Aladdin is one of the best 2D animated Disney movies that helped revitalize the br& after a small drought. Getting talent like Robin Williams onboard certainly helped it st& out but there are so many other things about it that keep Aladdin holding up. The music, for example, is catchy & hard not to get out of your head with a single verse.
November 2022 celebrates Aladdin’s 30th anniversary from when it first launched in theaters in 1992. For retrospective purposes, let’s go through the film & rank the songs from worst to best. It’s a fun movie for kids along with it being an underrated musical since non-animation fans can be prejudice against the medium. There’s no Rotten song in the movie, but some may resonate better with others.
6/6 Prince Ali (Reprisal)
“Prince Ali (Reprisal)” is naturally a reprisal of a song that was featured earlier in Aladdin. The original is a parade showcasing how Incredible the revamped version of Aladdin is, aka Prince Ali, thanks to Genie’s powers. The reprisal is sung by Jafar, the villain of the film, toward the end of the movie & is pretty short, but fun all the same.
Most great Disney animated feature films have villain songs. Many of them turn out to be the star pieces of music in their productions. There is “Be Prepared” from The Lion King, “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid, & the latest hit from Encanto “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” which is different but it still counts. It’s odd then that Jafar never got a proper song of his own.
5/6 A Whole New World
“A Whole New World” is this film’s love ballad. Love songs in movies made for kids can go one of two ways. Kids may not have liked the mushy sentimentality of this song initially but they could have grown into it. That is seemingly what happened with most of the 90s kids that grew up watching Aladdin.
As far as love songs go, “A Whole New World” has to be at the top of the Disney pile. There is a lot to sort through but the mystical aspect of the animation is captivating, to say the least. Aladdin takes Jasmine literally around the world in a single night, seemingly ending somewhere in China. That’s a pretty baller first date & can be hard to top.
4/6 Arabian Nights
“Arabian Nights” is the perfect song to open up this movie with. It begins as a journey through the desert as a peddler is teasing a tale of excitement & mystery while showcasing the wondrous city of Agrabah. Some of the lyrics were changed for the live-action version to better adhere to more modern ethics. For example, “Where they Carve off your ear if they don’t like your face” was replaced with “Where it’s flat & immense & the heat is intense.”
The lyrics & melody help create a vibe no matter which version fans prefer. Afterward, the peddler’s proper introduction is fun like when he tries to sell the viewer a Dead Sea Tupperware collection or a fry maker. The bits are corny but that goes with the territory of Disney animated feature films.
3/6 Prince Ali
“Prince Ali” is the aforementioned original take from Jafar’s butchering. It happens soon after “Friend Like Me” wherein Genie has Advance up with an elaborate plan to help “Al” win Jasmine over. The following series of events have plagued Disney fans for years. The extent of Genie’s magic is extraordinary for Aladdin to have used just one wish.
He was able to become a prince, get a roster of servants, food, & gold to showcase in Agrabah? It is an astounding feat that no one questions later in the movie. What happened to everyone? What about the money thrown? Were the peasants of Agrabah cheated out of their coin? Logic aside, the sequence is another upbeat song that will be hard to get out of your head.
2/6 One Jump Ahead
“Arabian Nights” is a short song, barely reaching a minute, so in many ways “One Jump Ahead” is the first proper song of Aladdin. It’s a fun, bouncing tune that sees the titular hero trying to run away from soldiers. He seemingly does this on a daily basis which is a good strategy. A thief has to know his routine inside & out if he wishes to succeed in life.
There are some great moments in this sequence that aren’t part of the song too including Abu whipping out a sword & one of the soldiers screaming, “He’s got a sword!” Another soldier points out the obvious in that they all have swords to which Abu drops his before dashing off. At least this iconic monkey tried to get the one up on them. The song gets a reprisal as well, in a sadder form, but it isn’t as Huge as Jafar’s. So, it doesn’t count as a new song but it does deserve a mention.
1/6 Friend Like Me
“Friend Like Me” is the best song in Aladdin, without a doubt. Romantic fans may prefer “A Whole New World” which, again, is a great ballad. However, this song showcases just how well the music & animation teams were in sync. Robin Williams knocks it outside of the park with all of the impressions leading up to this number.
It’s a shame that genies don’t exist in real life. If they did, people would probably be disappointed that they don’t sing like Robin Williams’ version. Of course, they could wish for a dance number but this is all hypothetical anyway. At the end of the day, “Friend Like Me” is an all-time classic for Aladdin & the entire pantheon of Disney animated feature films. Genie is indeed a friend like no other, but he’s also like a father that Aladdin can confide in.
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