18 April 2003 | MovieAddict2016
Before Disney Released Cheap, Slip-Shod Straight-to-Video Animated Sequels, They Made Good (yes, GOOD) Straight-to-Video Sequels...
Before cheap "Disney-straight-to-video" sequel rip-offs, like "Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamp's Adventure" and "101 Dalmations 2," Disney actually made worthwhile straight-to-video sequels, and "The Return of Jafar" is proof of that.
This is the continuing story of Aladdin, his monkey Baboo, and Carpet, the flying carpet. He has since moved into the castle and is still having a romance with Jasmine, daughter of the Sultan. The film opens with Aladdin stealing from a thief named Abis Mal (voiced by "Seinfeld's" Jason Alexander), and giving the jewels to the poor (ala Robin Hood).
An angry Abis Mal retreats to the desert, where he accidentally releases genie Jafar, who seeks revenge on Aladdin. With the help of the thief, Jafar plots revenge.
Meanwhile, back at the palace, Aladdin has taken Iago the Parrot (Gilbert Gottfried), Jafar's ex-confidante, under his wing (so to speak). And the Blue Genie (this time voiced by Dan "Homer Simpson" Castellanetta, instead of Robin Williams) shows up after touring the world, singing "There's nothing in the world quite like a friend!" and dancing around.
"The Return of Jafar" seems more like a worthy sequel to 1992's box office smash "Aladdin," and it isn't like other countless straight-to-video sequels that are pure, unadulterated crap.
The animation is a bit more bland than it was in the first, but the characters are all voiced by the same actors (save the Blue Genie--who sounds like Williams anyway), and the story is not entirely stupid. It's actually pretty fun, and seems like those old legends you hear of in ancient tales.
And such as in the original, this film is filled with sly references to modern-day things. The first had spoofs/imitations of Woody Allen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, slicer/dicer ads, and much, much more. This film uses a lot of objects that weren't even invented at the time, such as a pool table (wasn't that in this flick?) and the Genie uses other references to modern-day inventions when he comes back from visiting the world.
"Aladdin" was one of the best of 1992, and this is more than just a worthy sequel, but a worthy continuation of the story (to be concluded in the mess-of-a-sequel "Aladdin and the King of Thieves," which is one to miss).
3.5/5 stars -