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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Retro Movie Review: Aladdin & The King of Thieves (1996) #RobinWilliams

Aladdin & The King of Thieves 
Cast: Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin, Gilbert Gottfried, Frank Welker, Jim Cummings, Jeff Bennett, Rob Paulsen, CC.H. Pounder
Genre: Animated

Trivia: among the Genie's transformations is Mrs Doubtfire, the title character played by Robin Williams in the 1993 hit movie

Plot: The king of thieves disrupts Aladdin and Jasmine's long-anticipated wedding, looking for an oracle that will lead him to an even bigger treasure. His true identity causes trouble for Aladdin

'Robin Williams, Good - Story & Plot, Not So Good'

Many of Disney's direct- to- DVD animated movies have been straight up awful, to say the least. Fortunately, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, just about barely scrapes through - and only barely, mostly thanks to the inclusion of Robin Williams. And that is not saying much. 

1996 saw the release of the third Aladdin movie, titled Aladdin & The King of Thieves amidst the end of the Saturday morning cartoon and the interest and publicity of the film was only stoked up when Disney announced that Robin will be the main voice of Genie & reprise his most famous animated role. And yet despite his returning presence as the character, it's not enough to salvage what is left of this rather bland third sequel. 

The King of Thieves was a best-seller on home video during the 1990s and watching it today, it's not particularly great. Although I would still take this over The Return of Jafar, which didn't have Robin Williams in it - and that in itself was also a dull film.

Aladdin and Jasmine are about to get married and thanks to Genie, it looks like we are in for a spectacular event. Only for the 40 thieves to attack and to steal the Oracle and through it Aladdin learns his father is alive and well. Yet his father is also the leader of the thieves. How will this impact Aladdin, and will he and his dad make up in the end? 

The animation quality in this film is similar to that of Duck Tales: The Movie. It is not as great as the 1992 Aladdin full-length feature film. As for Robin Williams, I was so happy that he came back as Genie; sorry, but Dan Castellaneta wasn't as good as Genie. With Disney giving him a million bucks and an apology, it's nice to know the final Aladdin movie had Williams back. Makes me wished he'd returned for Ferngully 2, and yet the first one bombed, & Robin was terrific as Batty Koda.

As with the first Aladdin film, Robin stole the show and ran amok and his Genie is so much better and miles better than Dan Castellaneta's. But for the impressions of the different celebrities (as well as an appearance as Mrs Doubtfire, which I loved), Robin had so few funny lines at his disposal and it's a shame he had to work with such a mediocre script. 

I preferred Robin as Genie in the first Aladdin movie, - and plus, I thought he did better as Batty Koda in Ferngully than his turn as Genie in this third film. 

The songs aren't as good, nor as memorable, the plot is paper thin and the story isn't particularly that interesting and is very stale. It was mostly boring and I switched off most of the time. As for the villain, he isn't anywhere as menacing or appealing as Jafar and whilst it is great to have Robin on board when one gives, another takes away and they took away Jafar. And Jafar was a great villain to have. With Disney, they appear to be able to give, as well as take with Aladdin: for Return of Jafar, they had the guy who voiced Homer Simpson as Genie instead of Robin and with this effort, they brought back Robin but took away Jafar. Why can't we have both Robin Williams as the Genie, as well as Jafar? As renowned as Aladdin was, it seems like Disney doesn't want to treat the franchise properly and with the respect it deserves. As proven with Disney's other sequels to the original films. 

As a straight-to-DVD effort, you get what you expect: it's sub-standard at best but the script is a let-down and but for Robin Williams's Genie, there just wasn't enough for me to truly love about Aladdin and the King of Thieves as much as the first Aladdin film. 


Pros +

- Robin Williams as the Genie 

- Genie as Mrs Doubtfire! 

- Main protagonist characters are here

- Better than Return of Jafar 

Cons -

- Weak and not very memorable songs

- Paper- thin plot and bland story 

- Villain not as good 

- Newer characters are bland

Final Verdict:

Although a slight improvement over Return of Jafar, the King of Thieves still has its weaknesses which haven't been ironed out. Yet if it weren't for Robin Williams as Genie, this would have been as poor as Return of Jafar and completely forgettable. Every other aspect of this film, but for Williams's inclusion and the 2D character designs, wasn't as good. This is nowhere as impressive as the 1992 Aladdin film and is not the quintessential Aladdin sequel one would have hoped for. 

It is surprising to see how popular and successful the Aladdin series has been, even with all the follow-ups being lacklustre to the first film. The story here just wasn't interesting and strong enough for me to care much for it. 

Not as good as the first Aladdin and pales in contrast to the first Ferngully, unless I wanted to rewatch and skip right to Robin Williams's Genie impersonations and moments, there is no other reason for me to sit through this film in its entirety, again.


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