How Aladdin Changed Animation (by Screwing Over Robin Williams)

Lindsay Ellis
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"After all, you've lied to everyone else, I was starting to feel left out."

Twitter - @thelindsayellis
Patreon: www.patreon.com/lindsayellis
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Music by Epidemic Sound: epidemicsound.com/creator
Sources and Citations:
“Episode Dated February 2, 1994.” Des O'Connor Tonight. February 2, 1994. Television.
"Robin Williams: Live at the Met." TV Special. October 11, 1986. ruvid.net/video/video-d0ran3tHy6Q.html
Groves, Nancy. “Robin Williams' career in clips: from Mork to Mrs Doubtfire via Aladdin.” The Guardian, August 12, 2014.

Hill, Jim. "How Eric Goldberg Created the Genie Outtakes for Disney’s Diamond Edition of Aladdin." Huffpost. Dec 6, 2017. www.huffpost.com/entry/how-eric-goldberg-created_b_8285678
McDonald, Soraya Nadia. “Robin Williams almost didn’t make ‘Aladdin,’ and a generation of children is grateful that he did.” The Washington Post, August 15, 2014.
Rawden, Jessica. “Why Disney Was Annoyed About Ferngully: The Last Rainforest.” Cinemablend, 2017. www.cinemablend.com/news/1651751/why-disney-was-annoyed-about-ferngully-the-last-rainforest
Stewart, James B. Disney War. Simon & Schuster, 2006. pg 88
Tattoli, Chantel. “FernGully at 25: How an Upstart Disney Rival Created a Millennial Silent Spring.” Vanity Fair, April 25, 2017. www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/04/ferngully-making-of
Welkos, Robert W. “Abracadabra: Disney, Robin Williams Quit Feud : Movies: Studio President Joe Roth apologizes to the actor, acknowledging that it did breach an agreement with him. Both sides say they will now discuss film projects.” The Los Angeles Times, October 24, 1994.


Published on


May 20, 2019

lindsay ellislindsay ellis video essaylindsay ellis disneylindsay ellis aladdinlindsay ellis disney sequelsaladdin robin williams genielindsay ellis robin williamslindsay ellis dreamworksdisney vs dreamworks




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Comments 12 424
Kayla Daly
Kayla Daly 26 days ago
thank you Lindsay for confirming the true timeline. There is only Pre-Shrek and Post-Shrek
dapperfan44 Day ago
@Compucles I'm talking about Disney proper, Illumination, Dreamworks etc. Obviously I'm not including Pixar.
Compucles 2 days ago
@dapperfan44 Really? You don't consider Pixar gems like the "Toy Story" movies, "Finding Nemo," "Up," "WALL-E," "Inside Out," and "Coco" to have scenes with heavy drama? Who destroyed your emotional core?
achanwahn 2 days ago
Except that this is skipping over studios that already did it 20 years before Dreamworks. This is incomplete BS
dapperfan44 3 days ago
@Compucles none of those movies really have scenes with heavy drama in them like from the old days imo. Maybe frozen where she (SPOILER ALERT FOR THE 2 PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T SEEN FROZEN) accidentally ice-hearts her sister.
Compucles 3 days ago
@dapperfan44 Who says that's all modern animation is today?! There are still plenty of good animated musicals or even just non-comedies that make big bucks today. Movies like "Tangled," "Frozen," and "Moana" are fantastic musicals, while Pixar's basic M.O. is making excellent animated dramas.
Ben Howerton
Ben Howerton 39 minutes ago
Sil.Gio. Gonz.Matri.
Sweet jumping Jesus, Eye opening right here, jeeeez!
ThatOneOncer Lila
Okay, this is a video telling us things we didn't previously know, so I am calling it news. That makes you a news reporter. A journalist, so to speak. And a part of that is being unbiased, which in this video you are not. I'm not trying to hate on you as you probably don't see the problem with how you do things. It probably doesn't even bother most people, but it got to me. I didn't watch this video to hear your opinion, I watched it to get the facts. You should try to stop your opinion from showing in the video. The audience shouldn't know your position on the topics being discussed. I suggest keeping that in mind in the future.
Trenton Nezzy
Trenton Nezzy 3 hours ago
I just found your channel! It is amazing and makes me jealous all at the same time. Your content is just...great. Thank you for doing what you do.
Radford Healsworth
Radford Healsworth 3 hours ago
Damn girl....stop jerking my tears. Right at the end, getting all emo on me
Nomi 3 hours ago
at this point im calling The Great Mouse Detective just "bitter ex-bfs" bc of your vids not that im complaining, of course :^)
The Bat Bag
The Bat Bag 3 hours ago
Wow this was a beautiful explanation of why :') The ending statements about it being from a place of heart actually pulled at my heartstrings a little.
