Disney has recently been on a mission to remake their animated classics into popular live action movies and for the most part they have been a success. We have seen classics like Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Dumbo all re-imagined for a live action debut, with Disney still releasing many more in the coming year. Their newest remake movie is the Disney classic Aladdin. The story of the street rat who finds a magic genie lamp who grants him three wishes, but along the way falls in love with the Princess of Agrabah, Jasmine. This time the movie was directed by Guy Ritchie, and starred Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and Will Smith among many others. So let’s dive in to whether or not we thought Aladdin is worth going to the theaters to see. As always this article will contain Spoilers!
High: The Cast
One thing that had a lot of people concerned and up in arms was the cast for the movie. There were more than a few reasons as to why the cast was of concern to many of the Aladdin Disney faithful. Whenever you get a movie that is set in a foreign country, with actors who are not Caucasian, fans prefer to have them be ethnically similar to the original story. We saw that with the choices of Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott. Many were concerned about the two not being the right fit to play their characters and were afraid they wouldn’t do them justice. The other concern was Will Smith and him tackling the HUGE role made famous by the late Robin Williams, Genie. But boy were we wrong to ever doubt them.
One of if not the best part of the movie is the cast. Mena Massoud as Aladdin was an absolutely perfect casting. He embodied the role of Aladdin and is as close to the cartoon coming to life as we are ever going to get. Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine was also an absolute brilliant casting. She embodied the role of Jasmine and made her a strong and independent woman that wasn’t going to let anyone try to silence her. She was another perfect casting for Disney. The big one was Will Smith as Genie. In our opinion he did a fantastic job in the role of Genie. He was never trying to replace Robin Williams, but instead he tried to take the role and make it his own, while making sure to pay homage to Robin Williams portrayal of the character. He did a great job and should be commended.
High: Sticking To The Original
Something that a lot of Disney movie fans have concerns with when Disney remakes their classics into live action movies, is how much are they going to change the original movie. A lot of us would like to just see the movie almost made remade shot for shot into a live action movie, but unfortunately that isn’t always possible. Dumbo for example is only about an hour long originally, so creative changes to the story are going to have to be made. In Aladdin, the classic has so much going on that many didn’t want to see the movie changed at all.
Luckily for us fans it seems that Disney didn’t want to stray to far from the original movie as Aladdin was extremely similar to it’s original film. The movie begins almost identically to the original animated movie and continues that way through out the movie, bringing us classic Disney songs and scenes that we remember from the original. The movie was like watching the classic just come to life in front of your eyes in the very best way. But the best part was that they did add new things into the movie, but those new things were very subtle and worked very well with the movie.
Some of those new scenes include Princess Jasmine’s new song “Speechless” towards the end of the movie which brought a little bit of girl power and strength to the character that was really nice to see. Another cool little change was the scene where Jafar turns Iago into a giant parrot to chase down Aladdin and the lamp. It would have looked kinda silly if this little parrot was a big menace chasing down our main characters for the lamp. Overall the movie payed homage to the original and left us pretty happy that they didn’t change the Disney classic to much.
While we said earlier that the cast for the movie was fantastic, the only casting that we still aren’t thrilled with was the role of Jafar played by Marwan Kenzari. While Kenzari was a great actor and did a fantastic job, it left us wanting the Jafar from the original movie, as this one took Jafar in a bit of a different direction. Jafar is arguably one of the most famous Disney villains of all time and and if an Aladdin movie is going to be made, he needs to embody that same thing. Unfortunately we did not get that with this portrayal of Jafar.
The first thing is that he probably should have been played by someone a little older. We all know in the classic movie he is basically trying to get Jasmine to marry him to become sultan. In this movie he eventually does that same thing but it really wasn’t a main thing. He kind of only wanted that at the very end and even then it wasn’t really important. They might have casted him young to not give off the creepy older man vibes, but it actually probably would have been better if they did. He never really gave off that sneaky sinister vibe that the original does which is really disappointing.
Another disappointing thing is that he barely interacted with Iago! The two are hugely famous Disney villains and should have been portrayed that way. In the original the only person Jafar trusts is Iago and they have hilarious banter back and fourth and we didn’t get any of that really in the movie. The clearly chose to make Iago a little more real by not giving him the ability to have full on conversations with Jafar, but it left us wanting the funny bird that Gilbert Godfrey made famous.
High: The Visuals
Disney from the very beginning clearly wanted to make Aladdin visually appealing on top of everything it was going to give you in the movie. Where Aladdin takes place is pretty different from the general European scenery that a lot of their movies are set. So for this movie they made sure that they wanted to pay respect to the setting it was set in by making sure that the sets for the movie were bright, colorful, and amazing to look at. One of the things that stands out the most in the movie is how colorful the movie is. The clothing that all the characters were wearing through out the movie were always beautiful and bright while making sure that nothing was ever dull.
The sets of the movies wear also always beautiful to look at with bright colors and elaborate designs. The city of Agrabah was kept pretty similar to the original, while modernizing it a little to make it look realistic. All the buildings were very classic Middle Eastern styled, while the market that the characters travel through looks like something you would find in real life. Many of times you would find your self not paying attention to the characters and instead you would be looking around in the background or maybe the clothes that they were wearing. Either way it was done masterfully and was definitely something that was taken with great pride and care.
Out of all the Disney live action remakes, Aladdin may be in the #1 or #2 spot depending on who you talk too. Beauty and the Beast was a bit of a powerhouse, and the movie was done extremely well just like this movie. Aladdin was done brilliantly and deserves to be called one of the best live action remakes. It did better than projected in it’s opening weekend bringing in a reported $112.7 million dollars for the holiday weekend. This movie is definitely one that you want to see in theaters so that way you can take in everything that the big screen has to offer. Guy Ritchie did an amazing job and deserves a lot of credit for how amazing this movie is.
Categories: Highs & Lows