Aladdin is the thirty-first animated feature in the Disney animated features canon, made and produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation, and released on November 25, 1992 by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution. It relates a version of the story of Aladdin and the magic lamp from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. As is usual with Disney film adaptations, many aspects of the traditional story were changed for the movie. It was released at the peak stretch of the Disney renaissance era beginning with The Little Mermaid. It was the most successful film of 1992, with over $217 million in domestic revenues and over $504 million worldwide.
It was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. The musical scores were created by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (with additional lyrics provided by Stephen Schwartz and Tim Rice after Ashman's death). Menken received the 1992 Academy Award for Original Music Score of Aladdin. The main soundtrack song "A Whole New World" (sung during the closing credits by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle) won a Grammy Award as well as the Academy Award for Best Song in 1992.
Voice actors included Robin Williams as the Genie. Although this was not the first time in which a major actor provided voice-over work for an animated film, it was the first major American animated feature film in which particular attention was paid to a celebrity cast member, such as a major movie star, in the film as part of its promotion. This has led to a subsequent increased attention to the casts of later productions, such as Toy Story and Shrek, as a major element of animated film marketing.
Aladdin was followed by two direct-to-video sequels: The Return of Jafar (1994) and Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996), and an animated television series, Aladdin, set between the two sequels.
The story takes place in the mystical city of Agrabah though there are some inconsistencies in the time period. The sultan (who is never given a name) of Agrabah is secretly being controlled by his grand vizier, Jafar. Jafar, who is also a sorcerer, wants to be the sultan himself and rule Agrabah; to further his goals, he has spent years searching for the Cave of Wonders, so he can harness the magical power of the genie of the lamp found within. However, Jafar discovers that only one person, a metaphorical "Diamond in the Rough", can enter the cave, or anyone accompanied by that person.
The sultan, meanwhile, is having problems with finding a prince for his daughter, Princess Jasmine, to marry. By mesmerizing him with his magical snake staff, Jafar convinces the sultan that Jafar needs the sultan's ring to find Jasmine a husband. Jafar actually needs the ring to discover the identity of the "Diamond in the Rough."
Jasmine, who does not want to be married off, decides to run away disguised as a peasant girl. In the anarchy of the streets, she is saved by a street urchin named Aladdin, though she doesn't learn his name. Meanwhile, Jafar discovers that Aladdin is the "Diamond in the Rough", and has him arrested and thrown in a dungeon. When Jasmine asks what happened to her savior, Jafar lies to her by saying he had been executed at dawn for kidnapping the princess.
Later, Jafar, disguised as an old man, shows Aladdin a hidden passage that leads to freedom and takes him to the Cave of Wonders. Jafar tells Aladdin that if he brings back the lamp, he will be rewarded. The Cave's tiger-shaped head allows Aladdin to enter, but he can only touch the lamp. Inside the Cave, Aladdin successfully finds the lamp, but his pet monkey, Abu, loses control and attempts to take a jewel, causing the cave to melt around them. Aladdin and Abu manage to escape with the aid of a flying carpet named "Carpet". Upon his escape, Aladdin hands Jafar the lamp, and Jafar decides to give him his "eternal reward", preparing to attack with his dagger. Abu saves Aladdin by biting Jafar's arm, and Abu and Aladdin fall back into the cave as it closes.
Aladdin, Abu, and Carpet are all trapped inside the Cave of Wonders. Jafar discovers, to his dismay, that Abu got the lamp from him before they disappeared. Aladdin discovers that the lamp is home to an eccentric, fun-loving genie (simply named "Genie"), who will grant him any three wishes, excluding wishes to force a person to fall in love, to kill someone, to bring someone back from the dead, or to give his master extra wishes.
Aladdin tricks Genie into getting them out of the cave, without technically wishing for him to do so. Once out of the cave, Aladdin gets to know Genie, and asks him what he would wish for if he had the chance; Genie says he'd wish for freedom, but that can only be granted if his master is benevolent enough to free him with a wish. Aladdin promises to set Genie free with his last wish.
Aladdin, who has fallen in love with Princess Jasmine, is disappointed that he can't wish to make her fall in love with him. However, the law states that only a prince can marry a princess, so he wishes to become a prince.
Meanwhile, Jafar, who is worried that the princess might have him beheaded as punishment for supposedly having Aladdin executed, comes up with the idea to convince the sultan to let him become her husband with the help of his parrot, Iago. He later tries to mesmerize the sultan into granting this request with his staff, but is interrupted when the sultan is startled by the noise from Aladdin's approaching consort.
As "Prince Ali Ababwa", Aladdin returns to Agrabah and, although offending Jasmine by appearing as another typical rich and self-important prince, eventually wins Jasmine's love by taking her on a romantic ride on the flying carpet. Afterwards, Jasmine tricks Aladdin into admitting he's the street urchin she met in the marketplace. Aladdin however, wants to naturally impress her, so he deceives her by telling her that he really is a prince and had just pretended be a commoner in order to escape the restrictions of palace life, much like what Jasmine did.