Radford Healsworth
Radford Healsworth 3 hours ago
Oh come on Trey Parker was incredible
Radford Healsworth
Radford Healsworth 3 hours ago
Oh, I like you, jolly good show!🧐
John Rodriguez
John Rodriguez 4 hours ago
Thanks for this awesome video. you earned a sub!
N R 4 hours ago
Anastasia is a perfect film. I’ll fight you on that until my last dying breath.
Kas Jenkins
Kas Jenkins 5 hours ago
Where does secret of nihm fall in here ? Just curious.
Lance Lovecraft
Lance Lovecraft 5 hours ago
okay at 21:41 i swear im hearing Blue by Broken Little Sister
Chris Fida
Chris Fida 5 hours ago
When you’re next video
oscar sanchez
oscar sanchez 6 hours ago
You are hipnotizing
Bill Woodell
Bill Woodell 7 hours ago
Ok. Crying now.
Benbrook Brony
Benbrook Brony 10 hours ago
Then Disney reboots Aladdin as a big Fuck you to Robin Williams
Link MarioKirbyNintendo
What show is at the 0:26 mark??
Sasha S.
Sasha S. 10 hours ago
I’m very lost and confused while watching this and I don’t know why 😂💯
Benton x
Benton x 11 hours ago
really love watching you and your voice is so perfect seems like someone on npr. watching all your videos changed the way I watch movies. please make more videos.
trevor  cauler
trevor cauler 14 hours ago
IF?... How come Robin Williams did it if... IF he... didn’t... want tooooo....? Dumb question? Or... OH YEAH! Hook!! I broke my 8yr. old arm jumping off my bunk bed thinking I was Peter F-KN Pan!🤔💭 & He really trusted “katzenburg” to not re-nig & try to make even more money!? Robin’s totally @fault
mathias veratoro
mathias veratoro 15 hours ago
wait.. are you the voice of watchmojo?
N R 4 hours ago
No not even similar
Jo Veteran
Jo Veteran 20 hours ago
I hate celebrity voice actors, and I agree with most of the video, but Spiderverse a good movie? Are we on the same universe? I expected people with that opinion to be teenagers, not 35-40 year old like myself. Did you people forgot to grow up, or something? It was boring, predictable, cliche. Nothing new. Why so many people liked that? I don't get it.
Sora Jones
Sora Jones 22 hours ago
Yeah Genie was made based on Robin Williams just like Nick Fury was made based on Samuel L. Jackson. both play the roles perfectly because they were those characters
JoeJoe 22 hours ago
"Hey i want to be in your movie, but dont mention me in advertising" Disney: "... dafuq?"
andrewxc1335 23 hours ago
20:49 - "Miramax, owned by Bob & Harvey Wein-- " Just about lost it.
andrewxc1335 23 hours ago
18:40 - Mostly, the animation studio shunted sequels to their B-team, anyway, allowing the entry-level animators some practice to cut their teeth. But yeah, Return of Jafar was... Not good, even by that standard. They eventually did some good work on the TV show, but it took a while to get the formula down.
Karen Vanneste
Not cool of you for ridiculing Anastasia and The Prince Of Egypt, girl...
tarrker Day ago
That was simply wonderful. Thank you Lindsay. ^_^
Sara White
Sara White Day ago
Make a T-shirt of THANKS I HATE IT!
** Day ago
Shrek wasn't the very first animated movie of that era to use a flock of "famous" voice actors, the english dub of *Princess Mononoke* also came out 4 years earlier (1997) and had Claire Danes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Gillian Anderson, Billy Crudup, Billy Bob Thornton, Minnie Driver, John DiMaggio (he's a voice actor, but still counts?).
Tiny Day ago
Kod - ified Not Code - ified
JUST A FAN Day ago
you're entire video is wrong JAR JAR WAS THE KEY TO ALL O' THIS
Nick Chira
Nick Chira Day ago
The didn't use his voice in the marketing material, which is exactly what he asked for. He was just sour grapes and re-interpreting it to mean, don't use the character, which is ridiculous, and obviously not part of the contract.
You there, girl. I require another content. Create me another content.
