The Desert Sun from Palm Springs, California on May 20, 1994 · Page 81
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The Desert Sun from Palm Springs, California · Page 81

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Palm Springs, California
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Friday, May 20, 1994
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Page 81
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A specidseetkmcfTlK Desert Smi, Friday May 20, 1994 Pge IS ' Jaf ar' comes out of lamp, into video stores VCR VIEWING: The Disney movie bypasses the big screen in favor of going straight to video. By LYNETTE RICE New York Tnes News Service LOS ANGELES - With a box-office booty exceeding $217 million, it's only natural that Walt Disney would be more than eager to fire up the magic carpet and plan for Aladdin's heroic return. But this time, the doe-eyed do-gooder bypasses the theaters and beads, via video stores, straight to America's VCRs roughly 75 millionin The Return of Jafar" went on sale Wednesday. The video picks up where Disney's best-selling animated film left off: The evil Jafar manages to extract himself from the magic ; lamp and vows to seek revenge on those who imprisoned him namely, that pesky Aladdin and his little rug, too. "We thought we had a great story to tell, and, frankly, the audience is out there," co-producer Tad Stones said. 'To go to feature animation, we'd have to wait another year to five years. Disney already has projects stacked up to the turn of the century. "Walt Disney Home Video was looking for an opportunity to produce original material, and this was the perfect project," he said. eta (Homer on The Simpsons''), To pull it off, Disney assembled Stones said. most of the original cast Gilbert Of Castellaneta, Stones said, Gottfried ("Beverly Hills Cop IF) "He's great You cant hide the fact once again is a natural at playing that he had the biggest shoes to fill the truly annoying parrot, Scott Imt w. thought he created a very Weinger ("Full House") is Aladdin, Jonathan Freeman is Jafar, and Linda Larkin is Jasmine. There's even the addition of Jason Alexander ("Seinfeld"), who plays a delicious thief named Abis Mai But painfully absent is the presence of Robin Williams as the voice of Genie. Not on the best terms with Disney, Williams apparently didn't have time to do the sequel, Stones said. He did, however, have a hand in the decision to hire Dan Castellan- friendly, warm character with his own sense of humor. It feels like the Genie of the original film." Also absent are the original production staff (the new one comes from Disney's television animation staff) and the great sing-alongs created by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman. Menken also said he was too busy to work on the video. But Disney folk insist that Aladdin's dedicated fans won't see a huge difference. Aladdin' sequel draws complaints from Arab-American Committee By LYNETTE MCE New York Times News Service LOS ANGELES The reviews are in and the feeling is unanimous: Arab-Americans still have problems with Walt Disney's depiction of Middle Easterners in the "Aladdin" stories. Casey Kasem, one of the more high-profile members of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, was thankful for Disney's attempt to seek his opinion. However, he thought more balance was needed between the heroes and thpjrillaing in the "Aladdin" sequel, The Return of Jafar." The Washington, DC-based committee, as well as the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles, complained that Aladdin's fea tures in both films were more Caucasian than Middle Eastern, especially when compared to the dark-skinned foes who have pointy noses and chins. "We recognized that show business is show business, and we're not out there Just to be so picky that we become a pain in the neck," Kasem said. "We're there to do what we can to call attention to the sensitivity of not only Arab-Americans, but to any ethnic group." Salam Al-MarayatL director of the Muslim council, was not as forgiving. 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