A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this third feature in Disney's Aladdin trilogy heralds the return of Robin Williams as the Genie, but too many cutthroats and too little magic and monkeys make this less of a treat for little ones than the original. Also, there are some mature themes in this film. Aladdin must cope with finding the father who abandoned him years before.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
A band of cutlass-wielding bandits descend on the long-awaited marriage of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine just as the gathering is about to take place. The Forty Thieves turn Agrabah upside-down looking for the legendary Hand of Midas, a treasure that turns all it touches to gold. They don't find it, but they succeed in spoiling the wedding. Aladdin receives another blow when he finds out that his long-lost father is still alive. Accompanied by his monkey and the parrot Iago, he sets out on his magic carpet to find the man who abandoned him. Aladdin's treacherous course not only leads him to the den of thieves, but also to the Hand of Midas, and to the shocking discovery of his father's true identity.
Is it any good?
Young fans of Disney's Aladdin will be glad to see the animated gang reunited for ALADDIN AND THE KING OF THIEVES. This one is more lighthearted than the first made-for-video sequel, The Return of Jafar, and has a less frightening villain, but the best news is that Robin Williams is back as the voice of the hyperactive Genie. He bounces all over the place like Flubber and morphs into everyone from Walter Cronkite to Tinkerbell to Woody Allen to -- well, you get the idea. Unfortunately, Princess Jasmine, Genie, and most of the other familiar characters are abandoned too often in pursuit of a father-and-son story that the target audience will find difficult to get excited about. There are plenty of snarly thieves (40, to be exact) and clanging swords, a lively quest for treasure, even some surprises, but they're not enough to distract from the realization that, without his colorful friends, Aladdin isn't all that interesting a character.
A 14-month-old danced to the livelier songs and pointed enthusiastically at the animals, but didn't much care for the movie beyond that. A 4-year old girl, old enough to sit through a feature-length cartoon, ranked this in her current top 10, but only because of the Genie. She enjoyed the visual references to other animated Disney movies and characters, and made a game with her parents of seeing who could shout out their names the fastest. That's where the real fun is.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it's like when one parent is away. This would be especially useful in families where parents are divorced. How does the parent who doesn't live with you show his or her love to you every day? Young ones will like the music and the more colorful characters, but the story itself may fail to grab them.
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