Nico Monetti
Nico Monetti Day ago
At the end of childhood, all that mattered was the strength and quality of the storytelling. The hijacking of our imagination and presentation of the values that shaped our worldviews... values that live within us to this day. What these artists and executives and workers that bring to life these public works are responsible for those cultural artifacts. Storytelling is something so important for the future of mankind that we would do well to appreciate the individual sacrifices made amongst all those players, and the ole Machiavellian ends justifying the means prototype is not something I am keen to ignore. ||
Efrain Morales
I really miss Mr. William... 😢
The Truth is only Perspective
Shrek was better than anything Disney has done in 20yrs. This bitch is just bitter
Remix Dragon
Remix Dragon Day ago
I can never not look at Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison
James Carter
James Carter Day ago
Will smith killed it
cag3891 Day ago
Great video. Couldn't agree more. I always believed that the reason animation studios get big names is for $$$$$$, no mater how s#@t the movie it. They usually have no soul, crap stories and aren't funny. Robin is the genie, and i can understand way they wanted him. What they did afterwards to him sounded dreadful and i can understand his frustration. Now they dont care, because having big names gets bums on seats. I appreciate professional voice actors because they are passionate about animation (lije Robin) rather then how many $ they get. Its nice to see Disney (as you mentioned) get actors that are suitable for a character rather then a marketing gimick, where the voice doesn't suit the character. I have just arrived home from seeing the 2019 Aladdin and while it was good, Will Smith genie having almost the same script as Robin, i think it didn't work, as some lines there was no heart or passion in it. These were for Robin not Will. Sorry. Thanks again learnt a lot and plesse studios, no big names actors because it doesn't work. P.S Thanks for putting our legendary interviewer Ray Martin at the end of the video.
Francis Emmett
Anastasia was casted wonderfully
Kamila Igras
Kamila Igras Day ago
This video was fucking hilarious yet educational and I am here for it. Glad i stumbled upon this
Nathan Orf
Nathan Orf Day ago
RIP Robin Williams. Jeffrey Cassenberg, go screw yourself. Totally not a drunk posting.
Undead Gamez
Undead Gamez Day ago
4:20 That was my biggest laugh at the video
anthill350 Day ago
Hey Jack was nice okay
Tim Leung
Tim Leung 2 days ago
OMG, FU Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Abdullah Almosalami
I agree with your message but the way you talked about it was like a sarcastic asshole.
closetaltruist 2 days ago
You lost me when you started shading Anastasia.
Mary G
Mary G 2 days ago
Was with this until she started shitting on Anastasia one of my favorite non Disney movies with some great songs! This gets a thumbs down
gnetix 2 days ago
Aladdin was 30 years ago?! Thanks, Lindsay, for ruining my night... damn how I hate you pesky kids and your interesting videos which heartlessly remind me how old I am :((
HUCK FINN 2 days ago
Very Entertaining. Fantastic work.
Ben Monsibais
Ben Monsibais 2 days ago
You just edumacated me lol this video was funny and taught me alot
Shyho Gaming
Shyho Gaming 2 days ago
Schwetti_Ballz 2 days ago
After you shit on Anastasia (although it is definitely pure fantasy same as Pocahontas) you lost all credibility.
RobMacKendrick 2 days ago
For the record, when The Rescuers came out, Bob Newhart was as big as Robin Williams.
andrewxc1335 22 hours ago
I would argue it is relevant, given that that was half of the point of this entire video.
RobMacKendrick 22 hours ago
@andrewxc1335 Irrelevant. The narrator characterised Newhart as "the kind of actor you see on Nick At Nite." First of all, there was no Nick At Nite, or at any other time, in the 70s. And second, if there had been, Bob Newhart would not have been on it. He was a huge star throughout the 70s and 80s. His was not a minor name, as the narrator states. (If collectively. In fairness the other names she cited were pretty much Hollywood Squares fare. Perhaps she just forgot Bob was in there too.)
andrewxc1335 23 hours ago
But he wasn't plastered on the promotion material, nor did Disney have an agreement with him about it that they went back on.
Lippy 2 days ago
Holy shit, way to bring on the waterworks at the end!
Stupid Motherfucker
I didn't even know he played Popeye in that live action movie.
Awsomehead Coolface
Good vid but a couple things... 1. Return of Jafar isn’t that bad, 2. Robin returned for the 3rd movie and 3. He doesn’t hate Disney I think you guys are kinda over-exaggerating....you are only using one article after all....
BURN-E 2 days ago
achanwahn 2 days ago
I'm sorry... Did you turn your nose at Jerry Orbach and Angela Lansburry like they're nothings? That's so disrespectful. AL is a corner stone of Hollywood. Like, the lack of knowledge and respect for great actors based on millennial perspective is ridiculous. You're looking at it from your perspective, not that of the ppl of the time. For instance, Robin was the big name draw, but you skipped out on Scott, who was a huge tween heart throb at the time, too. Also, you showed Rescuers Down Under and skipped freaking John Candy! I am not sure how I'm gonna make it 23 min when you've shown such vacuous opinions so far.