Jafar, who is afraid that "Prince Abubu", as he incorrectly calls him, may win Princess Jasmine over, ruining his own plans to marry her, wants Aladdin out of the way. He orders the guards to shackle and gag Aladdin (which isn't a problem, as Razoul, the chief guard, is plagued with a lust for killing). He tells him that he has "worn out his welcome," and a guard hits Aladdin over the head, knocking him unconscious. Aladdin regains consciousness when the guards drop him over a cliff into the sea. They have attached a ball-and-chain, so he sinks very quickly. He hits the bottom, and his turban floats down. The lamp tumbles out and he begins to struggle towards it, but passes out before he can reach it. Unconscious, he slides down towards the lamp, and rolls over, causing it to rub against his fingers. Genie appears, and saves Aladdin, using up his second wish. Aladdin and Genie return to the palace and Aladdin confronts Jafar over trying to have him killed. Jafar uses his staff to try to convince the sultan that Aladdin is lying, but Aladdin, seeing what he is doing, grabs the staff and shatters it. He then shows the sultan that Jafar has been controlling and plotting against him. The sultan calls for the guards to arrest Jafar, but he manages to escape, and, before doing so, sees the lamp in Aladdin's possession. The sultan is convinced that his troubles are over as Jasmine has finally chosen a suitor.
All seems well, but the weight of his future responsibilities begins to distress Aladdin. He begins to consider going back on his promise to free Genie so he can keep a wish in reserve, which severely offends the spirit. Chastened, Aladdin decides to tell Jasmine the whole truth of the matter. Unfortunately, Aladdin leaves the lamp in his chamber and Jafar sends his parrot Iago, to steal it. Lamp in hand, Jafar becomes Genie's next master, and wishes to become sultan. When the former sultan and Jasmine refuse to bow to him, he wishes to be the most powerful sorcerer in the world. With his new powers, Jafar forces them to bow to him.
Jafar then uses his magic to reveal that "Prince Ali" is merely the street urchin Aladdin and he banishes Aladdin to "the ends of the earth", in one of the palace towers. "The ends of the earth" appears to be Antarctica, the Arctic, or possibly the Himalayas. Luckily, Abu and the carpet were banished with him, and Aladdin is able to fly back to Agrabah, with the intent of reclaiming the lamp.
Meanwhile, Jafar, who is angry that Jasmine does not wish to become his queen, makes a wish for Genie to cause her to fall in love with him. Genie tries to tell him that he cannot grant that wish, but Jafar does not listen. Jasmine, who sees Aladdin sneaking into the palace, pretends that the wish has taken effect (much to Genie's surprise) in order to distract Jafar. She even goes so far as to kiss him, causing Aladdin, Abu, the Genie and even Iago to blanche. At first it seems to be working; Jafar, however, sees Aladdin's reflection in Jasmine's crown and confronts him before he can reach the lamp.
Jafar uses magic to imprison or transfigure all the good characters other than Aladdin himself so they cannot steal the lamp back. Jafar eventually turns himself into a giant cobra and fights Aladdin. When Aladdin appears to be defeated, Jafar tells Aladdin he was a fool for thinking he could defeat "the most powerful being on earth". This sparks an idea in Aladdin, and he reminds Jafar he is not the most powerful being on earth, and that that honor belongs to Genie, since he gave Jafar his power in the first place.
Jafar decides to use his final wish to become the most powerful genie in the world. Jafar is at first convinced that his new powers will allow him to rule the universe, but he realizes too late that Aladdin tricked him, since as a genie, Jafar is no longer free. Jafar is imprisoned in his own lamp along with Iago. Genie sends them to the Cave of Wonders.
Of course, Aladdin is now no longer a prince and is not eligible to marry Jasmine. Genie insists that Aladdin use his final wish to make himself a prince again, but nevertheless, he keeps his promise and wishes for Genie's freedom. When all seems lost for Aladdin and Jasmine, the sultan decides that, between his loyalty to Genie and his courage in defeating Jafar, Aladdin has proven his worth; the sultan therefore changes the law so that "the princess shall marry anyone she deems worthy" meaning Aladdin and Jasmine can be married. Genie flies away to see the world while the happy couple begin their new life together.
The character designs and some of the plot elements in Aladdin borrow heavily from the independent production The Thief and the Cobbler. Several of the animators overseeing Aladdin had originally worked on The Thief and the Cobbler. However, since the Completion Bond Company acquired the latter film, no legal action was taken. There is also controversy on how Aladdin and Jasmine both look more European than Middle Eastern and on the fact that Jasmine is unveiled throughout the entire moviecitation needed. It is also very controversial on how all the men who wear turbans in the film all appear to be bald as wellcitation needed.
One of the verses of the opening song "Arabian Nights" was censored following protests from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). The lyrics were changed in July 1993 from "'Where they cut off your ear if they don't like your face/It's barbaric, but, hey, it's home," in the original release to "Where it's flat and immense and the heat is intense/It's barbaric, but, hey, it's home." The change first appeared on the 1993 video release. The original lyric was intact on the initial CD soundtrack release, but the rerelease uses the edited lyric. Entertainment Weekly ranked Aladdin in a list of the most controversial films in history, due to this incident.
It is rumored that during a scene in the film, Aladdin whispers "C'mon, good teenagers, take off your clothes". According to Snopes, Aladdin actually says "good kitty" to Rajah the tiger, only to have a second voice say "take off and go...". It has been suggested that this second voice was the Genie's, who at the time was under the balcony and had previously been commenting on what was going on. This dialogue is edited in the DVD version, lessening the chance of misunderstanding. Other Disney films have alleged subtle sexual references. The yellow sparks which spirt from the magic carpet as it makes loops in the sky also can spell out "SEX", although claims have been made that this is actually meant to be "SFX," a self-created tribute to the Special Effects crew.
Also, when Aladdin & Abu are in the Genie's Cave and the lava appears, Abu is seen skipping across the rocks as the rocks around him are engulfed by lava. If listened to carefully, Abu appears to say "Oh, shit," this is not cut out in the Platinum Edition version on VHS and DVD. Additionally, the Sultan says "Oh, shit" when the Carpet stretches his moustachecitation needed.
Titles in different languages
Disney theatrical animated features