The Return of Jafar
|The Return of Jafar|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Home Video|
|Budget||$3.5 million - $5 million|
The Return of Jafar (also known as Aladdin 2: The Return of Jafar) is a 1994 American animated film that is a direct-to-video sequel to the 1992 animated film Aladdin, both produced by The Walt Disney Company. The film was released on May 20, 1994 and serves as the first episode of the Aladdin animated series. Culled from material originally intended for the first five episodes of the Aladdin TV series, The Return of Jafar was the first Disney direct-to-video animated feature release. Another Aladdin direct-to-video sequel, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, followed in 1996. The film was the first American animated direct-to-video project released.
In the film, Jafar escapes from confinement and returns to Agrabah to gain his revenge against Aladdin and his companions, Princess Jasmine, Genie, Abu, Carpet, the Sultan, and Iago (now turned against Jafar).
A clan of bandits led by the incompetent Abis Mal return to their hideout, only to have the brunt of their loot stolen by Aladdin and Abu. Aladdin distributes the treasure amongst the poor of Agrabah - with the exception of a jewel flower, which Aladdin gives to Jasmine.
Meanwhile, in the desert, Iago manages to dig himself and Jafar's genie lamp out of the sand where the Cave of Wonders was. Jafar orders Iago to release him, but Iago rebels against Jafar and throws the lamp into a nearby well. He returns to Agrabah, hoping to make amends with Aladdin in order to return to the palace. When he encounters Aladdin, his claim of being a slave under hypnosis does not fare well, and he is pursued. Aladdin runs into Abis Mal and his bandits, but is inadvertently rescued by Iago. Aladdin returns to the palace and jails Iago, promising to allow a fair trial. He and Jasmine are greeted by the Genie, who has returned from seeing the world and is content with staying with his friends.
At a special dinner held in Aladdin's honor, the Sultan announces that he wants to make Aladdin his new grand vizier. Trying to draw on the good mood, Aladdin attempts to persuade the Sultan to forgive Iago, but Iago inadvertently ruins the dinner when Rajah chases him into the room as Razoul and the guards arrive. After Aladdin receives some angry comments from the Sultan and Razoul, Jasmine leaves the room heartbroken that Aladdin did not trust even her about this. With Iago's help though, Jasmine eventually forgives Aladdin.
While Abis Mal is washing himself at a well, he sees Jafar's lamp and when he rubs it, Jafar appears as an abominable genie. Despite being bound by the laws of obedience, Jafar manipulates his master into wasting his first two wishes, but forms an alliance to the end of exacting revenge upon Aladdin. The pair travel to Agrabah where Jafar reveals himself to Iago and coerces him into complying with his schemes. The next day, Aladdin and the Sultan depart to have a discussion about Iago's fate, while Jafar confronts the Genie and Abu in the Palace gardens and imprisons them.
As Aladdin discusses with the Sultan, he is ambushed by Abis Mal, who is supported by Jafar's sorcery. The Sultan is kidnapped and Aladdin thrown into the raging river. Jafar frames Aladdin for the assumed death of the Sultan and has him sentenced to death while posing as Jasmine.
Iago decides to side with Aladdin's friends by releasing the Genie to save Aladdin. Once everyone is freed, Aladdin decides to destroy Jafar, which could only occur by destroying his lamp. Jafar and Abis Mal celebrate Aladdin's death, but Jafar demands to be set free. Abis Mal, however, hesitates, and even after Jafar bribes him with mountains of treasure, he still refuses to set Jafar free, out of concern that Jafar's rewards will vanish once the deal is completed. Aladdin attempts to steal the lamp but is discovered, and he and Abis Mal are blown out of the throne room into the palace garden by Jafar. Aladdin, Jasmine, the Genie, Abu and Carpet engage Jafar in combat, but even when bound by the rules of the Genie, he easily outmatches them, using his tremendous powers to prevent them from obtaining the lamp. His indiscriminate use of power opens a fissure in the ground which is filled with magma, trapping Aladdin, Jasmine, the Genie, and Abu. However, Iago arrives and grabs the lamp before getting wounded by Jafar. Iago kicks the lamp into the magma before losing consciousness. The lamp melts and submerges, destroying Jafar once and for all. Aladdin rescues Iago and flees the fissure as Jafar's power vanishes, and everything is restored to normal as Iago awakens.
Iago is welcomed to the palace as a trusted friend and slowly recovers from his wounds. Aladdin announces to the Sultan that he is not yet ready to become a grand vizier, because he first wants to see the world. Jasmine declares that she will join him, against Iago's protestations.
In the post-credits, Abis Mal is stuck in a tree and only now realizes that he will never have his third wish.
