Disney(ish) reviews with the Unshaved Mouse: Aladdin, The Return of Jafar

“Why do they keep making these?!” was the eternal lament of the Disney fan from the mid-nineties to the mid-2000s when the Disney Sequel walked the Earth in all its terrible glory. Couldn’t Disney see that these filthy hack jobs were tarnishing the reputations of the pure and virtuous Disney canon? HAD THEY NOT EYES?! Well, yes, they had eyes. But here’s what they were looking at.

Consider Aladdin. It comes out in the winter of 1992 and it is the mutt’s nuts. Critical darling, instant pop culture icon and oh yes, the biggest box-office of any movie that year, animated or live action. It makes $504 Million dollars on a budget of $28 Million. Which basically means that for every dollar Disney put into Aladdin, they got $18 back. That’s a heck of a return on an investment. That is a good, good day. That is a win.

A few years later, Disney are working on an Aladdin animated series. It’s not an entirely new idea, The Little Mermaid also had a series. But there’s a lot of hype for Aladdin because instead of being a prequel series like Mermaid, this is going to be an actual sequel series where we get to see what our favourite Agrabahns did after the movie. And some bright spark realises that the three episode arc that opens the series actually kinda works as a movie if you squint. So why not release it as a movie? Not in theatres, God no. But maybe direct to video? VHS is super hot right now and Disney movies sell like hot cakes. So why not skip the theatres all together and just go straight to video? You know? Like porn?

Perhaps understandably, Disney were a little leery of taking their cues from porn. But they did it anyway and here’s what happened:

Return of Jafar became one of the biggest selling VHSs of all time. It made $300 Million dollars. $300 Million dollars for a movie that never sold a single ticket. On a budget, estimated, to be $3.5 Million dollars. Remember Aladdin’s oh-so-impressive return of 18:1? Jafar had a return of investment of $86 dollars to every dollar.  That’s not a heck of a return. That is market changing. That is paradigm-shifting. That, honestly, is a wee bit scary. So if, for example, you were a huge multinational who cared only for filthy lucre…

“How VERY dare you…”

Then the question becomes, not “Why did they keep making them?” but “Why did they ever stop?” That’s the kind of return that turns executives into junkies, chasing that hit for decades. 86 dollars for every dollar spent. That’s basically free money. This thing was huge.

And when you think about it, it still kinda is. Return of Jafar is without a doubt the only Disney Sequel that’s almost as famous as its prequel. Disney are actually considering a live action remake of Return of Jafar to follow last year’s live action Aladdin. Could you see any of the other sequels being considered for that?

Well yes, but only when I’ve been dosed with fear toxin by the Scarecrow.

Return of Jafar has also been a beneficiary of what I like to call “Space Jam” effect, the sharp divide in critical opinion between people who were already adults when a movie came out and those for whom it was as mother’s milk. Best-selling video of all time, remember? There are a lot of millennials out there with fond memories of this one, and even people who utterly despise the Disney sequels will go to the mat for this one. This one’s good, they’ll say. Leave it alone. He’s with me. Go burn some Tarzan sequels.

But does it deserve that loyalty? Is it actually any good? Well, it’s complicated…

So here’s something that’s been bothering me since childhood and throughout my adult life, how the fruck does the Peddler fit into all this? Remember him? He’s our narrator at the start of Aladdin but we never actually got to see him finish. Is he…is this still his story?

“And then Genie said “Made ya look!”. And that is my tale. So, you wish to buy the lamp?”

“I dunno. Maybe. You got any other stories?”

“Sigh. Okay, so Aladdin’s now living in the palace and Jasmine is his girlfriend…”

“Wait a minute, I thought they were married?”

“I never said that.”

“But at the end they were all dressed up in fancy clothes?”

“Maybe they just felt like being fancy. They’re fancy people. You want to hear the tale or not?”

69 Minutes later.

“And Abis Mal said “Does this mean I don’t get my third wish?” So ends my tale, worthy traveller. Buy the lamp?”

“I’m, like, 60% committed to buying this lamp. Got any more stories to sweeten the deal?”

“Sigh. I have 86 tales, each taking approximately twenty minutes…”

“Cool, let’s hear ‘em.”

28 HOURS LATER

“So Aladdin destroyed the Emerald, undoing Deluca’s curse…uh, Genie said something in a Texas accent. Deluca changes Zahbar back into a human and they all go back to Agrabah. Thus concludes my 86 tales.”

