This week, we watched the second and final sequel in the Aladdin film series, Aladdin and the King of Thieves. This direct-to-video film was released in August of 1996 and acted as a sequel to Return of Jafar but also as a finale to the Aladdin television show that ran for two years. With a strong story, top-notch voice work, and the return of Robin Williams, there is a lot to like in this DisneyToon sequel.
The film begins with an entertaining opening number led by the Genie himself, this time played once again by Robin Williams. Despite Williams’ and Disney’s contract disagreements that led to his absence in Return of Jafar, they were able to come to an agreement in time for this entry. This number, though not as great as those in Disney’s mainstream feature films, is a fun one, which gives Williams’ plenty of room to do what he does best, as well as setting up the story. Aladdin and Jasmine are finally to be married, but Aladdin is having a hard time not knowing much about where he came from, specifically on this momentous day. After the wedding is ruined by the forty thieves, he goes on a search to find his father and the story begins.
Robin Williams has a lot of fun here with pop culture references, including those of Forrest Gump and his very own Mrs. Doubtfire. There are also plenty of Disney references as well, such as Genie’s version of Steamboat Willie. These are all a lot of fun and makes one realize how much he was missed in Return of Jafar. In addition to Williams, there are other great actors providing the voices here. The most notable is Jerry Orbach, voice of Lumiere, as the film’s villain, and John Rhys-Davies, best known as Sallah from Indiana Jones, voicing the role of Aladdin’s father. These two voices lend a sense of quality to the film, something that is not always present in other direct-to-video sequels. Iago is used a bit more conservatively here than in Return of Jafar, which is a good thing for those who aren’t a fan of the character. This allows for the film to focus more on our lead character Aladdin and his personal feelings and struggles. The story that is at work here, of finding your identity and roots is deeper than that of Return of Jafar. I particularly like the relationship developed between Aladdin and his father throughout the film.
All in all, this is one of the better DisneyToon sequels and, though primarily for kids, can be enjoyed by adults as well, due to the strong story and Williams’ always entertaining shenanigans.
Come back next week for Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin. Happy watching!