Tag Archives: Blu-Ray

Toonsday Review: Aladdin Diamond Edition

Aladdin Poster

Imagine if you had three wishes, three hopes, three dreams, and they all could come true.

Those are the words adorned across the beautifully simplistic original movie poster of Aladdin.  In 1992, Disney was in the early stages of what many call “The Disney Renaissance”.  It started in 1989 with The Little Mermaid and ended in 1999 with Tarzan.  In that time we were gifted films like Mulan, The Lion King, Hercules (my personal favorite), and the first animated film to receive an Academy Awards nomination for Best Picture, Beauty and the Beast.  As with all Renaissance periods, it wasn’t until afterwards did many recognize these great achievements in film making history.

With the release of Aladdin on Blu-Ray, which you can buy here, we can finally pitch our VHS copies and toss in one of many next gen devices we have hanging out around the house.  Anytime you watch a film from your childhood, you run the risk of nostalgia and quality clashing.  I absolutely adore the film My Science Project from 1985, but it absolutely blows by film standards.  So, you have two options at this junction:

  1. Keep it in your memory where it may belong -or-
  2. Take the plunge and revisit your childhood love and discover if the film was indeed as good as you remember

Let’s hold our breath and take that plunge.

Aladdin is not only the hilarious madhouse I remember it to be, but so much more as I view as an adult.  I can only imagine my family sitting in the theater, watching Aladdin with me, and enjoying it just as much as I was.  As I giggled at Robin Williams’ Genie, my family likely saw the lush, colorful animation, heard the catchy tunes, and were wrapped up in the brilliant storytelling which they could only hope to see in any live-action film that year. Viewing it now, I just cannot imagine anyone not being blown away by what they just watched.

While discussing Aladdin, we really have to start with Robin Williams’ and his pitch perfect performance of the Genie.  The character was full of enough zany energy and 90’s pop culture to choke a camel.  I cannot for the life of me imagine anyone not finding the Genie just the perfect centerpiece to this film.  Most of, if not all, the comedy comes from the Genie and his transformations, dialogue, and songs.  I mean, I don’t know anyone who can watch Aladdin and not have “Friend Like Me” stuck in their heads. Even if you haven’t seen it recently, you are now humming that song.

There
Just some imagery in case you’re a visual person

I just don’t believe they’ve written such a beautiful and tragic character in any of their films.  The Genie is a slave to the lamp and whomever holds it and here he has a master that says he’ll wish him free.  However unlikely that he would give up a wish, it’s what we’ve come to expect from our hero Aladdin “The Diamond in the Rough”. Which is exactly why it’s such a gut punch when Aladdin may not hold up his end of the bargain later in the film.

All of the other voice actors do a fantastic job and the professional singers they bring in for some of the songs are just perfect.  A lot of this can be attributed to the lyrics of Sir Timothy Rice (yeah, he was Knighted, how awesome is that?) and the score of Alan Menken.  Much of the music from the Disney Renaissance was done by these two talented men.  It also helps when your songs get radio play versions and some are even sung by Sir Elton John.

Seriously
Seriously, how many Knights does Disney get to have on their team?

The whole cast of characters are great, but Abu, the Carpet & Jafar/Iago really stand out to me.  I don’t know about you, but I wanted a monkey sidekick after seeing this movie.  I had great plans for him all the adventures we would go on.  Then one flung poo at me while visiting the zoo, so that fantasy ended pretty quickly. And you would have to be inhuman to not love the Carpet.  Let’s face it, every kid wants to fly.  I know that every one of you, even if you’re afraid of heights, has wanted to fly.  Not only do the Disney Animators work their magic by introducing another means for flight, but they actually have the Carpet emote. Think about that for a second.  Tons of characters on screen at any time, and they took the time to make it look like a rug can be happy or sad.  That’s just utter dedication to your film and its audience.

Sadly he just learned what Rule 34 of the Internet is
Sadly he just learned what Rule 34 is and his involvement in Aladdin “Slash Fiction”…

Jafar and Iago’s villainy ranks right up there with some of the worst in Disney history (Hades being my favorite) in my opinion.  Sure Jafar only has a single song and it’s a reprise, but it’s still pretty menacing.  And Jafar is such a classic villain, which is absolutely perfect here.  In a film where you’re dealing with the ambiguity of stealing for food, making selfish wishes, and forcing others into slavery, both the Genie and to some extent Jasmine, they really needed a defined villain.  Not to mention Gilbert Gottfried’s Iago which his manic energy is only rivaled by the Genie (I can only imagine those recording sessions with those two comedians in the room together).   Both Jafar and Iago combine to be an absolutely diabolical team and we know it from the very first scene. Just like audiences knew it when they saw Darth Vader in Star Wars.

He does
Although I will say he looks a bit less menacing these days

I could go on for another several pages but you all know that Aladdin ranks up there with some of the all time greatest films, animated or otherwise.  Aladdin is just perfect and it’s a shame they don’t make them like that anymore.  We’ll just have to deal with all of our tears while watching a Pixar movie.

If the tears don't immediately start just looking at this picture, you have no heart
If you don’t immediately start crying just looking at this picture, you have no heart

Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:

Eh, who am I kidding, I know what you want:

Dedicated to Mr. Robin Williams, RIP

-Darkmovienight

Throwback Thursday: The Iron Giant or They Just Don’t Make Them Like They Use To

The_Iron_Giant_Poster

Brad Bird is a genius.  Not only has he entertained us with films from Pixar (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) but an incredible action film: Mission Impossible- Ghost Protocol.  But in my humble opinion, his magnum opus was done sixteen years ago and it was this film, The Iron Giant.  

Now I want to say right up front that this review is going to be exceptionally short.  There are two reasons.  One, I’m on my tablet with a tiny Bluetooth keyboard typing this out on a decidedly non-mobile website.  Two, if I talk about this movie too much I’m going to cry my eyes out like I did last night.

If you haven’t seen The Iron Giant you either have no interest in animated films, have no kids, or in 1999 you were too scared about Y2K to come out of your fallout shelter.  Whichever kept you from seeing this film, you’ve missed out on something truly wonderful.

Since Walt Disney put together the Beautiful work of Snow White, I seriously don’t believe there has been a better hand drawn animated feature out there.  There is also a bit of sadness here because it is one of the last hand-drawn animated films out there.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore any form of animation, but we’re losing the art that started it all and that’s a shame.  Not only is the artwork pure beauty, but the writing, the direction, the characters, and even the plot are perfect.  It seriously is a lesson in how to create good cinema.

I know you’re looking for more from us here at I Watch Too Many Movies, but I just can’t say enough good about the work.  Not only is it a wonderful, funny, and endearing film, it also gives excellent ideas on personal strength and growth.  Not enough films today work to inspire young people to be all that they can be and they can be anything.   That’s truly special and needs to be repeated more often.

Didn’t Read My Fancy Words, Here is the Short Version:

The Iron Giant is a brilliant film that is criminally underated.  I wish more people can see the beauty I see when the film rolls.  Soon it will be out on Blu-Ray and you’ll have the chance to experience it.  For now, I want to leave you with a line that has resonated with me for years.  One line of dialog from an almost perfect film: “You are who you choose to be.”  This film was made for everyone and no matter what stage of life you are in…You are who you choose to be.

-Darkmovienight