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The Return of Jafar
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 made-for-video sequel to Aladdin may disappoint those looking for Disney's usual feature quality, but will entertain fans eager to see the story continue. But those wishing for more of the franchise would be better served by watching Aladdin and the King of Thieves, in which Robin Williams returns as the voice of the Genie. Young ones will like the music and colorful characters, but may run behind the couch when mean old Jafar appears. A cute monkey, an obnoxious parrot, and sword-banging action should fives, sixes and sevens riveted. Okay for die-hard fans of Aladdin, but the labored plot may cause restlessness in older viewers.
What's the story?
In this made-for-video sequel, wicked Jafar returns to Agrabah after a clumsy bandit sets him free from the lamp in which he was imprisoned. But, because he must obey the genie's law and not kill on his own, Jafar uses his rescuer as a tool of revenge against his wrongdoers. Aladdin, Jafar's primary target, is now a royal advisor. He manages to stay in the good graces of the Sultan and Princess Jasmine until Iago the parrot, obeying Jafar, double-crosses him. With his friends in chains, Aladdin must first prove that he didn't kill the Sultan, then find a way to destroy Jafar's lamp, thus destroying Jafar.
Is it any good?
THE RETURN OF JAFAR has the general look of its predecessor, but this made-for-video sequel doesn't possess the wit or integrity of Disney's Aladdin. The cast is mostly the same, with welcome newcomer Jason Alexander as the greedy thief Abis Mal whose lamp-rubbing sets Jafar loose. The obvious missing ingredient here is Robin Williams, whose manic ad-libbing as the blue Genie in Aladdin had animators scribbling madly to keep up. He's replaced by Dan Castellaneta, who does a fine job but lacks Williams' spontaneity.
New songs yield a couple of good production numbers. They don't help the story much, though, which five people are credited with thinking up, and eight people(!) are credited with writing. The elements are all there -- they just lack focus and ingenuity. For that, blame the three directors and two producers.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: May 20, 1994
- On DVD or streaming: July 14, 1998
- Cast: Dan Castellaneta, Jason Alexander, Scott Weinger
- Director: Toby Shelton
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures
- Run time: 66 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- MPAA explanation: all audiences
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