I just saw Aladdin, and I wanted to share my thoughts. Before we get started, check out the following trailer if you haven’t seen it already.
Aladdin is a live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1992 animated film. The story follows Aladdin (Massoud), a kind-hearted street urchin, who befriends and falls in love with the sheltered Princess Jasmine (Scott). His pursuit to woe her is halted before it even starts because she can only marry a Prince, that is until he meets the evil Grand Vizier, Jafar (Kenzari), who offers him riches to impress Jasmine in exchange for a magic lamp located in the Cave of Wonders. Aladdin’s retrieval of the lamp introduces him to the Genie (Smith) who offers him three wishes, but Jafar’s quest for dominion and power make things difficult and dangerous for Aladdin and his friends.
Have you ever heard the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? That line ran through my head the entire time I was watching this film. Aladdin has been in my top 5 for years, but this live-action version, in my opinion, didn’t do the franchise any justice. It’s to the point where I’m questioning why this classic was even brought to life if this perfectly good story was just going to be altered. Not to mention the fact that if Abu, Iago, Rajah, and the flying carpet weren’t present, the main characters would’ve been a lost cause.
Massoud’s Aladdin had the charisma of dried paint. The original Aladdin had a wit and street swag that gave him more of a confident persona, which is something I didn’t see coming through the screen. The feminist undertones in Princess Jasmine’s character did nothing to accentuate her charm, in fact, it denigrated it. And Will Smith’s awkward performance as the Genie made him look more like a flamboyant wedding planner than the cosmic comedy act he was supposed to be.
Surprisingly, however, Jafar was the only person who kept my interest. Although he wasn’t nearly as grim as the animation and his reign as the Sultan was lackluster—particularly the fight sequence at the end that shouldn’t have been tampered with—he brought an unapologetic attitude to the character that made him more dominant than the original.
The childhood nostalgia, dance sequences which highlighted the culture, and cinematography I enjoyed in 3D were the saving graces. But overall this 2019 version of Aladdin was a disappointment.
Grade of C-
Until Next Time…