Successor to a certain dog

Issue 

Successor to a certain dog

Aladdin
Directed by John Musker and Ron Clements
With voices of Robin Williams, Linda Larkin
Reviewed by Dave Riley

You know the story, of course: everyone knows the story. The tale of Aladdin's lamp was good oil long before petrol or BP. This three wish wonder has been around for 1100 years.

But the Disney studios know better. If the Arab imagination could make carpets fly, then Operation Desert Storm could do away with Baghdad all together. They tried. US forces targeted it relentlessly during the 1991 Gulf War. In the fight against evil it is the American way to replace magic carpets with smart bombs.

While George Bush, may have used up all his wishes punishing Saddam Hussein, in the New World Order at the Magic Kingdom, Baghdad simply does not exist.

Instead, rub as you may, this lamp won't get you out of Hollywood. The high tech graphics and 3-D visuals overlay the same old stuff. Disney animation monopolises twee females seeking marriage for love and animals who chatter away in Brooklyn accents. It's all very much the formula.

More's the pity, because this story has been filmed with great success a few times already. The best version was Alexander Korda's masterpiece The Thief of Baghdad, shot on the coast of Britain during the second world war. In comparison, this Aladdin seems like a video game.

Even by Disney standards the animation is not a touch on the sensuousness in Pinocchio nor is the music comparable to The Little Mermaid. In the hype to turn the film into a "date movie" and generate even higher profits than Beauty and the Beast, this old tale has been turned into a cynical marketing exercise. The kiddies won't know what hit them.

Those of us who take greater care than our offspring

at the ticket office window may be safe from the mental gymnasium in Robyn Williams' mouth and in future take our cartoon characters neat. Homer Simpson may not have the verbal pastiche of Williams' over the top genie, but Homer and his kin have a lot more to say to us than Aladdin could ever dream of with all his wishes.

And that, I suppose, is the point. Aladdin with all its thrills and magic carpet rides is as empty as Goofy's brain.