Dir- Ron Clements and John Musker
Year – 1992
Running Time – 90 minutes
Screen writing Genre – Out of the Bottle (Angel)
Aladdin is one of the last great Disney movies and is a nice film that appeals to everyone. It was nominated for Four Oscars and won two of them (Best Original song and best original Score). While the film may not have the added depth of some of Pixar’s later work it certainly has a clear message and it is easy to see why it remains fondly remembered.
What’s in a name?
Fairly straight forward this one. The film being based on the Arabian Nights story of Aladdin which most people are already familiar with means all we need is a simple reference to our main character. It tells us Aladdin is our main man and, as nothing else has been added, we know this is going to be a fairly traditional telling of the tale.
What makes it great?
The real thing that makes Aladdin great is the sense of fun that remains throughout. The animation and music are exception and really set the scene of the time and locations out in the Arabian sands (incidentally, Aladdin is based in the country we now call Jordan). It is also very easy to watch and has a clear structure and some sharp dialogue. The Short running time also means we are never in danger of become bored.
The ‘Angel’ Out of the Bottle Movie
Again, this is fairly straight forward. The notion of letting something out of the bottle is fed into by the original Aladdin story. It requires that a wish is made and something magical happens. Obviously, in this case the genie is let out of the bottle to grant Aladdin wishes. We refer to this story as an ‘Angel’ Out of the Bottle, because in these types of tales a magical being appears, or is sent, to help out our hero and guide them to their goal.
Opening Image – Barren sand and a lone merchant singing “Arabian Nights” sets us up for the tale that unfolds.
Theme Stated –Our theme which will be reinforced throughout the film is that “it’s not what is on the outside but what is on the inside that matters” which our helpful merchant tells us right at the start.
A little later we will get a second theme relating to freedom and what it is to be free.
Set-Up – Jafar tries to get the lamp from the cave of wonders but he can’t as he needs the “Diamond in the Rough.”
Catalyst – Aladdin’s confrontation with the prince tells us that he wants more from his life. The prince then meets Jasmine who, after their meeting, sneaks out of the castle which sets the chain of events in motion that will lead Aladdin to the lamp.
Debate – Aladdin and Jasmine discuss their dreams and their problems.
Break into Two – When Aladdin is captured and thrown into the dungeon he has crossed into an unfamiliar world and we are in act two.
B Story – Our B story comes when Aladdin meets the genie. It is with the Genie that our theme(s) will be discussed.
Fun and Games – Aladdin plays with his new magic powers. He also takes on a disguise and new name just like a fool triumphant would. The rules about the magic are stated here and we even get a discussion of the theme when he says the lamp looks “old and worthless”.
Midpoint – Our midpoint is an ‘up’ or false victory after the down of Aladdin being in the dungeon at the break into two. Here Aladdin, now Prince Ali, marches down the street and enters the palace.
Bad Guys Close In – Jafar’s scheme to marry the princess continues and he is also onto Aladdin’s disguise.
All is Lost – Aladdin is dumped into the Ocean and almost drowns (Whiff of Death).
Dark Night of the Soul – At minute 65 Aladdin thinks that he is nothing without the genie. He recovers and realises he has to tell the truth.
Break into Three – Having had an ‘up’ at the midpoint we about to hit a ‘down' as we break into three with the royal wedding being crashed by Jafar.
Finale – Jafar steals the lamp and now Aladdin must ‘Do without the Magic’ to win the day and show he has it inside him all along. He will also realise that he should have kept his word and let the genie go when he said he would.
Final image – Jafar vanquished, we see Aladdin and Jasmine together in an open star lit sky, both free, both knowing the true worth of the other.