Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that the live-action remake of Aladdin came to theaters on May 24, 2019.
Growing up, Aladdin was my favorite Disney movie. So, naturally, I had to go see it and decide for myself if it lived up to the 1992 cartoon awesomeness.
Spoiler alert: It did.
The first thing I want to talk about is Will Smith as the Genie. This, honestly, was the part of this project that I had the most questions about leading up to the release. Robin Williams was the reason that Genie became such a lovable and popular character. Now, I like Will Smith as an actor a lot. I really do. I was just concerned that no one would be able to do this role justice.
I must say – he exceeded all my expectations. He mimicked enough of what made Williams’ Genie so great, while simultaneously making the character his own. Well done, Will Smith. Well done.
The next thing that got my attention was Jasmine. Jasmine was has been talked about in recent years as one of the Disney princesses that represents feminism. She’s strong, independent, and don’t need no man. Naomi Scott embodies those ideals tenfold. She questions a system where only a man can lead. With probably the biggest shift from the original movie, she also belts out two new original songs that both speak to how important it is for your voice to be heard.
She was honestly one of my favorite parts of the movie.
Two other minor things to note:
- There was genuinely a few moments where actor Aladdin (Mena Massoud) smirked and he SERIOUSLY LOOKED LIKE the cartoon. Such a minor detail (or is it?), but I was pretty impressed with his character’s look-a-like ability. He could’ve been a slightly stronger singer, but his dance ability, in my mind, totally made up for it.
- When I was a kid, Jafar was terrifying to me. His lanky creepiness haunted my dreams. Upon leaving the theater, I remarked that if I could’ve changed one thing, I wish Jafar would’ve been a little scarier. For some reason, the remake character did not take me back to that childhood feeling of fear. However, the person I was with reminded me that the character of Jafar was always kind of loser/loner. So, while his villainy scared me as a child, the remake focused slightly more on the isolation elements of his character development. Once I realized that, I was okay with missing out on that nostalgic terror.
All in all, as a massive Aladdin fan, I was very impressed with the remake. If you, like me, are nervous to give it a chance because you don’t think it will live up to your expectations of what the movie should be, give it a chance! You won’t regret it.