Saturday, November 01, 2014

Ape of the Geek: Abu!

Species: Monkey (specific species unknown, possibly a capuchin monkey)

First Appearance: Aladdin (Disney, 1992)

Other Appearances:  The Return of Jafar, Aladdin and the King of Thieves (both direct-to-video movies), Aladdin, Hercules: The Animated Series, House of Mouse (TV shows, Disney Channel). 

Merchandising: Abu has appeared in a number of Disney video games, Disney park attractions, as well as a wide range of toys.

Biography: Abu is a thief by nature, as well as a kleptomaniac obsessed with shiny items. It's unknown how Abu came to be Aladdin's pet, but whatever the circumstances, he's clearly devoted to Aladdin, willing to risk his life to save Aladdin and his friends. He hates to be made a fool of. 

When we first meet Abu, he and Aladdin are escaping the Palace Guards after stealing bread, almost getting caught when he is attracted to a jewelry stall. Later, when Aladdin meets Jasmine for the first time, Abu almost gets caught picking a pocket. When Aladdin is later jailed, Abu helps Aladdin escape. Later, in the Cave of Wonders, it's Abu who wakes the Magic Carpet, but he also is tempted to steal a  ruby from a monkey idol, bringing about the destruction of the cave. Later, when Jafar is about to stab Aladdin, Abu bites him on the arm, stealing the magic lamp in the process. After the Genie is awakened, Abu is transformed into an elephant to provide transportation to Agrabah. Jafar changes Abu back to a monkey by Jafar, who imprisons Aladdin, Abu and the Carpet into a tower and sends them to the ends of the earth. When they escape and return, Abu helps by knocking out Iago to keep him from alerting Jafar. 

In The Return of Jafar, Abu is given the job of guarding Iago the Parrot, who stayed with them after Jafar's defeat. Later, during a picnic, Abu spots a spider that leads to dozens more, which combine to form Jafar, who seeks revenge. During the battle, Iago nearly sacrifices his life to defeat Jafar, leading Abu to accept Iago's switching sides. In Aladdin: The Series, Abu is often paired with Iago, and still is tempted to steal, but he has started to develop a conscience. During this series, Abu gains a pick that can open any lock.

In Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Abu's excited to see the day Aladdin and Jasmine to wed, but Aladdin wishes he had a father figure. It's discovered that Aladdin's father is alive, and Aladdin, Abu, Carpet and Iago go to see Cassim (Aladdin's father). Aladdin successfully defeats Cassim's thieves, but later the thieves betray Cassim, and Abu helps to rescue him before the wedding. At the end of the movie, Abu decides to stay at the palace with the Genie, Aladdin, Jasmine, Carpet and the Sultan while Iago goes off adventuring with Cassim.

Powers: Abu has no real powers, although he appears to be very intelligent for a monkey!

Miscellaneous: Abu was voiced by Frank Welker, who's had a long career voicing cartoon characters, especially animals.

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