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In the 1992 animated version of Aladdin and his magic lamp, called Aladdin, Disney studios had many source which might have been used in the production of the film-most of them unfaithfully. Based on the centuries-old folk tale popularized in A Thousand and One Nights, Aladdin is set in the mythical kingdom of Agrabah. The bumbling old benevolent Sultan who presides over the kingdom is anxious to find a son-in-law for his daughter, Jasmine. The old Sultan invites suitors to his kingdom from near and far, but Jasmine, who resembles a modern woman much more than any female character to be found in source texts rejects them all. This and other differences from source texts that might have been referred to in the production of Aladdin will be the focus of this analysis.

Disney is known for being disloyal to original source material in its films and the same is true for Aladdin. Perhaps the animated feature is closest to the 1940 film version of The Thief of Baghdad in its story line and presentation, however, in no version of Aladdin works (books, TV, film) do we have a wise-cracking stand-up-comic Genie, as we do in this one brilliantly if obtrusively played by Robin Williams. The Thief of Baghdad is the only film produced of 1001 Arabian Nights which catches the colorful atmosphere of the Arabian tales. Having a Genie who befriends Aladdin and helps his cause is no different than many source versions of the story. However, having one in the form of Robin Williams who makes wise-cracks about everything and even impersonates modern actors completely removes the timelessness of the story from the film despite the numerous laughs it prompts. Jokes regarding current events and personalities will more than likely date the film, and, further, they appear out of context in a story based on 1001 Arabian Nights written in the fifteenth century. Will future generations of children laugh as Arsenio Hall impersonations, for example?


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Aladdin. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 12:32, May 29, 2020, from