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A 1992 Walt Disney animated musical fantasy.

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A Chilling Insight into Mental Illness

  • Aug 15, 2011
  • by
There's only one major studio in Hollywood today that delves into the complexities of mental disorders and their effects on both patients and their families, and that's Disney. After the heartfelt story of Ariel in the Little Mermaid coming to grips with her hoarding disorder, and the plight of Belle in Beauty and Beast struggling with Stockholm Syndrome, Aladdin combines multiple neuroses on a the back of a clever and engaging update to Hamlet.

The Prince here is Aladdin and the father's ghost appears repeatedly throughout the film as the former ruler. Although details of his death are never revealed, Aladdin seeks revenge on Jaffar whom he believes is the murderer. The major twist in this story is that Ophelia is replaced by Princess Jasmine who engages in a wanton incestuous relationship with her brother, despite clearly knowing about his mental problems.

Upon a recently viewing of this movie, we were discussing the shared disorders of various central characters. Aladdin is so completely batshit off his noodle that he becomes increasingly reliant on an imaginary Caputian monkey whom he engages in frantic babbling dialog. Jaffar also has an identical condition as he carts around a back-talking parrot as a proxy for dealing with his crippling guilt. Both characters are unaware that nobody else interacts with their delusions.

Princess Jasmine's desire to get her rocks off with her brother makes her cruel and deceptive. She pushes the issue by pretending to see and talk with the monkey. By adding credence to Aladdin's very loose grip on reality, he descends quickly into madness and adds to his circle of mental friends a large blue genie and a rug.

At the end, Aladdin's decision to grant freedom to the genie is really a metaphor for setting himself free and wanting to return to reality. The nation accepts their ruler back and Jaffar is condemned for his father's murder. While all the major characters learn to handle their issues respectively, Jasmine continues to manipulate Aladdin for selfish sexual reasons, but it's telling how she no longer recognizes his monkey who has now been usurped. 

A brilliant mix of politics, sex, murder and despair, Aladdin is a must-see for any mental health professional and others who tend to read too much into things.

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October 29, 2011
Good thing I skipped this one, I think! May be I was delusional... or may be not! Oh well, my head aches!!!
August 17, 2011
Hi, James! It has been awhile since I saw this one; I remember I was on a bad date LOL!!
August 17, 2011
Most dates are terrible... but then I think I might be jaded. :-) Good to see you woo
August 15, 2011
But if this was a retelling of Hamlet then the kingdom would have been destroyed by Aladdin/Hamlet's quest for vengeance. Jafar and the Sultan were unrelated and the Sultan wasn't murdered nor was he a great leader of men as Hamlet's father was. Not to mention the fact that Horatio bears little in common with a flying carpet or a monkey. And what of the young and brash Fortinbras and his invading army?
August 16, 2011
I think you must have been paying much more to Hamlet at school than I did. :-) The last thing I remember was some guy running stark naked across the stage in some avant garde rendition in London! And then I seem to remember Hamlet resurfacing in Last Action Hero...
August 16, 2011
The naked guy was probably King Lear. Different play, different loony monarch. LOL!
August 17, 2011
Btw I truly invite you to bring Hamlet to Aladdin in only the way that you could... bring the review! Can't wait - this could actually be a theme.
More Aladdin (1992 film) reviews
review by . January 17, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
I sure hope so, because Disney's take on "Aladdin" is a wonderful rollercoaster ride of a tale. Tucked securely in the middle of Disney's animated "Renaissance" in the late 80's to mid 90's, this fun-filled story pops off of the screen thanks to a wonderful digital transfer that highlights both the traditional animation of Disney and the (at the time) growing digital animation of Pixar. This is most evident in the Cave of Wonders, where Aladdin, Abu and the Magic Carpet go for a wild ride as the …
review by . December 03, 2005
"Aladdin" is a great movie in every way. It tells a great story of how being yourself is sometimes the best thing to do. The Genie gives the movie a lot of playful humor. All the characters are interesting and the movie has some great effects and graphics. Also, the songs are perfect for the movie, especially "A Whole New World." The movie ranges from humorous such as with the Genie's antics, to exciting such as the carpet ride through a place that is self-destructing. This movie is one of my daughter …
review by . January 07, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
This is one of the better of the new breed of Disney cartoons. A good story, good characters (Jafar is a great villian) and voices. I would have rated this higher except that at times Robin Williams (as the Genie) talks to fast and overblows his role. As far as kids go, my kids like this one but not as much as The Lion King and Toy Story which they have seen hundreds of times. I would say that they watched Aladdin less than a handful of times.
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James Beswick ()
Ranked #2's "token Brit".
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Disney's 1992 animated feature is a triumph of wit and skill. The high-tech artwork and graphics look great, the characters are strong, the familiar story is nicely augmented with an interesting villain (Jafar, voiced by Jonathan Freeman), and there's an incredible hook atop the whole thing: Robin Williams's frantically hilarious vocal performance as Aladdin's genie. Even if one isn't particularly moved by the love story between the title character (Scott Weinger) and his girlfriend Jasmine (Linda Larkin), you can easily get lost in Williams's improvisational energy and the equally entertaining performances of Freeman and Gilbert Gottfried (as Jafar's parrot).--Tom Keogh
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Genre: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Musical, Romance
Release Date: November 11, 1992
MPAA Rating: G
DVD Release Date: October 5, 2004
Runtime: 90 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Studios
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