“Wow. I really thought Mozenrath was going to turn out to be Aladdin’s brother.”

“Tradition states that the Ancient Scribes were indeed intending to go in that direction, but in their infinite wisdom decided against it. So now, you will buy the lamp, yes?”

“You are a HELL of a salesman, you know that?”

“I am always closing, worthy friend. Always.”

“But I still have so many questions! Did Jasmine and Aladdin ever get married? Who was Aladdin’s father? Where did…”

“Friend, you will buy this lamp now or I will show you how easy it is to hide a body in a desert.”

The movie begins with on a dark night, where dark men race through the desert with a dark purpose. Now, there are four main flaws that can be laid at the feet of your typical Disney sequel:

  1. They’re boring, trying to stretch very little plot to a feature length run-time.
  2. They trade the heart-felt emotion of the original for cheap, saccharine schmaltz.
  3. They just rehash the plot of the original making the whole movie fundamentally pointless.
  4. They’re badly animated.

Now, say what you will, but Jafar is not dull. In fact, it’s something of a thrill ride. We open and BOOM! mysterious figures running the desert BANG! turns out they’re bandits BING! oh shit it’s Aladdin and Abu and they’re robbing the bandits AW HELL NAW Aladdin escapes near certain death and flies over Agrabah dropping coins on the poor like Robin Hood in a fez. It has momentum to burn, is what I’m saying. It also avoids being too scmaltzy, there’s a love song, sure, and it’s pretty durn bad. But honestly, the parts here centred on Aladdin and Jasmine’s relationship is actually some of the most interesting stuff in the whole movie. As for point 3, again the movie passes. I mean, the stakes and character development mostly centre around a gravel voiced parrot but they’re there. Stuff happens in this movie. Journeys are concluded. The status quo has changed. There was a point. This leaves us with the animation and…oy vey.

It’s bad. I don’t mean “bad” as in “bland and lackluster” I mean as in “damn near technically incompetent”. Basic things like synching the voice to the lip movements and keeping the characters on model. I mean Jesus Christ, what they do to Mark Henn’s Jasmine design, there should be an inquiry. Look at these!

As for the lip synching, I thought for a time that the reason it was so bad was that this movie was partially animated in Japan. Unlike in the West, Japanese animation traditionally does the animation first and then dubs the dialogue over it, because they are a wicked and sinful people. But after a little digging, it turns out that the first half of the movie (where the lip synching is noticeably worse) was actually done by Disney Australia, so we must lay the blame at the feet of lazy Aussie drongos.

“OI!”

“Oh, Oi yourself.”

Where was I? Oh yes. The plot. So Aladdin and Abu rob the gang of a particularly inept brigand named Abis Mal (Jason Alexander) fly over Agrabah distributing wealth in a desperate attempt to prove that they haven’t completely sold out. They return to the palace and Jasmine tells him that they’re having dinner with the Sultan later and that he can’t be late because the Sultan has something very important to tell him.

Meanwhile, in the desert, we discover that not even the Cave of Wonders can contain the might of Iago, and the little parrot has managed to escape and dig his way out through several miles of sand despite being half stuck in Jafar’s lamp.

Now you may say to yourself, “why can’t Iago just rub the lamp to become Jafar’s master?” to which I scoff and say Pah! Idiots. Tell ‘em why, Disney…

“Uh…why don’t you tell them, Mouse?”

“Obviously, because no base animal can command the servants of Allah himself!”

“Right. Right. That’s exactly it. I was testing you. You passed.”

Anyway, Iago has just about had enough of Jafar’s BS and, instead of freeing him, decides to fly solo and drops the lamp down a nearby well. This leads to the first of Iago’s two songs, I’m looking Out For Me.

“First?” you say.

“Aye” says I.

“As in, more than one?” say you.

“Indeed” replies Mouse.

“They gave Gilbert Gottfreid two songs” you whisper.

“They did” I sombrely confirm.

“Mouse” you say “Mouse. WHY?”

“Reader” I reply “I DON’T KNOW.”

