Directed by Tim Burton, this episode of Shelley Duvall’s beloved family classic is one of its best so far. Although he initially seems miscast, Robert Carradine makes for a slyly charming titular character, and he’s extraordinarily well-matched by Valerie Bertinelli, who oozes warmth and charisma as Princess Sabrina. In supporting roles, James Earl Jones and Leonard Nimoy seem to relishing the opportunity to loosen up, with Jones playing the Genie as a lovable curmudgeon and Nimoy channeling Vincent Price’s vaguely campy menace as The Evil Moroccan Magician. Burton’s sets, his use of music, and knack for effective visual energy manage to come through even for such an early effort on his part, and it’s easy to see why he would go on to become so synonymous with off-kilter, visually creative entertainment.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)