- Scott Weinger as Aladdin
- Brad Kane as Aladdin (singing voice)
- Jonathan Freeman as Jafar
- Gilbert Gottfried as Iago
- Dan Castellaneta as Genie
- Linda Larkin as Princess Jasmine
- Liz Callaway as Princess Jasmine (singing voice)
- Jason Alexander as Abis Mal
- Frank Welker as Abu, Rajah, Fazahl, Hakim, Egg Vendor
- Val Bettin as Sultan
- Jim Cummings as Razoul
- Jeff Bennett as Bandit Group Member
- B.J. Ward as Street Mother
- "Arabian Nights"
- "I'm Looking Out for Me"
- "Nothing in the World (Quite Like a Friend)"
- "Forget About Love"
- "You're Only Second Rate"
Originally planned to be a television special, Tad Stones suggested that The Return of Jafar should instead be released on home video. Instead of receiving a theatrical release, Steve Feldstein, director of public relations for Disney's home video division, stated the decision to release The Return of Jafar on home video was due to time constraints claiming that "to put the film in the theatrical pipeline would have taken up to five years", but releasing it on home video would take "less than two years." In addition to that, Feldstein confirmed that financing was also a consideration since producing a direct-to-video feature would be "less costly to make than Aladdin." Likewise, due to an expanding video market, Disney claimed demand from theatrical and video audiences for more Aladdin and the other characters was another reason for a speedy follow-up. Due to a well publicized bitter fall-out over the use of his voice in the marketing campaign for Aladdin, Robin Williams refused to reprise the role of the Genie, and was instead replaced by Dan Castellaneta (best known for voicing Homer Simpson). This was also the first Aladdin full-length production without the original voice of Sultan, Douglas Seale. He was replaced by Val Bettin, who also voiced the Sultan in the franchise's animated series and in Aladdin and the King of Thieves.
It should also be noted that another big difference between the VHS and DVD variants is Jafar's Death Sequence. Jafars skeleton is shown a few more seconds in the VHS version.
Critical reception has been generally mixed to negative. Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall approval rating of 27% based on 11 reviews collected, with a weighted average score of 3.9/10.
David Nusair of reelfilm.com summed up most of the negative feelings that contributed to this rating:
Despite the mostly negative reception, on the television program Siskel & Ebert, the film received a "two thumbs up" from Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Steve Daly graded the sequel a C- criticizing it as a "knockoff" that "carries the Disney label and costs about as much as a tape of Aladdin, but it's clear from the first jerky frame that the same time, care, and creativity didn't go into it."
The Return of Jafar was first released on VHS in the United States on May 20, 1994, being the first installment of Walt Disney Home Video Presents collection series. In its first two days, it had sold more than 1.5 million VHS copies. By June 1994, more than 4.6 million VHS copies were sold in less than a week. Ultimately, more than ten million copies were sold ranking among the top 15 top-selling videos of all time (at the time), grossing $150 million in profits.
The trailer for the film was seen on the 1994 VHS videocassette release of The Fox and the Hound. Originally released on VHS that year, The Return of Jafar was later reissued on Special Edition DVD (with "Aladdin:" added to the title) on January 18, 2005, with digitally restored picture and remastered sound. The Special Edition DVD, along with the other two films in the series, were placed on moratorium ("placed back into the Disney Vault") on January 31, 2008 in the U.S., and February 4, 2008 in the U.K. The Return of Jafar, along with Aladdin and the King of Thieves was released on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD Combo Pack on January 5, 2016 as a Disney Movie Club exclusive in North America. It was later released to the general public.
When Disney was publishing their own comics in the mid-90s, they produced a two issue Aladdin comic presenting an alternate version of The Return of Jafar. It was titled The Return of Aladdin. The comic is introduced by the Merchant from the first movie.
The story starts off showing that Aladdin has been particularly bored of palace life. Meanwhile, Jafar has escaped the Cave of Wonders. Iago is given the task of finding the right master for Jafar to manipulate. Their search seems hopeless as some people are able to enjoy all three wishes or messing up.
They find someone to use the lamp, who is known as Isabella, a master magician. Isabella is similar in appearance to Jafar (except his clothing is green). His first wish is to return to Agrabah Palace (as he performed entertainment to the sultan in #1). His second wish is for an army of soldiers to pursue Aladdin and Jasmine when they catch on to Jafar's presence. He is persuaded to use his third wish to trap Jafar and Iago in the lamp again, sending them back to the cave.
Due to persuasion by the Genie, the Sultan hires Isabella to a permanent entertainment job at the palace. The end of the story shows the merchant having a black lamp similar to Jafar's, but he claims it to be worthless.
The plot of this film is loosely used in Agrabah, one of the worlds in Kingdom Hearts II, only with Abis Mal being replaced by the Peddler from the first film. As in the film, Iago escapes from Jafar and does his best to make amends with Aladdin and Jasmine, as well as with Sora, Donald and Goofy, although Jafar coerces him into aiding him in his revenge, almost damaging Iago's friendship with Aladdin and Sora, but he redeems himself after taking a blow for Aladdin which almost claims his life. The Peddler, at the beginning, comes across Jafar's lamp, but sells it to Aladdin, Sora, Donald and Goofy for a rare artifact in the Cave of Wonders. Despite Aladdin sealing the lamp in the palace dungeon, the greedy Peddler breaks into the dungeon and frees Jafar, unleashing his fury on Agrabah until he is destroyed by Sora and company. The Peddler's fate is left ambiguous. This was the first Disney sequel to have its plot adapted into a level in the Kingdom Hearts series, which was then followed by the Grid being an adaptation of Tron Legacy.
Furthermore, there is a mild allusion to the Agrabah boss battle in Kingdom Hearts. Sora must fight Jafar in Genie form, surrounded by a lava pit with raising and lowering levels, while Iago flies above with Jafar's lamp. Only striking the lamp has any effect on Jafar's health. This fight also takes place in the second game, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and its PlayStation 2 remake. In both versions of Chain of Memories, the boss fight is due to the majority of the game being illusions created from Sora's memories. A second playable character, Riku, also fights the boss in his mode. This battle is once again visited in Kingdom Hearts Coded and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.
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