Aladdin (voice of Scott Weinger) and his kleptomaniac monkey, Abu, stumble upon a magical lamp after Jafar (Jonathan Freeman) deceitfully uses them to enter the verboten Cave of Wonders to retrieve the oddity, absconding the two vagabonds when they fall helplessly to the pit. Jafar realizes he does not bear the lamp thanks to Abu’s sticky fingers. It is in the cave that we are introduced to Genie (Robin Williams), in what is the gut-busting vocal performance of the century. Ellen DeGeneres is the only potentiality for the prize of best vocal performance with her uproarious Dory in Finding Nemo, but she is located several light years away.
Aladdin uses Genie to manufacture himself into a fraudulent prince, so he may seize the constant personal attention of Jasmine (Linda Larkin), the princess of Agrabah, who can only marry a prince because of law. Meanwhile the mordent Jafar has plans of his own to exploit Genie in becoming the most dominating magician in the world and taking over the city, only to become the most sad-sacked villain in Disney cinema.
To say that this is Williams best work would be an overstatement, but to say this is the best vocal work for a cartoon film by an individual would be hitting the nail right on the head. Williams was so magnificent, vibrant and off-the-wall, that he received a special Golden Globe that year for his work. There was even talk that year that he was up for an Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category. Williams and his performance paved the way for other A-list actors to show off their magical talents and bringing the cartoons to life (e.g. Eddie Murphy in Shrek, the aforementioned DeGeneres).
The absence of Williams would have expunged Aladdin of all its jocoseness and forced it to feed off the conventional love story and superb musical numbers, a Hercules commodity without the latter. Williams brightens the viewers with impersonations galore, ranging from Jack Nicholson to Ethel Merman. An ingenuous film, Aladdin ranks up there with Disney’s inimitable.
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