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' improvisational energy and the equally entertaining performances of Freeman and Gilbert Gottfried (as Jafar's parrot). --Tom Keogh
The Return of Jafar
The Return of Jafar, the 1994, direct-to-video follow-up to Aladdin (it's actually four episodes of the Aladdin television program, back-to-back) is a wash-out compared to the Robin Williams-driven animation feature that kicked off the franchise. The story partially involves the villainous Jafar's parrot--Iago--trying to leave his master and befriend Aladdin and Jasmine. Williams is nowhere to be found, unfortunately; the genie's voice is provided by Dan Castellaneta, and the difference shows. --Tom Keogh
Aladdin and the King of Thieves
Robin Williams returns as the voice of the hyperactive genie in Aladdin and the King of Thieves, the second direct-to-video sequel to Disney's hit animated feature. Aladdin, the street beggar turned Prince, risks all to find his father among the cutthroat 40 thieves and joins his quest to find a Midas-like stone that turns everything it touches into gold. A significant cut above most made-for-video animation, this energetic adventure largely leaves Princess Jasmine and the genie behind for a father-and-son quest. Guest voice Jerry Orbach suggests Sean Connery with his thick-as-molasses delivery as the master thief Sa'luk and, despite his limited screen time, Williams once again delights with his wild flights of fantasy as the big blue Genie. A rousing tale full of last-minute escapes and spectacular, kid-sized thrills that even parents will find entertaining. --Sean Axmaker
Triple bill of Disney adaptations from the traditional tale of Aladdin. In 'Aladdin' (1993), the eponymous street urchin meets by chance the beautiful Princess Jasmine in the marketplace after she has sneaked out of the royal palace looking for some fun. The sultan's advisor, the evil Jafar, who is hatching an evil plot to marry Jasmine and become sultan himself, senses her attraction to the youth and immediately gives orders to throw Aladdin (voice of Robin Williams) in jail. But when Aladdin discovers a magic lamp in a cave, his quest begins: to defeat Jafar and win the hand of the princess, with the help of the Genie in the lamp. In the sequel, 'The Return of Jafar' (1994), Jafar the evil sorcerer gets trapped inside the magic lamp, and plots his revenge on Aladdin, who is again accompanied by the beautiful Princess Jasmine and the wise-cracking Genie. In the second sequel, 'Aladdin and the King of Thieves' (1996), Aladdin is worried about his impending marriage to Princess Jasmine, and in particular his future role as a father, as he has never known his own. When the forty thieves steal a magical talisman during the ceremony, Aladdin is forced to put such concerns to one side. However, as he attempts to retrieve the missing jewel, he unwittingly moves closer to finding his long-lost dad...