Corry Tuskey
Corry Tuskey 2 days ago
i thought will smith did a good job, but the ending with the mega parrot monster and the magic carpet chase kinda sucked and the "i will not be silent" number seemed a bit cringe with the guards turning into smoke and the slow-mo cg which entirely didnt fit the rest of the cinematography. i really enjoyed the 1st half at least :/
achanwahn 2 days ago
Umm... wow! Left out a LOT of studio animations that included all star casts. Rankin & Bass had that as a respectable market cornered. & um, Don Bluth? Hello-ooooo!!! Oh, & then you dissed Don Bluth. Hm. Ok...
Brian Girley
Brian Girley 2 days ago
is this a glitch? This video had nothing to do with the title
Brian Girley
Brian Girley 2 days ago
yes it was
Lanz Singbeil
Lanz Singbeil 3 days ago
Hey now, don't wanna hear any shade being thrown on Angela Lansbury. She was PERFECTLY cast for Miss Potts. You later reconnect your argument saying that Disney has done a better job in recent films to pick voice actors that are good for the role rather than just as a marketing gimmick but I wish you had gone back and acknowledged some of the other well chosen actors. If you look at Disney animation BEYOND North America, we can see a possibly healthier trend with English dubbed versions of the Studio Ghibli films. The young Kirsten Dunst in Kiki's delivery service, Mark Hamill in Castle in the Sky AND Nausicaä, and a wonderful cast for the English Dub of Princess Mononoke. But now It makes me wonder how much of that was business decisions to try to pull in the North American audience...
Kyle Menow
Kyle Menow 3 days ago
Out of all the things I've learned from this video, my most favorite thing about it is the fact that Katzenberg was indeed a petty a-hole.
Dan Cutter
Dan Cutter 3 days ago
The writers of this piece, and, ostensibly, the narrator, are junior-high students who believe anyone older than Selena Gomez couldn’t *possibly* have any star power. Yawn.
TH ///
TH /// 2 days ago
What does this mean? They're being against using star power as a cheap gimmick is the point
VivianaZariah 3 days ago
Robin: I am raping the batty rap. me: ...I love them all stop fighting.
Elizabeth Eva
Elizabeth Eva 3 days ago
Excuse you John Hurt is my king do not disrespect him like this
Paweł Ausir Dembowski
He's great, but back in 1978 he wasn't yet internationally famous.
Noahboy !
Noahboy ! 3 days ago
16:54 Two exceptions: Surf's Up.
Olvirki 3 days ago
As a non-native English speaker I saw most of these movies dubbed in a foreign language.i guess I was spared some of these shameless celebrity inclusions.
Marty Wittenberg
Marty Wittenberg 3 days ago
Lol why would Disney back out on that deal. Because the movie did brilliant. I never saw a better stand up comedian then Robin Williams but being naive is a thing. Disney is a business and company at the end of the day. No matter how it went he did it insanely well. Being the Genie. Agreed Disney sucks for braking the trust and contract but come on. That is Disney in a nutshell. Make movies,sell merchandise. And a genie without it's voice. That does not sell period. And for the record...The Original Shrek was awesome lmfao. I laughed my ass off..and that is what matters. Petty asshole or not behind it. I could not care less about him. Did not even know him.
MijMike 3 days ago
Incredible video. Thank you.
Mark Vickers
Mark Vickers 3 days ago
Is it just me or does the narrator get more and more wasted as the video goes on?
Mariusz 3 days ago
hmm If a role in any animation is made for a certain actor/VA than its all fine but the over usage of so called celebrities is just auto "no thank you" from me. There is a certain Japanese voice actress that i do like but the amount of stuff they put her in is just sickening. Especially when the character just doesn't fit her voice
A.Y.F.S. 3 days ago
Really like the commentary. That $#!+ was funny🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
MissPronounced 3 days ago
RIP John Hurt 😭
MdahTube 3 days ago
i really liked Popeye!
Wretch Gunk
Wretch Gunk 3 days ago
the moral of the story is, capitalism ruins everything
JeOneSeven V9
JeOneSeven V9 3 days ago
SlippinnDippin 3 days ago
Anyone ever tell you that you sound just like the woman from watchmojo
Quinton Hall
Quinton Hall 3 days ago
I can't fucking look at Robin Williams anymore without fucking crying. Fuck you dude, you weren't supposed to leave. You god damn beautiful son of a bitch
Klaire Fisher
Klaire Fisher 4 days ago
This was a great video but I feel like Toy Story should have been mentioned. I know they aren’t Disney but they really really marketed off of Tom Hanks & Tim Allen hardcore and I could be mistaken but I think it was the first time after Aladdin that that as done, and I think probably a lot more so than Aladdin. I feel like Toy story maybe should be credited the start of it more than Shrek. But maybe I’m wrong.
