Archive for Good Morning Vietnam

Genie, You’re Free..

Posted in Film with tags , , , on August 12, 2014 by telescoper

It’s been a hectic day so far but I couldn’t resist taking a little time out to post a little tribute to the enormous talent that was Robin Williams, who died last night having apparently taken his own life. Robin Williams was a unique comic talent, best displayed during his legendary stand-up routines, but also demonstrated to great effect on film, especially in Good Morning Vietnam and as the voice of the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin. These movies allowed him to express his remarkable spontaneous ability to connect ideas, characters and voices in a freewheeling improvised scenarios of breathtaking inventiveness; in both the films I mentioned his work was largely unscripted. In Good Morning Vietnam the cutaways to other actors while he did his bit in the radio studio clearly don’t show them acting, just cracking up as he cut loose his extraordinarily fertile imagination; and all the animators on Aladdin had to do to make a great film was to fill in images to match his free-flowing monologues, with celebrity impersonations and other funny voices thrown in for good measure.

Much has already been written about the sad circumstances of his death, and how he seems to have lost his long battle against depression. That a light that could shine so brightly has been lost to the darkness should be a cause of deep sadness, but no-one can really understand another person’s pain and it would be quite wrong to judge him selfish or weak because of the manner of his death. Instead, I shall remember him by the joy he gave – he was one of the comic actors who could reduce me to hysterics – and hope that in some way his loss might lead in some way to greater understanding of depression and other mental health problems.

The most moving tribute of many I’ve seen today on Twitter was from the The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Genie in Aladdin yearned to be free, and now he is. RIP Robin Williams.