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Aladdin (1992 Classic)

by Michael  Cox
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Sep 10, 2019
Aladdin (1992 Classic)

"Aladdin," Disney's 31st animated feature and the fourth film of the Disney Renaissance, stunned audiences and won multiple awards when it was released in 1992, becoming the highest-grossing animated film of all time. But people often overlook the importance of this film in opening doorways for the gay rights movement, bringing gay aesthetics and gay politics to a "family" audience.

Lyricist Howard Ashman pitched the idea for an animated feature based on the "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp" from "One Thousand and One Nights" and then pretty much regenerated the Disney animated musical. He and composer Alan Menken created two films that reawakened the stylish, theatrical magic of the Disney fairytale, "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast." Though these musicals were definitely for children, they didn't shy away from the high-camp satire that Ashman and Menken brought to their stage musical "Little Shop of Horrors."

"Aladdin" is essentially a Cinderella story with a male in the role of a Disney Princess, a poor boy whose virtue allows him to marry a handsome princess. The Princess Charming in this scenario is allowed to break convention and marry for love, rather than be forced into an arranged marriage.

But what really sets this musical apart is the technical bravado of the animation and the amazing charisma of the Robin Williams as The Genie. For perhaps the first time, an animated film bowed to the wildly improvisational nature of its voice artist, adapting its very script to William's whims.

When the musical was paraded before the Academy Awards the next year and honored with several nominations, multiple collaborators on the "Aladdin" team wore red ribbons to signify AIDS awareness. The gay aesthetic is barely disguised in this musical, from the hunky, shirtless protagonist to the suggestion The Genie makes to Aladdin that they "go buy curtains" together. But Disney stood before their peers that day and announced that they were gay people making children's films together, and there was nothing shameful in that. This was in no small part due to the fact that Howard Ashman the marvelous creative force behind "Aladdin" died of complication due to HIV shortly after the first screening of "Beauty and the Beast."

This brand new multi-screen release of this animated classic features never before seen bonus materials, including alternate endings, cast recording sessions, a sing-along mode, Genie outtakes, filmmaker commentaries and more.

Blu-ray Combo Pack $39.98