In the year 1992, “The Walt Disney Company” released an animated film called, “Aladdin” starring Scott Weinger, (Steve from Full House) Linda Larkin, Jonathan Freeman, Gilbert Gottfried & Robin Williams. (may he Rest In Peace) It became a critical & commercial success adored by critics, (particularly Gene Siskel & Roger Ebert) movie goers & families alike. In addition to positive reception, It was also the highest grossing film of 1992. Aladdin was later selected as an eligible nominee at “The Academy Awards” winning “Best Original Song” (A Whole New World) & “Best Original Score.” (Alan Menken) Aladdin was one of Disney’s best films in the “Disney Renaissance” alongside “The Little Mermaid,” “The Rescuers Down Under,” “Beauty & The Beast,” “The Lion King,” “Pocahontas,” “The Hunchback Of Notre Dame,” “Hercules,” “Mulan” & “Tarzan.” All films spanned from 1989-1999.
In 2010, Disney started a trend of live action remakes based on their signature animated films starting with Tim Burton’s “Alice In Wonderland.” Then more remakes came out including “Maleficent,” “The Jungle Book,” “Cinderella,” “Pete’s Dragon,” “Beauty & The Beast” & “Dumbo.” Some of them were good & some of them were downright stinkers. In 2016, two years after Robin Williams’ untimely death, Disney confirmed they’ve recruited Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes, Lock Shock & Two Barrels) to direct a remake of Aladdin. Disney later announced Will Smith has signed on to portray Genie. The reason he signed on is because he’s paying tribute to Robin’s iconic performance & Will wants to do his own take on the character, not a carbon copy.
Aladdin is out right now. So far critics have given it some positive reviews but some are quite opposite.
Another remake related to “Disney Renaissance” known as The Lion King, is slated to come out on July 19. Four days after my birthday. Don’t forget to mark your calendars!
For those who haven’t seen the original, there will be SPOILERS. Let’s face it, most of us 90’s Kids/90’s Babies grew up watching Aladdin with our parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles. If I were you, watch the animated classic, because it’s a requirement. If anybody who’s already seen the remake, feel free to read my article. Is the remake a legit flick or a dud? Well let’s find out shall we?
Pros & Cons
Pros: The Main Cast features Will Smith, Mena Massoud & Naomi Scott. They all did a good job for their respective performances from both acting & singing.
Fun Fact: Prior to Aladdin & his first voiceover role in “Shark Tale, Will almost played a blue character known as “Osmosis Jones.” He dropped out, due to scheduling conflicts with “Ali.” Chris Rock filled in his role. This will be the second time Will voicing a blue character in the upcoming film “Spies In Disguise.”
Will’s interpretation of Genie is based on his role as “Hitch.” A date doctor who teaches Kevin James to become a charismatic womanizer in order to win the girl of his dreams. Will also worked through motion capture to portray Genie’s blue form.
Guy Richie did an ok job for directing the remake. Besides directing, he also co-wrote the screenplay to bring important elements from the cartoon back on the silver screen.
Dan Lin (The LEGO Movie, The LEGO Batman Movie, It: Chapter 1) co-produced the film.
Action Sequences are solid. Some of them are in sync with Musical Numbers.
Disney veteran Alan Menken returned to orchestrate music for the remake.
Musical Numbers are retained including “Friend Like Me,” (my favorite) “Prince Ali” & the unforgettable Oscar winning song “A Whole New World.”
Humor had some good jokes which managed to give me a couple chuckles.
Costume Designs are updated to reflect the time period called, “Islamic Golden Age.”
Cinematography didn’t suffer from technical flaws.
Like the original, Aladdin’s introduction establishes his personality. He doesn’t need The Lamp, he’s capable of defending himself from danger.
Character Development involving Aladdin. He goes from a deceptive con artist, to a more honest person telling the truth by just being himself.
Both Aladdin & Jasmine’s backstories are mentioned. Thank god their own mother isn’t named Martha. Does “Batman Vs. Superman” ring any bells?
The Primary Theme for the remake & original is all about “being yourself.”
Chemistry between Aladdin & Jasmine felt ok.
Aladdin’s friendship with Genie serves as the main highlight for the remake. As Aladdin attempts to use his wishes and Genie’s advice to win the girl of his dreams.
Set Pieces were constructed by Gemma Jackson. Known for designing sets from “Game Of Thrones.”
Genie retains his “Fourth Wall Breaking.” It means you talk to the audience as in Ferris Buller.
Visual Effects have improved thanks to The Effects Team refurbishing Genie’s blue form after negative reactions on The Internet. I’m glad Genie’s blue form didn’t resemble Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as The Scorpion King in “The Mummy Returns.”
An Easter Egg references Disneyland attractions. Make sure you have a keen eye to spot.
A Dance Party (à la Hitch) is shown before The End Credits roll.
Cons: Unlike Jonathan Freeman’s legendary performance as Jafar in the animated version, Marwan Kenzari did a terrible job for his whiny performance. Jafar is supposed to be an intimidating man with a smooth yet ruthless personality who will do anything to become the ruler of Agrabah. Marwan voice is like getting hit in the groin, resulting in a girly voice. I can’t believe Marwan went to “The Hayden Christensen School Of Acting!” Marwan if you’re reading this, do me a favor and take some lessons at “The Lee Strasberg School Of Acting!” Good god! JP from “Grandma’s Boy” showed some emotion than Marwan!
I hate to say this fellas, Aladdin is an idiot who never realized Jafar left him for dead at The Cave Of Wonders. He doesn’t recognize his face. Is he blind like Stevie Wonder?
To put salt in the wound, Jafar never disguised himself as an old man to use Aladdin to retrieve The Lamp from the cartoon. First Aladdin, now Jafar is a dimwit!?
Alan Tudyk’s performance as Iago, felt stale. He isn’t on the same level as Gilbert Gottfried’s over-the-top loud mouth performance.
Jasmine’s musical number had nothing to do with the plot. Doesn’t changes anything about how she doesn’t want to be stuck with Jafar for the rest of her life. I think this song felt forced and was written by “The #MeToo Movement.” I have nothing against them, but this didn’t work out right.
A romantic subplot between Genie & Jasmine’s best friend Dalia was unnecessary. I didn’t feel their chemistry as a couple. Felt rushed.
The Final Verdict: B-
All I can say is Aladdin is just an average remake. It’s not a masterpiece like the original or elephant poop as in a recent remake known as “Dumbo.” At first, I was gonna give Aladdin a C. Upon putting every puzzle piece together, I realize it’s not an epic clunker. If you want to compare & contrast both original & remake, go ahead and give both of them a watch.
Next Disney movies I’m gonna see this Summer are Toy Story 4 & The Lion King. The former movie is the one I’m excited for the most. Other one will be a tough act to follow. So I’m putting my expectations to a realistic level.