Jafar comes for revenge on Aladdin, using a foolish thief and Iago's treachery to find a way back into power.
I always felt that Iago didn’t get to do enough in the first movie. So when this came out, I was stoked (only, you know, the appropriate word for stoked in the ‘90s). I also felt that Jafar’s storyline was left unfinished. The last we see of him, he’s arguing with Iago in his lamp. The lamp gets tossed away, but my 6-year-old brain realized that someone could theoretically find the lamp and set Jafar loose. And then Disney said “Why yes, 6-year-old Mary, that’s exactly what happens.”
Of course, the person who sets Jafar loose has to be Abis Mal, who I mentioned in last week’s MCS. Mal was the most-occurring villain in the Aladdin TV series (and also the most bumbling). I mean, come on, he wanted to wear the sultan’s “big hat.” He had a sidekick, Haroud—the brains of the outfit—who somehow managed not to ditch Mal at the first sign of more intelligent company.
Side Note: Other Aladdin TV series villains include Mirage (evil cat lady), Mechanicles (the OCD mysophobe), Mozenrath (the power-hungry sorcerer), and the Al Muddy (the, umm, mud creatures), among others. I also feel the need to mention Sadira—a female street rat who tries and fails to win Aladdin’s love. She figured prominently in some of my favorite episodes, one of which was the one where she makes a sand giant who, after being asked repeatedly to dispose of/imprison people, says “Look, I smash things. That’s it.”
Return of Jafar also had some great songs. I mean, they weren’t A Whole New World or Prince Ali, but they were good. Take this one for example.
Gilbert Gottfried got to sing. That didn’t happen in movie 1, and it made me happy here.
And this one.
Complete with lead-in and follow-up scenes. This makes up for the lack of real Jafar song in movie 1.
So, casting. Did you know 6-year-old children are extremely perceptive when it comes to the voices of animated characters? I knew almost the moment Genie started speaking that he wasn’t the same actor. Granted, I didn’t know who played him at the time. I just knew it wasn’t the same guy as in the first movie.
Strangely enough, Disney did get the original actors/actresses back for Jafar (Jonathan Freeman), Iago (Gilbert Gottfried), and Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin). Though Liz Callaway (not Lea Salonga) was Jasmine’s singing voice in Return of Jafar, and as far as Iago goes…how does one presume to replace Gilbert Gottfried and not have the audience notice?
Hi, short but sweet here. Disney did it. Writers, take note. If you want to bring back a character that was defeated at the end of the last book, make sure it’s doable. If Jafar had died and then Disney made The Return of Jafar, bad things would have happened. But Jafar was only imprisoned and, I might add, imprisoned in a way that made it, not only possible, but likely that he would be freed.
Last week: Aladdin
And join me next week for Aladdin and the Forty Thieves.
Thanks for reading.
@desantismt on Twitter
-Kit ‘N Kabookle
My book blog