Anyway, in the bazaar, Iago runs into Aladdin and Abu and tries to play the victim card, claiming that he was under Jafar’s control the whole time. But you should never try to con a con man and Aladdin and Abu don’t buy it for  a Persian minute. But, before they can re-enact the final act of Othello, they get stumbled on by Abis Mal and his men and in the fray Iago accidentally ends up saving Aladdin’s life. Unable to just turn Iago in, Aladdin promises the bird that he’ll talk to the Sultan about getting him a pardon. Refresh my memory, how did those two end things?

Ah. Okay. Bit of prep work maybe needed there.

Aladdin hides Iago in the palace until he can find the right time to tell Jasmine that her Dad’s abusive ex-boyfriend is on the premises. Unfortunately, Genie chooses this moment to return from his tour of all of space and time. Now, if you’re going to replace Robin Williams, you could certainly do a lot worse than a voice actor of the calibre of Dan Castellaneta. As you’ve probably heard, Robin Williams had a falling out with Disney after Aladdin. Shy and retiring soul that he was, Williams had agreed to voice the genie on the condition that he not be featured heavily in the publicity. But no sooner had he recorded his lines than Jeffrey Katzenberg was down at the bar, bragging to all his friends about how he’d totally got Robin WIlliams to appear in his movie and he was so easy, you guys, such a total slut.

And, as the saying goes, fool Robin Williams once? Shame on you. Fool Robin William’s twice? Nanoo nanoo! It’s common knowledge that this is why Robin Williams wasn’t in Return of Jafar, but if I may be so bold, I humbly submit that common knowledge is baloney. 

Remember when I said Jafar was originally just the pilot for the TV show? I could be wrong, but I find it a bit hard to imagine an A-lister like Williams committing to 86 epsiodes of a Saturday Morning cartoon show. Maybe they were planning on getting him for the opener and replacing him with Castellaneta for the rest of the series like they did with James Earl Jones in Lion Guard?  I dunno. I don’t doubt that Williams was pissed at Disney, but I really doubt that’s the reason he’s not in this.

Now, as I say, I don’t have any beef with Castellenata in the role. In fact, considering I watched the TV show religiously, he probably has a better claim to being “my” genie than Williams does. But, there are two things I simply cannot countenance.

Anyone remember this moment from the original? The manacles fall off and the genie whispers “I’m free…I’m free…”. Incredibly moving moment. So why the fruck is he wearing the manacles again?

Did he get nostalgic for his millennia of enslavement? Is he wearing them ironically? WHAT?

Disney claimed that he just looked weird without them but Disney can go straight to hell. Weird wrists aren’t a good enough reason to torpedo your character’s internal logic. Give him a frickin’ watch or something.

Because Genie is nothing if not extra, the movie grinds to a halt so everyone can sing “Nothing in the World”, the pauper’s “Friend Like Me”. They then all go to dinner and the Sultan announces that he’s making the impoverished street urchin who lied his way into his daughter’s affection and almost cost him his kingdom his new Grand Vizier because he is an excellent judge of character.

Genie then turns the conversation towards Iago and how he was just the worst and let’s be real here: Genie totally know that Aladdin is hiding Iago and is just stirrin’ shit. He knows. He absolutely knows. He knows who Jack Nicholson is, he knows about the bird.

Meanwhile, Abu deliberately opens Iago’s cage which leads to him almost getting eaten by Rajah and he flees into the dining room where he crashes into Genie and carpet and GOD DAMN BUT THIS FRANCHISE HAS A LOT OF COMEDY SIDEKICKS.

Sultan and Jasmine are, understandably, effin’ p’d but Aladdin promises to take complete responsibility for Iago. The sultan agrees, but he ain’t happy, and Jasmine is furious.

This brings us to something that I actually find quite fascinating about this movie. This is literally the first time we’ve ever seen a Disney couple after their happy ever after, where we get an idea of how their relationship actually works. Or doesn’t. And what this movie reveals about Jasmine and Aladdin is that she is crazy about him. But she doesn’t trust him. Which makes sense, right?

The first time she met him in the marketplace, he effortlessly lied to save her life (“she thinks the monkey is the sultan”). The second time he met her, he effortlessly lied about being a prince. And however good things are, however sweet and funny he is, that’s got to be festering in the back of her mind: Can I trust this guy? So it’s little wonder that when she learns he’s lied to her again, she just goes ballistic. And it feels right. Of course she would feel that way.

Of course, it only lasts until Iago and Genie team up to reunite the lovers through the power of magic and reverse psychology. Jasmine and Iago sing “Forget About Love”, which, what with being sung by Liz Callaway and Gilbert Gottfreid, is a bit like listening to a duet between a nightingale and a chainsaw.

