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1 review, 14 user ratings

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Aladdin and the King of Thieves
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by DrChumley

"Robin Williams makes the movie enjoyable"
4 stars

The day Jeffrey Katzenberg left was a sad day for Disney. Under the direction of Kaztenberg, the Disney animation department put out some of its greatest features of all time, including 1991's Beauty and the Beast, which was nominated for the best picture Oscar. Since his departure, however, the quality of Disney’s animation department has been annihilated. And now Disney President and entertainment butt-pirate Michael Eisner has facilitated the increasing bastardization of the Disney name.

One of the most disturbing trends to spew forth out of Disney is that of the direct-to-video sequels to some of Disney’s best feature films. The Disney television animation department is responsible for creating these truly pathetic attempts at entertainment. There have been sequels to Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Pocahontas (as if the first one wasn’t already an abortion of a film.) Their first foray into the format, however, was based loosely on the 1992 hit, Aladdin.

Entitled The Return Of Jafar, this atrocity of animation was beyond horrendous. After being treated poorly by Disney, Robin Williams refused point-blank to associate with the studio any longer. Disney found its replacement Genie in Dan Castenella, the voice of TV’s Homer Simpson, who did a passable job. But with a story so mind-numbingly obvious as to bore even the Teletubbies generation, sorry songs, and hackneyed animation, the awfulness of the film knew no bounds.

That’s why, when I saw that Disney had created Aladdin and the King of Thieves, a second sequel to Aladdin, I was shocked and appalled. I rented the tape and settled in with a notepad and a pen, poised to spew forth my pent-up venom.

The film opens as the entire city gathers for the wedding of Jasmine and Aladdin. The wedding ceremony is interrupted by a gang of forty thieves, plundering and stealing from the wealthy wedding attendees. In the ensuing chaos, we learn that the king of the forty thieves came to the palace looking for a single object: an oracle (a scepter that, when asked a question, emits an omniscient hologram that does a funky hand-jive thing as it answers.)

Aladdin decides to ask the oracle about the existence of his absent father, only to find that his father has been trapped among the forty thieves. Incorrectly believing his father to be a prisoner, Aladdin takes off after the thieves to rescue him. He finds, instead, that his father is the king of the thieves, Kasim.

Kasim has been seeking the oracle in order to find out the location of a hidden treasure for which he has been searching for many years: the hand of Midas. Without giving too much of the rest of the plot away, I will say that there are some father/son conflicts as Aladdin and his father learn to deal with each other. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Disney movie without a happy ending.

Overall, this movie surprised me. I was anticipating an hour and a half of excruciating torture. Instead, I found it to be largely entertaining. For the most part, where Return of Jafar failed, King of Thieves succeeded.

Most surprisingly, Disney did a lot of butt-kissing to re-enlist the vocal talents of Robin Williams. William’s trademark improvisation and impersonations imbue this film with the humor and energy missing from its predecessor. Williams is giddily out of control in this film, doing even more parody, cracking even more hilarious asides. Genie appears as Woody Allen, Walter Cronkite, Pocahontas, Tinkerbell, James Brown, Robin Leech, Forest Gump, Rainman, Mrs. Doubtfire (in a particularly hilarious scene between Jasmine and Genie), the Marx Brothers, Elvis, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Pumba, Pluto, and Ozzie Nelson during the course of the film.

Perhaps what makes this small film work so well is its simple, yet well-written, script. Screen writers Mark McCorkle and Robert Schooley seem to realize that Disney’s television animation team simply doesn’t have the wherewithal to accomplish what the feature film animation department can. So they don't write things that need a big budget or big screen to accomplish. They also seem to grasp the difference between movie and television comedy. They understand their medium and it shows. Thieves relies on timing, pacing, and simple-yet-interesting storylines to drive the film along, and peppers in a ton of great jokes that only adults will get.

However, while this film was quite entertaining, it still falls short in several categories. The songs are mediocre at best. Poorly plotted lyrics and unmemorable melodies abound. Unlike the music of Alan Menken and Tim Rice, the team who did the feature film Aladdin, Thieve’s music did little or nothing to add to the story.

Another weak point was the voice casting. I have rarely heard such a poor matching of singing and speaking voices as I heard in this film–particularly Aladdin's. It’s interesting that Disney spent such a great deal of money to win back Williams, and then surround him with less-than-stellar actors, relying on the voice talent that can often be seen in Tiny Toons or Animaniacs.

It is worth renting? This film is entertaining. It is one of those rare finds that children will enjoy because the story is comprehensible, and the adults will love because of all the grown-up humor.

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originally posted: 05/18/02 15:35:24
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User Comments

10/02/13 Neil not far off from the first 4 stars
1/07/09 Bethany Cox Best DTV sequel! Miles better than Return of Jafar! Liked songs, good animation! 4 stars
4/29/06 Jack Good movie but not as good as the first 4 stars
4/22/05 tatum Williams provides all of six laughs, the rest is toilet residue 1 stars
5/09/04 Sean Scanlan So-so 3 stars
3/10/04 Jan The voice of Aladdin is the same as in the first movie so is the voice of Jasmine 4 stars
9/24/03 DM Fun but INCREDIBLY predictable-Williams is hilarious though 3 stars
3/18/03 Nikki It's a nice movie. They should make more!!! Aladdin is so cute and I like Princess Jasmine. 4 stars
11/09/02 Johnny C. THIS MOVIE IS TOTALLY AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
10/08/02 Jenny BEST DISNEY FILM EVER!!! What can I say? Aladdin and the King of Thieves is a work of art 5 stars
9/11/02 kassandra lee I loved it 1 stars
6/02/02 Chris Let's end the series now. This edition is fun but there's no reason for it to exist, 3 stars
11/30/01 Andrew Carden A Disappointing Triquil...Not Enough Studd To Hold Ur Attention. 2 stars
8/08/01 Mr. Hat The second direct-to-video sequel to the epic "Aladdin" is as good as "Return of Jafar." 4 stars
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  02-Sep-1996 (G)
  DVD: 18-Jan-2005



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