Dissecting the Disquels: The Return of Jafar

Plot: Iago has escaped from Jafar’s lamp, and with a new life free of Jafar, he has decided to live it up in Agrabah. After Iago suddenly befriends Aladdin, the Genie makes his return to the palace to stay with his friends. Meanwhile, Jafar’s lamp is found by the petty thief, Abis Mal, who becomes his new master. However, Jafar has other plans for him, and they involve taking over Agrabah and getting revenge on Aladdin and his friends.

Breakdown: I think I’m treading into dangerous territory here. Return of Jafar was, I believe, one of the first Disney sequels ever made. It was certainly the first one that I remember seeing. Hell, I still have the VHS tape of it. However, it was certainly a sign of what was to come.

I….think this movie…is…..okay. It certainly has more substance than most Disney sequels, but I still wouldn’t call it ‘good’.

First off, the art and animation look no different, if not worse, than the TV series. That is to say, it’s nowhere near the original, fairly bad at certain areas, but not cringe worthy.

Second, Robin Williams doesn’t reprise his role as Genie in this movie. He is now voiced by Dan Castellaneta here, who is most famous for his role as Homer on The Simpsons. And, I gotta tell ya, it really does sound like Homer doing an impression of the Genie. He just doesn’t sound right.

Next, the music. They do a reprisal of ‘Arabian Nights,’ which is….nice. I mean, I really like ‘Arabian Nights,’ but they couldn’t have some up with anything new for this movie? Also, this version sounds less epic and slightly faster than the first one.

The next song is called ‘I’m Lookin’ Out for Me,’ sung by Iago, which means yay Gilbert Gottfried singing….Granted, it’s actually a fairly memorable song, which, again, is more than I can say for other Disney sequels, but it’s not really that great of a song, and it has little point. I mean, did we really need musical accompaniment to learn that Iago’s selfish? Also, the song has “written for a direct-to-video movie” written all over it. Which can be said of all of the other songs, to be honest.

The next song is…..*sigh* ‘Nothing in the World Like a Friend’….This song is painful to me. The other songs may have a degree of lameness to them, but this one’s ultra-lame. This one is sung by Genie, and while he’s a better singer than Iago, the lyrics are still lame and cheesy. The song is a little memorable, but not really. Also, this is yet another song with no point. We know Genie treasures his friendship with Aladdin and the others. Of course he missed them while he was away.

After that, we have a song called ‘Forget about Love’ which is, again, sung by Iago, but later by Aladdin and Jasmine. This song’s the best of the movie, in my opinion, but it also serves little purpose. Aladdin and Jasmine have a fight about Aladdin lying about Iago being in the palace and him now being a friend. Even though it wasn’t Iago’s fault, really, Genie pushes him into getting them to make up through this reverse psychology song where Iago convinces Jasmine that love sucks, which prompts her to make a case against that opinion. This song is relatively pointless because it’s not like they were gonna break up just because of that. They had a small tiff and made up. Whoopdeedoo.

The final song is the ‘villain’ song, I guess. It’s called ‘You’re Only Second Rate’ and it’s sung by Jafar. This song is the second best IMO, and it does serve a point, in a way. It’s meant to show that Genie’s lost a good chunk of his mojo since he was freed, and Jafar has all the power in the world because he’s still imprisoned in the lamp (I’ll get to this later.) It’s basically him showing off his immense powers while the Genie can do nothing about it.

While this would make for a cool villain song, it’s ruined by the sheer comedic tone. We actually see Jafar as a granny and Genie in his underwear during this song. Only one point in the song is really dramatic and, of course, that’s the best part of the song.

Now for the story. I guess Iago was such a fan favorite that they really wanted him to be on the side of good during the upcoming Aladdin TV series. Even though Iago has shown himself to be nothing but selfish and evil in the past, he’s good now. Yeah, of course they have that moment where it seems like Iago has betrayed the good guys to go back to the side of bad, but he redeems himself in the end.

Jafar’s plot doesn’t really make sense if you ask me. First of all, it’s never adequately explained how Abis Mal and his cronies got into the Cave of Wonders. I seriously doubt HE’S a diamond in the rough. They also don’t explain how they found Jafar’s lamp and made it out alive seeing as how Aladdin barely managed that in the first movie. They could have refrained from stealing anything, but really I doubt these idiot thieves have more restraint than a klepto monkey.

Second, Jafar is constantly touting that he’s more powerful than Genie because Genie was freed. Freed genies have less power because they’re no longer tethered to their lamp, which must somehow grant them more power. However, one of his drives during this movie is freeing himself from the lamp in order to be unrestricted by its rules….well, wouldn’t that make him….less powerful? Like Genie?

Nothing really interesting happens until the final 20 minutes of the movie. Other than that, it’s mostly filler. The last 20 minutes are a fairly decent continuation of the first movie, but it’s nothing particularly epic. In fact, it’s fairly predictable.

Oh and Aladdin and Jasmine haven’t gotten married yet in this movie. Yeah, it seemed like they were going to get married soon after the end of the first movie, but the writers were like ‘booooo married people are boring, we can’t have that in the TV series’ and kept them as fiancés until the end of movie three.

All in all, this movie was just meh. Not a horrible Disney sequel, but not a particularly good one either.

Recommended Audience: 0+

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