The Return of Jafar
The Return of Jafar (also known as Aladdin 2: The Return of Jafar) is a 1994 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 series, It was the first Disney direct-to-video animated film. Another direct-to-video sequel, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, was released in 1996. It marked the first American animated direct-to-video film.
|The Return of Jafar|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Home Video|
|Budget||$3.5 million - $5 million|
Aladdin and Abu foil Abis Mal's plan, donating the treasures for the people of Agrabah. Meanwhile, Jafar orders Iago to release him, but he refuses and drops the lamp into the well. Hoping to help the others respect him, Iago tells Aladdin that he is under Jafar's spell. Aladdin fends off against Abis Mal's clan of bandits, until Iago rescues him. Aladdin hides Iago from the others in the palace. After the Genie returns home, he, Jasmine and the Sultan prepare their special honorable dinner to promote Aladdin as a grand vizier. Rajah chases Iago through the palace and they accidentally ruin the dinner. Though Jasmine and the Sultan mistrust Iago, Aladdin convinces them to respect him. When Abis Mal obtains and uses the lamp, he meets Jafar. Before returning to the city, Jafar grants three wishes for Abis Mal, but he uses the first one. They force Iago to work for them.
Aladdin, Iago and the Sultan head through the river, while Jafar imprisons the Genie, Abu and Jasmine. Abis Mal and Jafar kidnap the Sultan, but Aladdin evades them and returns to the palace. Jafar frames Aladdin for the Sultan's assumed death, using the guards to prepare for the prisoner's execution. However, the repentant Iago releases the Genie, allowing him to save Aladdin and the others. They plan to destroy Jafar's lamp which is identified as his soul. While celebrating Aladdin's assumed death, Jafar demands Abis Mal to free him from the lamp, but he refuses and uses the second wish to get various treasures. Aladdin tries to steal the lamp from Abis Mal, but Jafar discovers them. He traps Aladdin and the others, turning the palace gardens into a lava-filled wasteland. Iago arrives to help them, but is knocked unconscious by Jafar. After Iago kicks the lamp into the pool of lava, it melts away. Aladdin and his friends rescue Iago, before escaping through the closing ledge to safety.
With Jafar gone, the palace reverts to normal and Iago is revived. Aladdin refuses to become a vizier, telling his friends that they will see the world. After the credits, Abis Mal realizes he cannot use 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
- Val Bettin as the Sultan
- Jim Cummings as Razoul
- "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 film 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). It was also the first Aladdin full-length production without the original voice of Sultan, Douglas Seale. He was replaced by Val Bettin, who reprised his role in the franchise's animated series and Aladdin and the King of Thieves.
David Nusair of reelfilm.com summed up most of the negative feelings that contributed to this rating:
|“||Notable as the first direct-to-video Disney sequel, The Return of Jafar follows Aladdin (Scott Weinger) as he attempts to once again foil Jafar's (Jonathan Freeman) villainous plot to take over Agrabah. And despite the fact that he was freed from his lamp at the end of the first film, the genie (now voiced by Dan Castellaneta) is back and wackier than ever. It's clear right from the outset that Disney put very little effort into the production of The Return of Jafar, particularly in the realm of animation. The film has all the style and fluidity of a Saturday morning cartoon, while various songs are bland and forgettable. The repetitive storyline doesn't do the movie any favors, and even at a running time of 69-minutes, doldrums set in almost immediately. Castellaneta does the best he can with the material, but generally comes up short (particularly when compared with Robin Williams's manic performance from the original). The Return of Jafar is a thoroughly needless sequel that may keep small children engaged, but is bound to come off as nothing less than a huge disappointment for fans of the original.||”|
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 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.
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 film.
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 the film is loosely used in Agrabah, one of the worlds in Kingdom Hearts II, and the Peddler appears from the first film. As in the film, Iago escapes from Jafar and does his best to respect Aladdin, Jasmine, 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 defeated 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. The battle is once again visited in Kingdom Hearts Coded and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.
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