Aladdin (2019)

aladdin poster 2019 movie disney
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 7/10

Some decent costumes

Nothing new, wooden

Movie Info

Movie Name: Aladdin

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Genre(s): Family/Musical/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  May 8, 2019 (Premiere)/May 24, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: PG

aladdin mena massoud lamp

My wish is that the movie was more interesting

Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is a street rat in the city of Agrabah.  When he encounters Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) in disguise, he finds himself in love.  Aladdin is a diamond in the rough and the palace’s vizier Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) is in need of that type of diamond.  Hidden in the Cave of Wonders is a lamp, and in the lamp is a Genie (Will Smith).  When Aladdin accidentally unleashes the Genie, he finds himself on an adventure that could make his wildest dreams come true!

Directed by Guy Richie, Aladdin is a live action remake of the 1992 Walt Disney animated feature.  It was released to tepid reviews but a massive box office return.  The film was nominated for a Razzie Redeemer Award for Will Smith.

I enjoyed Aladdin (aka the animated one), but Aladdin was released after my “Disney age” as a kid.  It wasn’t necessarily cool to go see Aladdin, but everyone I knew had seen it (if they’d admit it or not).  The idea of an Aladdin remake seemed rather pointless…and it turns out it was.

aladdin genie will smith mena massoud

Yeah…I can be blue

The story is virtually the same story but live action.  There are a few tweaks to the film to modernize it and some of the aspects of the story are smoothed out since it is live action (like the animals and how to disguise a big blue cartoon genie).  The movie adds a few new songs in addition to remaking the musical numbers that not only were popular in the original but spawned a stage musical…it just feels flat.

The cast is a high point and a low point.  Robin Williams was the Genie, but even as the Genie I always felt there were issues where the “Robin Williams character” took over (like what kids are interested in an Ed Sullivan imitation…or adults in 1992 for that matter).  Will Smith did what he could with the role, but the role is so constrained by the original.  The movie sought a diverse cast (another plus), but like Smith, it feels like Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott are just recreating the original.  I do feel that Marwan Kenzari gave a little more depth to his character but that is also because the script gave him more depth by hinting at a backstory.

aladdin a whole new world mena massoud naomi scott

It’s a whole new world (actually, it’s the same old world…just live-action)

For all the talk, the movie also looks quite bland and not as big budget as it should.  Aladdin visually wowed for an animated film, but this film was meh at best.  The numbers didn’t have energy and besides some nice costumes, it didn’t feel like it had magic.  The initial fear that the Genie would just be human was misplaced and that was one of the least bothersome parts of the movie (because it was a new addition).

Aladdin is another ho-hum live action remake that is unnecessary, but I do see it as more “valid” than something like The Lion King remake which was a “real looking” animated movie (aka just like the original).  The only part of the new version of the movie I feel has the spirit it needs is the remix of “Never Had a Friend Like Me” played during the credit…if the money had more spirit like this, it could have worked.  Disney is always in for the cash grab and the live action Aladdin is another grab…and like most Disney films, it succeeded (I wonder if we’ll get the live-action Return of Jafar as a result).

Related Links:

Aladdin (1992)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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