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The Desert Sun from Palm Springs, California • Page 81

The Desert Suni
Palm Springs, California
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video A special section of The Desert Sum, Friday, May 20, 1994 Page 18 'Jafar' 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 Times News Service LOS ANGELES With a boxoffice 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 dogooder bypasses the theaters and heads, via video stores, straight to America's VCRs roughly 75 million in "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 'Aladdin' sequel draws complaints from By LYNETTE RICE 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 the villains in the "Aladdin" sequel, "The Return of Jafar." The Washington, D.C.-based committee, as well as the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles, complained that Aladdin's fea- COINS Top Prices Paid We Buy 2.5 Times Face Silver Dollars Any flatware pattern Gold Silver Co.

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111, PALM DESERT: the perfect project," he said. To pull it off, Disney assembled most of the original cast. Gilbert Gottfried Hills Cop once again is a natural at playing the truly annoying parrot, Scott" Weinger is Aladdin, Jonathan Freeman is Jafar, and Linda Larkin is Jasmine. There's even the addition of Jason Alexander who plays a delicious thief named Abis Mal. 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- 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." role," Salam Al-Marayati, director of the Muslim council, was not as forgiving. He thought the Aladdin become a pain in the neck," Kasem character looked like something The Height of Dining The Mirada Restaurant Situated 650 feet above the desert floor, The Mirada restuarant features the finest South of the Border cuisine prepared by 2t Chef Laurent Poulain. Live music, a breathtaking view and unsurpassed service are guaranteed to bring you back again.

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It feels like the Genie of the original 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. Committee out of "Mayberry RFD." "My suggestion is to have at least one Middle Eastern play a positive role," Al-Marayati said. NAND MI COMIC BOOK CONVENTION RED LION HOTEL 222 M.

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