BUENA VISTA(DISNEY) has elected to release the two sequels to the hit animated classic, "ALADDIN" on dvd, but only as part of a 2-pack offer. Originally released on VHS eleven and nine years ago, both should prove entertaining for younger audiences, but neither is even relatively close to being in the same league as the original. The best thing going for these films is that Disney managed to maintain most of the same voice talents. Unfortunately, DISNEY didn't maintain the same level of animation.
In the first sequel, "RETURN OF JAFAR", Jafar has just escaped from his lamp with the help of Iago the parrot(hilariously voiced by Gilber Godfried). However, Jafar is now a genie too! The story follows Jafar's attempts at regaining control of the kingdom. There are plenty of songs, none of them memorable, and although the Blue Genie's appearance will certainly bring smiles to youngsters, he's no longer voiced by Robin Williams, and he's just not that entertaining. Still, "young" fans of the first film will generally be unknowing of the major differences in quality between this and the original.
The 2nd sequel, "ALADDIN AND THE KING OF THIEVES" is far superior to the previous sequel. The level of animation hasn't been greatly improved over "RETURN OF JAFAR" but it offers improved depth. Most importantly, it marks the return of Robin Williams as "THE BLUE GENIE!" The story opens on the wedding day of Aladdin and Jasmine. Surprisingly, it has less to do with these two than the relationship between Aladdin and his father, "THE KING OF THIEVES". There's plenty of music, still not anything memorable in comparison to the original, but not nearly as humdrum as in the previous sequel. Again, Williams makes the film worthwhile, and even memorable.
DISNEY has provided a 1.33:1 aspect ratio for "RETURN OF JAFAR" and 1.85:1 for "KING OF THIEVES". Both transfers are generally fine, however, colors are never consistent, varying between rich and dull. There is also a surprising amount of grain present.
DISNEY has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for both films. "RETURN OF JAFAR" offers virtually no surround effects, with most sound delegated towards the center channel. "KING OF THIEVES" offers some surround effects, and bass, but most sound is focused towards the front.
DISNEY has provided numerous extras for the kiddies to enjoy on each disc.