“Bee yourself.” One of Disney’s funniest animated features – and arguably with some of the most recognizable and practiced quotes – possesses a massive fanbase. Just take a look at how many individuals engaged with my last Aladdin-focused piece, and it becomes clear that Aladdin‘s enthusiasts are a plenty.
If you have not checked out the original adventure, its direct-to-video sequels, or even the live stage show at Disney California Adventure Park in a long time, here are 21 reasons why the ever-hilarious Genie is the best! Why 21 reasons? Well, if you must ask, then you must not know how many candles the 1992 classic celebrates on its anniversary cake this year. If you did know, then yes, you are an Aladdin aficionado.
1. Genie knows Thor. He must have had a premonition Disney would purchase Marvel, because the blue dude interviews him in Aladdin and The King of Thieves. “You’re Thor?” the broadcaster version of him asks. “Well it hurts.” Leave it up to Genie to inspire a wink and a longer-lasting laugh.
2. Genie encourages telling the truth. He never allows Aladdin to stray too far from his humble and honest nature, pushing the “street rat” to be accepted by Jasmine for his caring nature and not his “Prince Ali” luxuries.
3. Genie protects Aladdin from potential threats. “Code red!” Sure, he exaggerates the severity of situations and even misinterprets matters, but his heart lies in being Aladdin’s savior and friend, as found in this clip from Thieves. One must also laugh when he mimics and resembles Pocahontas, jumping out of a plane.
4. Genie breaks the fourth wall. Only a few Disney characters have essentially talked directly to its viewers. Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove is a fine example. But Genie knows how to stylishly point attention to his self-awareness of what unfolds around him on screen.
5. Genie saves Aladdin’s life. After Jafar’s guards toss a shackled Aladdin into the ocean, Genie comes to the rescue and grants Aladdin’s non-spoken wish to be freed from drowning. Five points to Genie for his heroism.
6. Genie reminds Aladdin of keeping promises. A best friend following his word can sometimes prove the strength of a friendship. In this case, while Aladdin goes against his pledge to free Genie at one point, the man formerly known as Prince (Ali) follows through in the end. Yay!
7. Genie cheers up a friend in need. When Jasmine wonders if Aladdin will return from his travels in Thieves, it is Genie who comforts the princess. He nurtures her through portraying Mrs. Doubtfire, Elvis, Groucho Marx, and other figures in only two minutes. What a good guy to have around when times get tough.
8. Genie gives the best hugs. Adorned with a Goofy hat, the lovable lug pulls in the whole gang – even Rajah the Tiger – for a huge group hug.
9. Genie’s humor never feels dated. Sure, the original film premiered two decades ago, but it relied on universal comedy not necessarily set to 1992 trends, thus making it just as funny as ever. I’m glad Genie wasn’t singing New Kids on the Block songs.
10. Genie’s voice artist Robin Williams garnered a Disney Legend award. For his work in Aladdin, as well as countless other roles in Disney features, the one and only Robin Williams was granted the prestigious award at the 2009 D23 Expo. You can see his acceptance speech in the video below.
11. Genie always seems resourceful. He never ceases to amaze everyone with the tricks up his sleeve – or rather magic in his lamp. His magic is not only limited to his powers, but also the cleverness of his mind.
12. Genie shares his anger. Genie does not conceal his emotions, even when he feels most furious. Sure, he adds some pop cultural references – such as Robert De Niro’s identifiable line from Taxi Driver – but we appreciate the goofball’s candor.
13. Genie stages elaborate parades. Prince Ali and his menagerie of wild and crazy performers are all thanks to the bombastic Genie, who never shies away from an opportunity to host an entertainment extravaganza.
14. Genie loves animals. Genie pretends to be animals. Genie takes care of his animal friends (Abu, Iago, etc.) One could even argue Genie acts like an animal at times. But he is just an amorphous blob of good-natured gas who is good to nature, too.
15. Genie can make Jafar laugh. Check out this clip from the “musical spectacular” at California Adventure, where Genie’s oddball antics manage to get Jafar, recently granted as sultan, to crack a smile at the 2:07 mark. Nice work, Genie!
16. Genie serves as a powerful force in Kingdom Hearts. Genie supports Sora as one of his go-to helpers to defeat villains. How generous, considering Genie’s time is usually limited to residing in Agrabah.
17. Genie is the friendliest individual you will ever meet. And what an entrance he makes. From the moment you set your eyes on this smiling spirit you just want to be buddies with him. He’s affable and grounded. Well, as down-to-earth as a flying genie can be.
18. Genie proves quite reliable when he’s most needed. Aladdin almost drowns, but Genie plays hero (hence my earlier point). Aladdin feels down in the dumps, but Genie lifts him up. Good friend. Good Genie.
19. Genie can accept defeat. He’s not a sore loser after being defeated by Carpet in a game of chess, though in the process he impersonates Rodney Dangerfield.
20. Genie steals the last seconds of Aladdin. Remember how the movie ends? Let’s just say Genie plays a joke on the audience. That’s worth cheering for, I think, considering we imagine the last frame would be of Jasmine and Aladdin flying off into the clouds.
21. Genie is so cool he warranted an entire edition of Disney In Depth. Not many Disney personalities possess enough endearing characteristics to fill up a whole column, but Genie does. That is a testament to how much I love this sensational sidekick.
Why do you think Genie is the best? Sound off!
This is Brett Nachman, signing off. Follow me on Twitter for alerts of new editions of Disney In Depth, Thursdays on Geeks of Doom.
Stay tuned for massive D23 Expo coverage this August, including live announcements, breaking Disney news, and recaps of the events!