Friday, April 23, 2010

The Return of Jafar a Nice Follow-up to Aladdin

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 191 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Return of Jafar (1994) – straight to video – animation
Running time:  69 minutes (1 hour, 9 minutes)
MPAA – G
DIRECTORS: Toby Shelton, Tad Stones, and Alan Zaslove
WRITERS: Kevin Campbell, Mirith JS Colao, Bill Motz, Steve Roberts, Dev Ross, Bob Roth, Jan Strnad, and Brian Swenlin; from a story by Duane Capizzi, Douglas Langdale, Mark McCorkle, Robert Schooley, and Tad Stones
PRODUCERS: Tad Stones and Alan Zaslove
EDITOR: Elen Orson

ANIMATION/FANTASY/COMEDY/ACTION/MUSICAL

Starring: (voices) Scott Weinger, Gilbert Gottfried, Linda Lavin, Dan Castellaneta, Jonathan Freeman, Jason Alexander, Val Bettin, Frank Welker, and Jim Cummings, Brad Kane, and Liz Callaway

The heroes and villains of Walt Disney’s Oscar-winning Aladdin (1992) return in the straight-to-video feature, The Return of Jafar – produced mostly by the now-defunct Walt Disney Television Animation based in Australia (DisneyToon Studios).

Aladdin (Scott Weinger) and Jasmine (Linda Lavin) are ready to begin their life as a royal couple, especially now that the Sultan of Agrabah (Val Bettin), Jasmine’s father, has a big announcement to make concerning Aladdin. However, Iago (Gilbert Gottfried), the parrot sidekick of Aladdin’s nemesis in the original film, Jafar (Jonathan Freeman) reappears. Iago, ever an opportunist, wants to be on the winning side and return to the life of luxury at the Sultan’s palace, so he attempts to make nice with Aladdin. Iago is succeeding in earning Aladdin’s trust on a provisional basis when Jafar, now the powerful Red Genie, returns to Agrabah with the help of Abis Mal (Jason Alexander), the chief of a local band of thieves. Both Jafar and Abis Mal want their revenge against Aladdin, and Jafar coerces Iago into helping him. The scene-stealing (blue) Genie (Dan Castellaneta) also returns, but can he help Aladdin stop Jafar’s diabolical plans and get rid of him for good?

The animation in The Return of Jafar isn’t nearly as good or as pretty as it is Aladdin. The colors aren’t as rich, and the shading on characters and objects isn’t there. The character animation is good, but not up to the standards of Disney feature animation. At the time of release, however, this was better than most of the animation produced domestically or overseas for American television, and The Return of Jafar is a nice second serving of the characters and situations from the original film. The last 20 minutes of this movie is riveting, thrilling stuff – as good as that in many live action, action flicks.

The characters are still themselves with the cast giving good voice acting performances, for the most part. Here, Genie is voiced by Dan Castellaneta, the voice of “Homer Simpson” (and numerous others) on “The Simpsons,” but he’s so-so as Genie. The absence of Robin Williams, who refused to reprise the role because of a dispute over merchandising money with Disney, is painfully obvious. Luckily, the dispute was resolved and Williams returned for a second direct-to-video sequel to Aladdin.

6 of 10
B

Saturday, September 02, 2006

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