Aladdin

For many filmgoers, the only rating more disreputable than NC-17 is G, as in gag me. The animated Beauty and the Beast undid some of the sugary curse. But Aladdin, Disney's worthy follow-up to Beauty, is so funny and scrappy you don't need to drag a kid along. Even a work-in-progress print shows a wicked new playfulness (think Simpsons, not Snow White). Granted, for an Arabian Nights tale there could have been more ethnic richness in the script and the drawing. But Robin Williams, who does the voice of the Genie, is a hip comic wonder — he might just wish himself up a cartoon Oscar. Imprisoned in a magic lamp for 10,000 years, the Genie has stored up a lot of shtick, including dead-on De Niro and Nicholson impressions. Gilbert Gottfried is also a howl as a pissed-off parrot. Besides the in jokes, the animation and the Alan Menken score (Howard Ashman, who died of AIDS, did most of the nimble lyrics) supply enough glorious entertainment to hold even brats and cynics in thrall.

From The Archives Issue 190: July 3, 1975