best films: #52: ALADDIN (1992)
Call me wee bit animation-obsessed (and if you take a look at the many entries in my favorite films, you likely will), but there’s something to be said for the Disney offerings of the 1990s. And Aladdin is one of the company’s shining moments. As a child, I adored easy-to-upset sidekick Abu and the big blue comedian himself, the Genie. But through repeated viewings since 1992, I’ve come to appreciate its brilliant songs and score (thank you very much Alan Menken and Tim Rice), the awesome hand-drawn visuals, and the hilarious (albeit gratingly-voiced) Iago. It is an interesting phenomenon that most children as they grow older start to cheer more for the villains in these types of movies. And I can’t seem to help but think the evil parrot, though scheming against our heros, is pretty funny nonetheless. So call this a sentimental favorite if you will (which it probably is — I spent many a day acting out that opening “Arabian Nights” number/monologue with my brother, who had it completely memorized), but it’s still a whiz-bang adventure that remains to be one of the studio’s best efforts in the last seventy-odd years.