Aladdin and the Return of Jafar: Honest Parent Review

Aladdin and the Return of Jafar aka The Return of Jafar | G | 1 hour 9 minute | Fantasy, Animation, Adventure, Comedy | May 20, 1994

You probably would never guess this, but the Aladdin sequel features the return of Jafar and his demented bird, Iago. And though it certainly has its fans, the Return of Jafar really makes you wonder, does Disney think we’re stupid enough to buy this junk?

Yes, yes they do.

Return of Jafar: Honest Synopsis

Journey back to Agrabah in this direct to video sequel to the fun, adventurous, and incredibly culturally insensitive world of Aladdin.

It’s been, you know, time since we last caught up with Aladdin trying to catfish Jasmine. But all is not well. Their built-on-lies love is going to be tested when Aladdin engages in – you guessed it – more lies. (Sounds like a rock solid relationship foundation right there. Definitely won’t end in messy divorce or anything…)

But this story isn’t about Aladdin’s unending string of deceitfulness. No, the Return of Jafar is the story of Iago’s “redemption.” Oh yeah, and it’s about Jafar’s largely unexplained and convenient return too.

Watch as Iago demonstrates no character development as he gains the trust of Aladdin so Iago can gain power… betrays him to help Jafar so Iago can gain power… and then betrays Jafar to help Aladdin so Iago can gain power. Do you see a trend here? And despite this convoluted bullshit, somehow the Sultan and Jasmine trust both Iago and Aladdin in the end.

For bonus kicks, don’t forget to smirk at the irony of Jafar’s song as he sings about the replacement Genie being second rate. Seriously, it’s like the writers wrote a song just to mock the fact that Robin Williams didn’t return to voice the Genie.

Instead, we got to listen to Homer Simpson impersonating the Genie the entire time. And Jafar sang a song about it. He really is a villain.

The Moral Beat-down

Most Disney sequels beat the shit out of you with the moral high ground they take. Themes typically range from things like girl power to being true to yourself and following your heart. Most of the time, the moral is so obvious you can’t actually ignore the moral.

But I got to be honest here… what moral did The Return of Jafar try to teach here? Lie to your family and friends? Betray everyone as long as the last one you betrayed doesn’t end up in power?

Honestly, I’m perplexed. Both Iago and Aladdin show that you can make minimal character developments and it will work out in the end.

Aladdin and the Return of Jafar: Parent Review
Jafar looking ominous

Movie title: Aladdin and the Return of Jafar

Movie description: You probably would never guess this, but the Aladdin sequel features the return of Jafar and his demented, wise-cracking bird, Iago. And though it certainly has its fans, the Return of Jafar does not live up to the expectations of the first film.

Date published: May 20, 1994

Country: United States of America

Duration: 1 hour 9 minutes

Director(s): Toby Shelton, Tad Stones

Actor(s): Jason Alexander - Abis Mal (voice), Jonathan Freeman - Jafar (voice), Jeff Bennett - Thief (voice), Gilbert Gottfried - Iago (voice), Val Bettin - Sultan (voice), Brad Kane - Aladdin (singing voice), Liz Callaway - Princess Jasmine (singing voice), Linda Larkin - Princess Jasmine (voice), Dan Castellaneta - Genie (voice), B.J. Ward - Street Mother (voice), Jim Cummings - Razoul (voice), Scott Weinger - Aladdin (voice), Frank Welker - Abu the Monkey (voice)

Genre: Fantasy, Family, Comedy, Adventure, Animation

Overall
2.2
  • Plot
    (2)
  • Characters
    (2.5)
  • Watchability
    (2)

Honest Parent Review

Did you ever wonder why Fran Drescher and Gilford Godfrey never sang a duet together? No? It’s because no one wants to hear either of those two sing a song in their very distinctive voices.

So I really, truly question the decision to give Iago a solo in The Return of Jafar. Truly wonder. It’s like listening to nails on a chalk board mixed with a thousand little paper cuts.

More importantly, I have to ask: why did they bother with this sequel? It barely lived up to expectations that Aladdin set up. It looks like Disney hired some high school art students to draw the animation. They literally look like bootlegged copies of all the characters as the animation is close… but not quite right.

Add to this that the most important voice actors didn’t return due to contract disputes and such. Not that I have anything against Dan Castellaneta. He has done an amazing job voicing Homer Simpson for 30 some odd years. But that is part of the problem. Unless he was doing an impression of another famous actor of the time, the Genie sounded a lot like Homer Simpson. And sadly, he didn’t bring the same level of pizzazz to the role that Robin Williams did.

Jafar really nailed it when he sang his song about the Genie being second rate. Let’s face it, he’s not wrong.

For some reason, my daughter loves to torture us with sequels. She often asks for the sequel to Mulan, Cinderella II, or any sequel she can find on Disney Plus. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single Disney animated sequel that surpassed the quality of the original. But some people disagree, which is fine. They can be wrong.

Anyway, The Return of Jafar is not the worst thing you can sit through. It certainly entertains the kids, which, if you are trying to get something else done, is helpful. All I have say is good luck explaining why it was OK for Aladdin and Iago to lie or back-stab others to get what they want in the end. Hell, the entire first movie was about Aladdin cat-fishing Jasmine, so what should I have really expected.

Pros

Keeps the kids entertained

 

Cons

Iago sings… I’m not sure I need to continue with cons from there…

Lacks moral compass – Iago literally back-stabs everyone multiple times and is welcomed in the end

Aladdin is still a liar

Jasmine has yet to find a non-skimpy outfit to prance around Agrabah in

Robin Williams did not voice the Genie

Questions parents should be asking?

What parent based review is complete without a section on questions you should ask your children when watching The Return of Jafar? In an effort to better poke fun at Common Sense Media, here is my own set of questions you should ask your kids, just, for fun. (Not responsible if you scar your kids for life if you ask these. These questions are not a substitute for sound, actual advice.)

  • You see both Aladdin and Iago lie repeatedly throughout The Return of Jafar and it works out well for both them in the end. How can you lie more in order to get what you want at home? How about at school or with your friends?
  • Jafar says at one point, “You’d be surprised what you can live through.” What tortures can you come up with that won’t kill someone but will cause them immense suffering? (Helpful example: “When my daughter made me repeatedly watch Spooky Buddies, I wished for death.”)
  • Jafar seeks revenge on Aladdin and crew. Who do you want to get revenge on? I need names…
  • Jafar frames Aladdin for a crime he didn’t commit. When you do something wrong at school, who can you frame to make it look like they did it?

Nathan

Nathan is not a published author, professional movie critic, or avid fan of most children shows. He is a caring father (when he's not banging his head against the wall), a movie connoisseur of sorts literally able to have full conversations in movie and TV quotes, and dedicated to helping other parents avoid starting a show with their small children that they will soon regret. In his free time, he does nothing. He has two small children. Free time does not exist.

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