Matthew Haywood
Matthew Haywood 4 days ago
Nobody: My brain: "Robin Williams, asserting big dick energy"
Andrew Gubanic
Andrew Gubanic 4 days ago
RIP Mr. William's. You put a light in a dark time for me.
M. A.
M. A. 4 days ago
Could have been better without the cussing. Unnecessary, you can make the same points, entertaining, and colorful.
Andrea P
Andrea P 4 days ago
Robiiiiiin! ☹
cellophane 4 days ago
why am I crying
Joseph Marcus
Joseph Marcus 4 days ago
That was an amazing video essay. Thank you.
Scott Bland
Scott Bland 4 days ago
Wow, you self-absorbed ass, Jerry Orbach was a theater legend and was a major score for Disney. Also, things would be much better if you didn't sound like a condescending shit all the time. Let me guess, you have a voice-over artist in your life and you're bitter because celebs are getting some of the work now?
Ordinarily Dapper
The work and passion put in to this, and of course the no bullshit narrative, was amazing! Excellent work!!!
richard ross
richard ross 4 days ago
Is it really so wrong to market celebrities along with animated films?
CidSilverwing 2 days ago
Not in itself, but Robin Williams didn't want his name overshadowing the movie. Then Disney went and did exactly that for basically everything that came after. I understand perfectly where Mr. Williams was coming from with this.
Will Thix
Will Thix 4 days ago
arses not asses...
visionop8 4 days ago
Ok fine. You got another subscription out of me 😄 I just can't quit cha.
franzrogar 4 days ago
14:09 Calling a work of Don Bluth a "rip-off" of Disney's stolen recipe means you need to review deeply animation history...
franzrogar Day ago
@Compucles First, do not ever again put words I've never said into my mouth. Ever. Now, I've never wrote "the was the only one". Said that, lets go to the main issue. I wrote if Blunt HAD the same money (and resources) that Disney, he would have made better movies than Disney. And that's a fact seeing what he did with his limited resources versus what Disney did with their vast resources in the 80s. If you read the development background of Anastasia and compares it against the other Blunt movies, you'll know why its his best: MONEY. So, again, I reaffirm every word I wrote.
Compucles 2 days ago
@franzrogar Bluth was a contributor to the Disney style, but he was hardly the only one, and the overall style predates Bluth's employment with Disney, anyway. As for his movies, he had some pretty good ones like "An American Tail," "The Land Before Time," and the aforementioned "Anastasia," but the latter is the only one that was even close to the same kind of quality as the majority of the Disney animated classics, and no amount of extra money would've changed that. While the 80's were admittedly a mediocre decade for Disney animation, Bluth never would've been able to pull off the kind of gems Disney routinely released in the 90's or even the heights of some of Disney's earlier gems like "Bambi" or "Cinderella."
franzrogar 3 days ago
@Compucles Because Disney animation style as you know it was very much directed by Bluth know-how? And to reply to your answer (which has nothing to do with what I wrote, BTW) are you really comparing the MONEY Bluth had versus the one that Disney had to make a movie? Seriously? If Bluth had the same money Disney at that time, Disney would be nothing today or it would have been absorbed by Bluth success.
Compucles 3 days ago
Why not? That was practically Bluth's entire post-Disney animation career, just not as good at it as Disney themselves are.
Renato Duque
Renato Duque 4 days ago
How do you know they wouldn't hire A-list actors in the past if they could afford it? Animations got more profitable once adults started attending and well-paid actors started accepting the roles. In my country we have no idea what actors play the original versions, we love the dubbed films by their quality.
Compucles 4 days ago
Hey, the live action remake may be a cash grab, but it's far from soulless or a mess! It's a great adaptation and companion film for the original just like the live action versions of "Cinderella" and "Beauty and the Beast"! Will Smith is no Robin Williams, but he does his own excellent and unique take on the character.
Compucles 4 days ago
Yeah, the gargoyle and the satyr are poor imitations, but Mushu in "Mulan" is a great character.
Compucles 4 days ago
Hey, "The Return of Jafar" is pretty good! While not up to the level of the third film in the trilogy, it's still one of the better direct-to-video Disney sequels (although, that's admittedly not saying a whole lot).
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