Aladdin And The King Of Thieves
Rating -

Animated (US); 1996; Not Rated; 80 Minutes

Robin Williams: Genie
Frank Welker: Abu
Gilbert Gottfried: Iago
Linda Larkin: Princess Jasmine
Jerry Orbach: Sa'luk
CCH Pounder: The Oracle
John Rhys-Davies: Cassim
Scott Weinger: Aladdin

Produced by Jeannine Roussel†and Tad Stones; Directed by Tad Stones; Screenwritten by Mark McCorkle†and Robert Schooley

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Written by DAVID KEYES

Words to Disney:

Never make another Aladdin sequel. Never EVER try to to stick us with a crummy direct-to-video release like Aladdin And The King Of Thieves, where audiences are confronted with apalling frustration. You made a respectable effort with the original film, as was the case for itís first sequel, The Return Of Jafar.

Iím afraid, however that the effort no longer exists in the franchise with Aladdin And The King Of Thieves, not because of its poor production background, but because of the fact that it introduces characters and a plot so pathetically scripted that not even the creators of Ishtar would like it.

The movie condemns itself with dimwitted dialogue, humorless jokes, pathetic new characters, and (yes) even tasteless ambition. It is a demonstration of what every animator fears: a movie that happens before it thinks.

This somewhat different story is told with amazing boredom: when the movie opens, we see a crowd of peasants gather at the Agrabah palace. They are getting ready to celebrate the long-awaited Jasmine and Aladdin wedding, when a familiar voice comes from a beggar, as he asks one of the palace guards what all of the commotion is about. The guard exclaims "the princess is to wed some common street rat."

This beggar then melts away his guise to reveal the one and only Genie. The voice is that of Robin Williams, who finally makes his long-awaited return to the series here. Popping into his most-known form, the Genie bounces back at the guard, praising "itís no common street rat. Itís Aladdin!"

The title of the film comes up afterwards, and then everything begins to go wrong. The first problem we spot occurs during the opening number, when the hordes of people chant "Aladdinís getting married and itís gonna be the wedding of the century." You will notice that the crowds hold in their possession a newspaper that reads "Aladdin and Jasmine to wed."

Now I know that animation can go beyond the possibilities of real life, but there is something called "common sense" that not even animators can avoid. Agrabah is in the desert, so how in the world would these people in Agrabah possess newspapers that look like they have been printed on a professional press? I donít care if there is a Genie in this movie: newspapers in the desert is like having snow in Florida during July.

When the wedding reception finally arrives after the opening number, everyone turns their heads in absolute amazement to Princess Jasmine, who has a wedding dress so bright that it tones her skin to a color I didnít even know existed. Everyone (especially the men) drop their jaws and widen their eyes, like she is the queen of raw beauty or something.

The way the animators have sketched out Jasmine this time is completely unnecessary. How can everyone at the wedding drool over her when she is colored like a Planterís peanut? Itís not like I have anything against these things, but Jasmine was beautiful in the first two films: she was inked well with colors that suited her. What forced them to change it now?.

She is the only one in the movie who has changed: is this a tan that animators gave her, or was this a last-minute decision to possibly save time? I imagine I shall never know, and I fear that I donít even want to know.

Then the wedding ceremony is interrupted by the notorious 40-thieves, who have come in search of a mystic oracle that, in a few minutes time, is learned to be the key for unlocking the mystery to the whereabouts of the deserts most prized treasure; the legendary Hand Of Midas. When Aladdin also learns from this spirit within the oracle that his own father (whom he has never known) is trapped within the hidden world of those exact thieves.

Going in search of his father, Aladdin quickly learns that his father is actually the king of thieves, an overwrought greedy man named Cassim, who is the one after the Hand Of Midas and the Oracle from which he can find it from.

Aladdin then invites his father to his and Jasmineís wedding, and on the second attempt of this decorated disaster, the Sultanís guards learn that Cassim is the leader of those 40 outlaws, mainly by watching him attempt to recapture the Oracle to learn where the Hand Of Midas is. Aladdin himself is heartbroken at his fatherís greediness, nevertheless helping him to escape from prison that very night.

They go off to find the Hand Of Midas, but in the end, Cassim goes all noble and realizes that his true treasure is not the Hand Of Midas, but his own son.

I would not dare describe the villain in this picture. Looking at him, I was overcome with sickened thoughts of how negative the Disney studios can be in perpetrating their villains with racial messages, as they partially did in The Rescuers Downunder. Every character in AATKOT has the same skin-tone, but this crazy, absent-minded villain named Saíluk has the palest skin on a human since Dracula. Children are going to watch these movies, and, believe it or not, they may get the wrong impression of the difference in skin-tone from villain to hero. Thereís no telling what this could do to younger viewers.

Now take notice that this pathetic excuse for entertainment receives a half star in my film rating. Okay, so the movieís not so inept that it deserves zero stars, but that is not saying anything of praise. Itís kind of difficult for me to do this, too, because Robin Williams returned to the series here. His humor, however, was a completely recycled treatment, and was so spoofed and dumb that it insults movies from which the jokes were first derived.

I am literally shocked at him for wanting to even make this mess. He is a great actor, and can be very funny most of the time. Itís just sad that he has to be heard in a movie where the only thing funny is the filmís name.

© 1998, David Keyes, Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
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