Genie of the Lamp!!!”
―Genie announcing just who he is to Aladdin
Genie is a major character in the Disney's 1992 animated feature film Aladdin, The Return of Jafar, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, and its 1994-96 spinoff television series.
Genie was originally voiced by Robin Williams, whose, then, unconventional method of voice acting proved to be groundbreaking, resulting in universal acclaim and the character of Aladdin's Genie becoming one of the most iconic and influential characters in the history of animated films.
Like most popular depictions of genies, Disney's Genie was originally a slave. Though he possesses "phenomenal cosmic powers", he is bound to an "itty bitty living space" and can only use his powers when the owner of the lamp (his master) makes a wish; he occasionally does things without granting a wish, but never anything that greatly affects the world around him. He is also bound by three laws; he cannot kill anyone, he cannot make people fall in love with each other, and he cannot revive the dead. It is possible, however, that he can do the third one, but as he puts it, "It's not a pretty picture. I don't like doing it!" Each master has three wishes, and cannot exceed this amount by wishing for more wishes. The lamp comes into the possession of Aladdin during the course of the first film, and he remains in servitude until Aladdin uses his third and final wish to grant Genie his freedom at the end of the film.
As well as largely driving the plot in the first movie, Genie serves as a comic relief element in each of his appearances. He is shown to have shape-shifting abilities, which allow for many and varied sight gags. His supernatural disposition permits him to break the fourth wall, as well as parody real-life people and popular culture completely outside of the boundaries of the universe in which he is contained. Robin Williams is responsible for most of these because he improvised many of the lines in the film. Genie's true name, if he has one, has never been revealed; he answers to being called "Genie", and never says that he has a real name. Along with the character of Iago, he is one of the most well recognized of characters from Disney's Aladdin franchise.
John Musker and Ron Clements created Genie with Robin Williams in mind, even though Disney studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg suggested names such as John Candy, Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy, Williams was approached and eventually accepted the role. Williams came for voice recording sessions during breaks in the shooting of his other two films at the time, Hook and Toys. Unusually for an animated film, much of Williams' dialogue was ad-libbed: for some scenes, Williams was given topics and dialogue suggestions, but allowed to improvise his lines. It was estimated that Williams improvised 52 characters. Eric Goldberg, the supervising animator for Genie, then reviewed Wililams' recorded dialogue and selected the best gags and lines. Goldberg and his crew then created character animation to match Williams' jokes, puns, and impersonations.
Full of life, and bursting with positive energy, the Genie is a happy-go-lucky character, with power and abilities primarily used to concoct humorous jokes for the amusement of both himself, and those around him.
Having spent a majority of his early life (over 10,000 years) trapped within a lamp, Genie tends to take advantage of his extremely rare moments of freedom by exploiting his incredible powers to, as mentioned above, entertain his new masters and acquaintances. Because of this, Genie comes off as a flamboyant showman when first introduced. In addition, when first greeted, the genie immediately becomes loyal to his new master, and continuously emphasizes the fact that his purpose is to magically enhance their lives by any means necessary (so long as it doesn't interfere with the three rules of wishing).
Though generally loyal, and extremely devoted to whomever holds temporary ownership of the lamp, Genie has a will and mind of his own, outside the bounds of a typical genie slave. An example of this can easily be seen when confessing his ultimate dream to gain freedom from his lamp prison; and to live a life outside of serving others. Additionally, as seen with Aladdin, he is capable of forming meaningful relationships with those he must serve, and this genuine loyalty is what ultimately leads to his freedom.
Though manic and explosive, Genie notably has a softer side to his character; one that is compassionate, wise, and serious when necessary. This is indicated by his tone, which changes from wily and exuberant, to low and soft in order to get a serious point across.
Powers and Abilities Edit
Genie is one of the most powerful major character in the Disney universe shown so far. As shown in the first movie, he could easily break the laws of nature, shape shift into virtually anything, break the fourth wall, warp reality at a whim, lift the palace of Agrabah with no problems, give other people his power, undo the works of any magic (though mixing his magic with someone else's had consequences), and escape a magically sealed cave. However, he had three limits to his abilities (And also refuses to accept substitutions, exchanges, refunds and wishing for more wishes); he cannot kill, he cannot make people fall in love, and he cannot raise the dead (though he states that he can indeed perform resurrections, but simply does not enjoy doing so as the resurrected are implied to be turned zombies in which he describes as "not a pretty picture"). Aside from these three limitations, he was virtually-omnipotent.
After getting his freedom, it is unclear of these limitations still implied, although he stated that he had suffered a reduction in power due to his new freedom, describing his current powers as now being "semi-phenomenal, nearly cosmic power" as opposed to his previous "phenomenal cosmic power". Due to his weakened state as opposed to Jafar's full power, the now-genie Jafar defeated him during the "You're Only Second Rate", musical number as well as deflecting all of his magical attacks. However, he still has a nearly unlimited amount of magical knowledge and all his shape shifting abilities. He also has high magic power, but was unable to undo certain forms of magic; a weakness with disastrous consequences in the television series, such as when he had trouble turning Jasmine back to normal after she was turned into a rat by a magic mirror, or his inability to break a spell cast by Sadira that brainwashed Aladdin into thinking that he was a dragon-slaying knight. It was revealed in The Return of Jafar that he can also flawlessly imitate the voices and appearances of others, as seen when he shape shifts into Aladdin in the ultimately failed attempt to distract Jafar while the real Aladdin grabs the latter's lamp.
Eventually though, Genie was shown to have regained his strength in Aladdin and the King of Thieves, where he had no problem with anything he tried. Genie is perhaps the 3rd (possibly 4th) strongest character to be shown in the series, with the only characters shown to be stronger are Fate, Chaos, and Jafar.