Disney's Aladdin Just Turned 25 And Boy Do We Feel Old
Every day, there's something - usually a film or an album - that has an anniversary to make you feel old. Today, it's the turn of Disney's Aladdin, which just turned 25.
Yeah - you read that right. It was in 1992 that Robin Williams brought the genie in the lamp to life and helped change Disney forever.
Based, of course, on the folk tale of the same name from One Thousand And One Nights, the film shook things up on the animation circuit thanks to its adult sense of humour, and its plethora of jokes and pop culture references.
But it also helped turn things around for Disney, which had been slouching somewhat at the time of its release. The studio's 31st animated feature film, it was the fourth movie of a Disney renaissance that had begun in 1989 with The Little Mermaid.
Incredibly, Aladdin became the number one film of 1992, earning $217 million (£162m) in the USA and $504 million (£377m) internationally. 'A Whole New World' also earned Alan Menken and Tim Rice an Oscar for best song, and Menkin won a second Acadamy Award for his score.
But it was really the inclusion of Williams that changed things. It was the first time that Disney had cast an A-list actor as the main attraction for one of their films and would set a pattern for, well, pretty much every animated film they made after it.
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It's common knowledge that Williams' role was written specifically for the late actor, but to convince him to take the job, Ron Clements and John Musker - the film's directors - had their animators mock up test animations synced to Williams' stand-up routines.
According to animator Ed Goldberg, it was seeing his routine about schizophrenia brought to life in the form of an animated genie - when he grows two heads and argues with himself - that sold Williams on the part.
The character of Aladdin, of course, was modelled after Tom Cruise, but initially he was meant to be based on Michael J. Fox.
Twenty-five years later - and with a live-action remake in the works - the movie still stands as a hilarious and irreverent addition to the Disney catalogue. Who knows where the company would be without it, but we know we're better off for having seen it.
In fact, we're going to watch it again right now in tribute to Robin Williams. Here's to you, genie genius!
Words: Mischa Pearlman
Featured Image Credit: Disney