"Aladdin", produced in 1993 by Golden Films and distributed on DVD by Goodtimes Entertainment is based on the classic, timeless Arabian Nights tale of the young, humble boy named Aladdin. "Aladdin" is the story of a poor boy, son of a widowed peasant woman, who spends his time out in the streets of his Arabian city in search for any sort of work in order to help his mother. Their fortune appears to finally change the day in which Haseem arrives at their home. He claims to be the brother of the late Mustafa, Aladdin's father and therefore, uncle of the boy. One day, Haseem takes Aladdin to a far off place in the desert where he says he and his brother had often played when they were children. As Aladdin watches how Haseem manages what seems like some sort of dark magic, the boy realizes that the man is in fact an impostor and not his uncle at all. The dark magic uncovers the entrance to a dark, underground cave, where Haseem orders Aladdin to climb down and fetch nothing but one simple oil lamp. Aladdin sees no other option but to obey and within minutes, he has the lamp as well as a sack of precious jewels he found in a lovely garden inside the magical cave. The sack of jewels is too heavy for Aladdin to carry up the slippery steps out of the cave and so refuses to come up. Haseem, enraged, conjures up the dark magic once again and closes the entrance to the cave leaving Aladdin trapped inside. Aladdin regrets his big mouth and tries to find a way out of the cave. As he does so, he accidentally rubs the oil lamp he was carrying and out of it comes a great, big scary Genie. The Genie is a friendly creature who not only helps Aladdin to get out of the cave, but he also promises the boy to fulfill just about anything that he may wish for. There are many things that Aladdin wishes for; for one thing, he wants his mother to live in comfort as she's always deserved, he wants protection against the evil Haseem, who wants to take revenge on Aladdin and get what he thinks is rightfully his; and finally, Aladdin wishes to marry the beautiful Princess Leila, daughter of the sultan.
"Aladdin" is probably the weakest of this seven-title line of Golden Films' animated classics. The film is enjoyable, no doubt about that, in fact, I have always prefered it over Disney's far more popular version, which I always thought to be one of their weakest films of their classic eras. Golden Films' Aladdin doesn't have the charmingly sweet story of "The Little Mermaid" (1993) or "Beauty and the Beast" (1993), the wonderful variety of classical compositions that "Thumbelina" (1993) has, or the lush, wonderfully detailed backgrounds like those in "The Three Musketeers" (1993). As for music, Aladdin has a number of classical pieces heard in other Golden Films animations, but its main musical appeal is in the Middle-Eastern-styled tunes heard in different scenes. The opening song, "Rub the Lamp", though nice and catchy, is probably also the weakest of this line of Golden Films' theme songs. The other Golden Films' productions don't really have a high, strong point; they tend to be balanced with good music, good characters and a good plot, but Aladdin's appeal may very well be in its humor. All of the other films had their touch of humor, but it definitely stands out more in "Aladdin". The characters are funny and humorous, with several wisecracks and little jokes, but nothing in the style of modern children's films, the humor does not take over the seriousness of certain situations. The jokes are smart and the characters are smart; the protagonist is likeable, the villain is purposely dislikeable and all other characters fit into one of these categories. Even being perhaps the weakest of Golden Films' second line of animated classics, "Aladdin" is no less enjoyable and a film I can watch over and over again. As a closing thought, I'll say what I always say, the animation here is nowhere as good as Disney, but people need to keep in mind that these films were made primarily for children and children are not picky enough to notice such things. The film is light-hearted, quality entertainment for children, though closed-minded adults may not find it so. Highly recommended.