Meanwhile, in the desert, Abis Mal and his cronies are getting water from the well. Abis pulls out Jafar’s lamp and releases him.

The bitch is back.

One of the reasons why Jafar, for all its flaws, still stands head and shoulders above the rest of the straight to video sequels is that it gets to keep one of the strongest elements of the first movie, Jafar himself, with Jonathan Freeman returning to stretch vowels and take names. The Disney canon tends to have a fairly Old Testament approach to its villains, having killed more bad guys than Wolverine. This means that the sequels have to create new villains who are, almost without exception, pale imitations of the originals. That’s how we went from Frollo to Sarousch, from Scar to Zira and from Ursula to…

“URSULA’S CRAZY SISTER!”

May their sins be visited upon them tenfold.

Jafar, thankfully, doesn’t have that problem. Janky animation aside, Freeman is still killing it in this part, giving just the perfect mix of camp and real menace. Instead of the usual diminished stakes, this sequel actually ups the ante. Jafar is back. He’s imaginable more powerful than he was before, and he is PISSED.

Now, as we all recall from the first movie, there are three rules binding a genie:

1 No wishing for more wishes.

2 No killing.

3 No making people fall in love.

3 No raising the dead.

This means that Jafar can’t carry out his first revenge plan, killing Aladdin, bringing him back to life, killing him again, bringing him back and then making him fall in madly love with a rabid porcupine. Instead he enlists Abis Mal to help him carry out his plot. They sneak into the palace and see that Iago has already pecked his way into Aladdin’s inner circle. Jafar is actually happy about this, saying it’s very like “Iaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo” to ingratiate himself with those in power. Jafar corners Iago and coerces him into getting Aladdin and the Sultan to go a hidden oasis so that they can smooth things out when actually, Jafar’s magic goons are waiting to ambush them.

While they’re gone, Jafar attacks the Genie with “You’re Only Second Rate”, a song that is tenth rate. Freeman gives it socks, no question, but the lyrics are so bad you can practically hear the writer flipping desperately through their rhyming dictionary looking for a rhyme for “Abracadabra”.

They went with “Granny’s gonna grab ya!”, the swine.

At the oasis, Aladdin is able to convince the Sultan that he saw something good in Iago the same way that Sultan saw something good in Aladdin and Sultan agrees that it’s exactly the same and that it was a very good idea because he is an old man and a fool. But Abis Mal shows up with army of Nazgul on kickass bat-pagasi and kidnaps that Sultan and drops Aladdin over a waterfall, but they magically save him from dying because they can’t kill him.

Aladdin makes his way back to the palace and is instantly arrested by Razoul (who actually only got his name in this movie) and before you know it he’s back in his old dungeon. Aladdin demands to see Jasmine but when she arrives she accuses him of murdering her father and orders him beheaded.

Dude, this is a flowers and chocolates situation if ever I saw one. And I’ve seen plenty.

Of course, it’s not really Jasmine. Jasmine and the Sultan have been locked up in a different dungeon with all fifty seven comic relief characters. Aladdin is led to the chopping block and just before he’s about to be beheaded, Jafar shows up disguised as Jasmine and changes back just long enough for Aladdin to realise who’s behind all this.

“Admit it, boy. You’ve had this exact nightmare.”

Which, as villain power moves go, is pretty baller. Unfortunately for Jafar, he hasn’t reckoned on one thing, the dried, shrivelled husk of Iago’s conscience. Iago frees the Genie and he manages to rescue him right before he becomes too short to go on any theme park rides.

Aladdin is all up for plucking Iago to stuff a throw pillow but when Jasmine explains that he rescued them all, Aladdin forgives him. Team Aladdin get ready to take on Jafar but Iago refuses saying he’s done his good dead. And Aladdin lets him off the hook, saying it’s cool and he’s done enough. Iago flies off, but he clearly feels bad about it.

They sneak into the palace and almost manage to get Jafar’s lamp but he blasts them out into the palace grounds when he then re-landscapes into more of a Mordor theme with lots of lakes of burning lava. Aladdin and his crew are hopelessly outmatched until Iago shows up at the last minute like Han Solo during the Death Star run and knocks Jafar’s lamp into the lava, finally destroying him. Iago gets blasted pretty badly by Jafar but, of course, genie’s can’t kill you so he survives, presumably with agonising burns for the rest of his days. And the movie ends with Aladdin telling the sultan that he can’t be his grand Vizier because he’s planning on seeing in the world and having adventures. Like, 86 or so, each running around half an hour in length including commercials.

