Aladdin movie poster
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Aladdin
Aladdin movie poster

Aladdin Movie Review

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Growing up, Aladdin was my favorite animated movie. More so than The Lion King, the popular pick at the time, and more so than Toy Story, Finding Nemo or any other film that has followed. I found the music sensational, the visual effects--which feature some early CGI, it appears--incredible and the story exciting. Jasmine was a babe, too.

Over the years, I found it odd that as Disney sent me re-releases of their various hits, I never got my hands on Aladdin. It was my lamp that was just beyond my reach, buried in the sands of time, a movie that for one reason or another never made it into my clutches, my collection.

Finally, yesterday, Disney sent me Aladdin: The Diamond Edition, a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital combo that brings my childhood favorite to life in beautiful high definition. So, how does it hold up?

Aladdin still looks terrific, with strong colors, lively animation and great use of computer effects in a few key sequences--most notably when the characters are riding the magic carpet--that really makes Aladdin dynamic and anything but flat. On Blu-ray, on a 60-inch television, it is a joy to watch.

The story itself still holds up well; it’s fast-paced, exciting and entertaining. Sure, some of the jokes that were intended for children don’t hit quite as hard as they did 20 years ago, but the lively screenplay maintains a good balance between suspense, romance and humor. The musical numbers are still a blast. Jafar is a menacing, even scary villain, and the Aladdin/Jasmine romance works even though they literally resolve all conflict and fall in love over the course of a single song--and thanks to a crafty wingman in the form of a magic carpet.

I would pick up chicks left and right if I had a magic carpet.

The one thing I noticed, having now watched Aladdin for the first time in probably 15 or so years, is that it lacks the emotional weight of some of other Disney movies, most notably The Lion King, Finding Nemo and a few of the other Pixar movies. The movie is never intended to be emotional--no central character dies, notably--but as an adult, Aladdin doesn’t hold up quite as strongly as I remember.

Aladdin is still a great movie, and certainly an animated film that caters to boys’ imaginations, but would I still rank it as my favorite Disney cartoon of all time? Sadly no.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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