Anthony's Film Review
Aladdin in The Return of Jafar
(Video-Only Release, 1994)
The first direct-to-video Aladdin sequel is not great like the first, but it's something...
The Return of Jafar wasn't just the first direct-to-video sequel for the movie Aladdin. It was also the beginning of a trend by the Walt Disney Company that many people might argue to be a cheap way to profit from the fans. By taking any animated franchise and producing a sequel that might not be good enough for theaters but is still good enough for home video, Disney could deliver something with lower production costs, provided that fans would buy the product. Sure, some fans wouldn't mind these video sequels, but some might.
In some cases, the movie isn't entirely bad. The Return of Jafar is definitely not as good as the first Aladdin, but I didn't hate it. I just didn't feel as impressed as with the first one. Basically, the movie doesn't deliver all of what made the predecessor an impressive piece of work, but it still works because it has a new thing or two. You need some kind of originality to keep the sequel fresh. A sequel that repeats the previous movie is worthless.
As the title suggests, the villain from the previous movie is back. As you may remember, Jafar had turned himself into a genie in an effort to defeat Aladdin, only to be trapped in its own lamp. Now Jafar the genie is back and badder than ever. As long as we're talking about villains, it's worth mentioning Jafar's parrot Iago. Here is where things get very interesting. You see, Iago now claims to be a good parrot who was evil when he was under Jafar's control. Is he lying or telling the truth?
Meanwhile, Aladdin and his pet monkey Abu are continuing to enjoy the lives they've always had. The blue Genie, no longer tied down to a golden lamp, is also around, though he is voiced not by Robin Williams from the first movie but by Dan Castellaneta (a.k.a. the voice of Homer Simpson). You can somewhat tell that it's not Williams voicing the Genie. In fact, you might even recognize a trace of Homer Simpson's voice in the Genie.
I won't say anything about the plot other than that you can pretty much predict it from the few details I've provided. Just know that the movie is an OK one. As much as I enjoyed it modestly, I do think this is a movie that would be fine if it was never made. The ending of the first movie was great enough, so it's not necessary to have this movie to tie up a loose end or two. If there's one reason to see The Return of Jafar, it's that it serves as a bridge to one more Aladdin sequel. At least watch it for the sake of not getting lost in the saga.
For more information about Aladdin in The Return of Jafar, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of Aladdin and Aladdin and the King of Thieves.