx, Robert De Niro, Woody Allen, Carol Channing, Arsenio Hall, Rodney Dangerfield, Jack Nicholson and William F. Buckley.
On October 5, 2004, Aladdin was released on DVD, as Aladdin: Platinum Edition, part of Disney's Platinum Edition line of animated classic DVDs. The DVD release featured a version of the film with retouched and cleaned-up animation, prepared for Aladdin's planned but ultimately cancelled IMAX reissue in 2003, and a second disc with bonus features. It sold about 3 million units, less than any of the other Platinum Edition titles so far. The film's soundtrack was available in its original Dolby 5.1 track or in a new Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix. The DVD went into moratorium on January 31 2008 along with its sequels.
And in 1996, the final sequel to Aladdin, Aladdin and the King of Thieves was released on video. The story concludes as Aladdin and Jasmine are about to be married and Aladdin discovers his father is still alive.
The Hercules: The Animated Series episode "Hercules and the Arabian Night" can be seen as a coda to Aladdin's story. Jafar, now in the underworld and still bitter about his many defeats by Aladdin, teams up with Hades, equally bitter about his inability to best Hercules. They set the two heroes up to fight each other by kidnapping their best friends, Abu and Icarus, while making each think that the other is responsible. This works at first, but the two quickly realize that Hades and Jafar are behind it all and defeat them.
Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie, Abu, Iago, Jafar, Carpet, Sultin and Rajah were also featured as guests in the TV series House of Mouse. In related works to those series, Jafar was the leader of the villains in Mickey's House of Villains. Aladdin makes a quick appearance as well. Aladdin, Jasmine, Jafar, Genie, Abu and Carpet also appear in Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse.
The TV series inspired another game by Argonaut Games, entitled Aladdin: Nasira's Revenge and released in 2001 for the PlayStation and PC. Also, in 2004 Vivendi Universal released Disney's Aladdin Chess Adventures, a chess computer game with the Aladdin license.
The Kingdom Hearts series features a playable Aladdin world known as Agrabah. Characters from the film include Aladdin, Genie, Jasmine, Jafar, Iago, Abu, Carpet and the Peddler. In Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, the plotline is loosely related to the storyline of the original film. In Kingdom Hearts II it is a mixture of Aladdin and The Return of Jafar. Genie is also a recurring summon in the series.