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The only good DTV Disney ever made
on July 25, 2002
Cinderella II. Lady and the Tramp II. Lion King II. Pochahontas II. The Hunchback of Notre Dame II. Return of Jafar. The list of direct-to-video stinkers made by Disney seems to be endless. Fortunately, Aladdin and the King of Thieves is the exception.
Released early on before Disney decided to defile it animated classics, Aladdin and the King of Thieves features a solid, new storyline that does not simply rehash the original. Maybe this extra attempt at quality was made to get Robin Williams to reprise one of his coolest roles? After two movies and countless tv episodes, Aladdin and Jasmine are finally getting married. Then the forty thieves show up and trash the wedding, and Aladdin goes on a quest to find his father and a unique treasure with the golden touch. While not targeted to older kids like Disney's Atlantis was, this movie is slightly darker than the two that came before it, which is a good thing. A lot of this comes from the forty thieves, who sing about robbing, plundering, in an endearing kind of way. There is a sword duel conveyed in hellish reds, murky blues, and shadows, and lightning is used to symbolize Aladdin being wounded. And the villain's demise is quite original, not the usual "falling to their death" we've seen over and over. In fact, I daresay Atlantis even borrowed the demise for their film's climax. All in all, it's an entertaining, never-boring, thrill ride, and ties up the saga nicely, with a nod to the street merchant who began this whole thing.
The songs in Aladdin and the King of Thieves are not up the quality of the original, but they are much better than all the other Disney DTV's. The two songs the forty thieves sing are quite hilarious and memorable, the romance song didn't make me cringe at all, and the opening number gets the ball rolling really well. The only semi-clunker is the father and son song, but that wasn't bad either. The animation isn't cinema-quality, but it's also above-average and commendable. My only curiosity with this movie is some of the Genie's jokes. The animators went with whatever ad-libs Robin Williams came up with, and even after six years of watching this movie, I still can't understand most of them, especially the homages to past comedians. This is the only part children won't understand.
Aladdin and the King of Thieves is a high-quality Disney DTV, and as things stand, their ONLY high-quality release ever. Worth picking up on video, or even on the eventual DVD release.