The Return of Jafar (also called Aladdin: 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 origin of the Aladdin animated series. Another direct-to-video sequel, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, followed in 1996.
The film centers on Jafar, the villain from the original film, trying to gain his revenge against Aladdin and his companions, Princess Jasmine, Genie, Abu, Carpet, the Sultan and Iago (now turned against Jafar), and become the ruler of Agrabah.
It was the first Disney direct-to-video animated feature release, and was released on Special Edition DVD (with "Aladdin:" added to the title), with digitally restored picture and remastered sound. The Special Edition DVD along with the other two films in the series went back to the Disney Vault on January 31, 2008 in the U.S., and February 4, 2008 in the U.K. The trailer of the film was seen on the 1994 release of The Fox and the Hound.
This was the first and only Aladdin full-length production without the original voice of Genie, Robin Williams. He was replaced by Dan Castellaneta, who also voiced the Genie in the animated series as well as in Kingdom Hearts and is also best known for voicing Homer Simpson. Williams returned as the Genie in Aladdin and the King of Thieves.
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 series' animated series and in Aladdin and the King of Thieves.
The story opens with a band of robbers arriving in their hideout with their latest spoils. Just as their incompetent leader, Abis Mal, decides to keep most of the gold and treasures for himself, much to the anger of his men, Aladdin and Abu steal the treasures back and distribute most of it among the poor of Agrabah - with the exception of a jewel flower, which Aladdin intends to give to Jasmine. Upon their arrival, Jasmine announces to Aladdin a surprise which the Sultan intends to reveal during dinner.
Meanwhile, in the desert, Iago manages to dig himself and Jafar's genie lamp out of the sand, into which the Genie had fired them. Jafar orders Iago to release him at once, but Iago, tired of being treated badly, throws the lamp into a nearby well. He returns to Agrabah, hoping to convince Aladdin that Jafar had forced him into his service by hypnosis, but Aladdin is not fooled and tries to capture him. While chasing Iago, Aladdin has a run-in with Abis Mal and some of his men, but Iago, who is fed up with suffering from bad treatment yet again, interferes, saving Aladdin's life in the process. Now willing to give Iago a fair chance, Aladdin returns with him to the palace, where they are greeted by Genie, who has returned from seeing the world.
That night, 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. The Sultan and Jasmine are furious, and Jasmine leaves the room heartbroken that Aladdin did not trust even her about this. With Iago's help, though, Jasmine eventually reconciles with Aladdin.
Meanwhile, Jafar, by luck, is found by Abis Mal. As Jafar is a genie, he is bound by the rules of obedience to his master and thus handicapped by Abis Mal's habitual incompetence. Jafar desires to be free so that he can get revenge on Aladdin, but needs Mal's cooperation to do this. With the use of trickery, Jafar still asserts his power by tricking Abis Mal into wasting two of his wishes before making him return to Agrabah; Abis Mal willingly goes along with Jafar in order to get his own revenge on Aladdin. Once in the palace, Jafar reveals himself to Iago and forces him to play along with his plans. The next day, Aladdin and the Sultan depart to have a discussion at a place suggested by Iago. After they leave, Jafar confronts the Genie and Abu in the Palace gardens and shows his power, imprisoning the pair.
Meanwhile, Aladdin has a talk with the Sultan that earns his acceptance as the future grand vizier. When Aladdin thanks Iago, he is ambushed by Abis Mal and Jafar, the latter disguised as a squad of flying horsemen. The Sultan is kidnapped and Aladdin thrown into the raging river. Jafar, however, spares his life in order to exact his revenge in the most painful way possible: by splitting him away from all his loved ones. To this purpose, he leaves fake evidence and masks himself as Jasmine to implicate Aladdin with the alleged murder of the Sultan, and Aladdin is thrown into the dungeon, to be executed by beheading come morning.
In the dungeon, Jasmine and the others berate Iago for betraying them, but their anger is quickly forgotten when Iago chooses to attempt to free Genie so he can save Aladdin. Iago succeeds just in time, and the Genie frees the others. Once free, Aladdin decides to attempt to stop Jafar. Genie tells Aladdin that, in order to destroy Jafar, his lamp must be destroyed before Abis Mal wishes him free. Iago chooses not to face Jafar, and the others let him go without blame on account of their new freedom.
Jafar and Abis Mal celebrate Aladdin's death, and Jafar asks Abis Mal to use his third wish to set him free, but Abis Mal hesitates, suspicious of Jafar's motives. During their argument, Aladdin and the others try to steal the lamp, but are eventually discovered, and Jafar blows them out of the throne room into the palace garden. Abis Mal is caught on a tree branch, and the lamp falls to the ground. 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 stop them from getting the lamp. His indiscriminate use of power opens a fissure in the ground which is filled with magma. Thoroughly trapped, Aladdin, Jasmine, the Genie, and Abu face certain death when suddenly Iago reappears and grabs the lamp. Jafar blasts him, leaving him for dead, but Iago manages to recover for a moment and uses his last ounce of strength to kick the lamp into the magma. The lamp melts upon landing in the magma, and thus Jafar meets his end by violently imploding into a cloud of dust.
To the joy of all, Iago recovers from his injuries, since it is among a Genie's set of laws that he can't use his powers to kill. Amidst the celebration, however, Aladdin announces to the Sultan that he is not yet ready to become a grand vizier, because first he wants to see the world. Jasmine declares that she will join him, but Iago objects to this and continues to rant as the film ends. Abis Mal, meanwhile, is still hanging on a tree branch, dismayed that he will never get his third wish with Jafar and his lamp gone.
Main article: List of Disney's Aladdin characters*Scott Weinger as Aladdin
- Jonathan Freeman as Jafar
- Gilbert Gottfried as Iago
- Dan Castellaneta as Genie
- Linda Larkin as Princess Jasmine
- Jason Alexander as Abis Mal
- Frank Welker as Abu and Rajah
- Val Bettin as Sultan
- Jim Cummings as Razoul
The film received a 22% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. It also received 52% from the RT community.
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, the film received a "two thumbs up" from Siskel & Ebert.
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. It is worth noting that this is the only Disney sequel to have its plot adapted into a level in the Kingdom Hearts series.
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. However, only striking the lamp will have 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 CoM it 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.