A surprisingly hip outing for the Walt Disney company, which catapulted the classic fable into the 1990s, largely thanks to the input of Robin Williams as the voice of the mercurial, motor-mouthed Genie. ALADDIN is a fairy tale with an edge--a popular children's story that will have even
the most media-savvy parents straining to keep up with Williams's machine-gun delivery of quips, allusions and imitations.
Animation, it turns out, is an ideal medium for Williams's talents. As he launches into his trademark free-associative riffs, impersonating everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger to William Buckley to a bevy of harem women, the corresponding images spring to life with breathtaking speed and
ingenuity; it would take several viewings to capture all the nuances of these comic cartoon jags.
This is not to say that the Genie-free segments of ALADDIN serve only as down time. The story moves at a brisk pace and is punctuated by some virtuoso sequences, in particular a dizzying magic carpet ride through the cave where the lamp is found. Though the lead characters are, as usual, bland,
they're compensated for by a cheeky, entertaining supporting cast. Special mention should go to the mute but expressive magic carpet, and to Iago, hench-parrot of the principal villain, Jafar. Iago's cackling voice was provided by anarchic New York comedian Gilbert Gottfried, and Jafar's evil face
was partially modeled, according to the animators, on that of former First Lady Nancy Reagan.
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