***

Return of Jafar is kind of like Gizmo from Gremlins. It spawned a lot of monsters and did a lot damage, but we can’t stay mad at it. As animation, it’s not even in the same league as it’s predessesor. But it’s briks, fun, occasionally funny and doesn’t desecrate any of the original characters who largely survive unscathed. As Disney sequels go, that’s definitely a win.

Scoring

How butt ugly is the animation? Is it as ugly as a butt?: 03/20

What with being done by two different studios, the quality really is all over the place. But it’s a pretty bad place.

Are the main characters jerks? I bet they’re jerks: 15/20

Jasmine is noticeably less badass this time around but overall these are still recognisably the characters we love from the first movie. You’d be surprised how rarely that happens.

Bet the villain’s a real shitpile, character wise: 17/20

Wonky animation aside, it’s still one of the best villains in the canon strutting around.

Oh what’s this? Supporting characters? Fuck you supporting characters!: 14/20

Semi-phenomenal, nearly cosmic is still pretty good in the grand scheme of things.

Man, fuck the music. I hope it dies08/20

The songs are dang-awful, but the incidental music is actually quite fine.

FINAL SCORE: 57% 

NEXT UPDATE: 17 October 2019

“Okay, fine, THEN you will buy the lamp, yes?”

“Promise.”

26 comments

  1. I hate myself, so I watched all the Disney sequels a few years back. The Aladdin sequels were among the “best,” so I have a soft spot for them.

    One thing that always stuck out to me about this movie was Jafar’s death scene. It horrified me as a kid, and even now, I still think it was pretty messed up.

    1. Makes sense. Action/Adventure stories normally make better sequel material than most Disney movie plots, Jafar was still available, there were character arcs to finish, and magic is a great way to quickly make the plot move and empower villains. The biggest issue was often finding a way how Genie could not effortlessly save the day.

  2. I definitely hated this one for a while, but nowadays I find it mostly harmless, notwithstanding its status as the start of the Direct-to-Video Sequel Conquest.
    Also, I’d like to point out that a few months after Return of Jafar came out, Universal released the first sequel to The Land Before Time. I just find it hilariously coincidental that the DTV Disney sequels and the LBT sequels started in the same year.

  3. So I have a rule about good animation and the three points that make it a quality product, they are Story, Acting and Animation. At the same time I have something I like to call the Jay Ward Rule (named after the creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle etc.) which states, “Even if the animation isn’t that good, if the Acting and Story are then you can still have a top-notch product.”

    That’s how I feel about Return of Jafar. Even though the animation at times is…off, the consistently good acting and gripping story still makes for a good sequel.

    One thing that really benefited the Aladdin sequels was also the setting, being in an “Arabian Nights” inspired setting allowed them to do a lot of world building. And the premise of travelling the world and having adventures helped justify it. As a plus, it also gave them plenty of time to allow Aladdin to grow into a proper ruler in the future, strengthen his relationship with Jasmine, have some development for her and give those 600 comedy sidekicks a bit of spotlight.

    By the way, the showrunners actually gave a justification for why Genie still wears the manacles.

    “The only thing I’m a slave to…is FASHION!”

  4. I liked this one a lot as a kid (the show was my jam), and still think it’s pretty alright now. I agree the animation is pretty terrible, and the music is awful. Although I actually have a soft spot for “You’re Only Second Rate”, I like a villain song that’s just the villain being a jerk for fun. Same reason Vincent Price’s songs in The Great Mouse Detective are on my playlist.

  5. Also, this isn’t the only Disney Sequel where the villain from the first movie returns. Pocahontas 2, 101 Dalmatians 2, Jungle Book 2, Return to Neverland, the Cinderella sequels; so it’s not like all of them are stuck with diet versions of the original villains.

  6. Y’know, I think Aladdin 2 and 3 are the only Disney sequels I’ve ever seen. Huh. I remember them both being “fun” but I was a more credulous being back then. I’ve forgotten most of the songs, too; but for some reason, “I’m looking out for me” has stuck with me. Possibly a sign of mental trauma, I guess… 😅

    Anyway, thanks for the review! 😁

  7. I remember seeing the end of this on RTE (big big movie WHOO!) when I was 7ish and thinking it was the greatest thing in the history of history. To be fair the ending is pretty badass!

  8. As far as Disney Sequels go, I consider this perfectly edible. This is coming from a guy who wasn’t a super fan of Aladdin to begin with. It’s too… boyish.

    One thing I do like about The Return of Jafar is… the songs! (Gasp). Oh gosh yes, they sound terrible, look terrible, and most likely left the singers with a terrible cold after recording them. But conceptually, I think they are pretty neat. Jafar’s harmatia was that he wanted to be a more powerful being than the genie, which resulted in him being trapped in a lamp. So I am totally on board with shit-talking the genie is on the top of his to-do-list the second he is back! And in song form! Yay! Jafar gets a whole musical number! The Prince Ali reprise from the original movie was a snippet of a song. Jasmine get a song too! And the gimmick of reverse psychology force the lyrics to be somewhat inventive, and by that fact alone the song rises to the level of… mildly tolerable.

    If Aladdin 2019 had anything good coming out from it, it’s rekindling my interest in Aladdin. I revisited the sequels and TV series recently, and that’s been an interesting ride.

    1. They gave Gilbert Gottfried TWO SONGS. That’s one of the Ten Commandments: “Thou Shalt Not Allow GIlbert Godfried To Sing”. And, yes, I think they used a voice-double, but dammit, you’re still hearing something that sounds like Gilbert Gottfried singing.

  9. I tend to be more forgiving towards the Aladdin cheapquels because I see them more as the lead in and finale of the TV show. If you see them that way, they are actually more than decent, even if the first one is eye cancer.

  10. I watched the film dupped as a kid so the voices aren’t the same so they aren’t issue for me. I rather like Forget About Love even if it’s cheesy.

    Interesting how Cinderella III also gets to keep its main villain and is considered one of the better sequels. And I do recall you liked Pocahontas II even though that isn’t a popular opinion. But I let you know that Zira is great.

  11. “Go burn some Tarzan sequels.”

    I actually liked the Tarzan TV series, for what it’s worth.

    Tarzan II, though? Yeah, so much utter ape excrement. Although somehow STILL nowhere as bad as the later CGI Tarzan animated movie Disney did not make, which is a true abomination against mankind and Mother Nature alike.

  12. You had me cracking up at the conversations between you and the Peddler! Poor guy!

    Also loved the 4 rules of the “3 rules of wishing”, marvelous!

    Great review although the animation is quite bad! I actually do like the movie and even enjoy many of the songs including Second Rate, Quite Like a Friend, and I’m Looking Out for Me and sing them to myself quite often.

    I sure hope Gilbert Gottfried doesn’t read this review comparing his singing voice to a chainsaw, lol.

    SOOO looking forward to your King of Thieves review!

    1. I don’t think Gottfried would get offended. His whole shtick relies on his voice being annoying and he knows it.

  13. Lindsay Ellis did a YouTube episode on how Disney burned Robin Williams. It wasn’t just the merchandizing (he apparently was ethically opposed to using commercially manipulating kids), but also the ways that Katzenburg tried sinking the other production that Williams was working on at the same time, Ferngully, because he didn’t want the main star of Aladin to be associated with the lower art of other film productions.

  14. Oh my gosh! I’m so happy I requested this one because your review was hilarious and on point. And you worked in a mention of Moze, who is my fave series character, and the brothers theory! Squeee!

  15. Squee! I’m the one who requested this on patreon and I’m so glad I did because your review was hilarious and on point. You even worked in a mention of Moze, my favorite series character, and the brothers theory! I have such a smile on my face!

  16. To play devil’s advocate on Genie’s rings returning, there is one possible motive that I managed to think up as an explanation. Genie decided to create new ring-chains on his wrist because it will make those not in the know mistake him for an enslaved genie, which does have its advantages.

    If he was identified as a free genie, some unscrupulous individuals might try to find a way to enslave him again, perhaps creating a new bottle to trap him in. But if they think he’s a bound genie, their assumptions will be off. If they wanted to take control of him, they’d exhaust themselves trying to find his bottle, which won’t work anymore.

    Sure, it’s a desperate justification for Disney being lazy and not adjusting his appearance, but at least it makes it sound at least somewhat reasonable.

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