Video: Aladdin (2019)

Review

Aladdin is a movie that is very easy for it to not work. It should not work as a live action movie. You have so many things that could very easily look absurd! It’s challenging to pull off because you have so much magical elements throughout the entire story that are hard to make look right. You have a genie, a flying carpet, a cave that erupts, talking animals, crazy fast paced songs that require immense energetic choreography- almost any scene in this movie is no easy task to direct. Luckily, the film is brought to life by an astounding production design.

Disney is not cheap at all- they really value Aladdin, it’s one of their renaissance era babies and you can tell that they did not care how much it cost to make this thing look right- there is so much CGI and typically that can be a bad thing but it is integrated so beautifully well with the live-action that it is honestly eye candy to see Agrabah come to life. The production design and special effects are commendable and are a big reason why Aladdin works so smoothly.

In case for whatever reason you don’t know the plot of this movie, Aladdin, portrayed by Meenuh Muh-sood, falls in love with Princess Jasmine, played by Naomi Scott. However, he’s conflicted as the Princess can only marry a prince. By using a magical genie whose Will Smith, Aladdin goes on an exciting adventure where he learns about being true to who you are. Marwan Kenzari is Antagonist Jafar who tries to steal the lamp from Aladdin in order to rule the world.

Aladdin has the same heart as the original- however, it is not a shot-for-shot remake. In an interview, Guy Ritchie explains that if there was an area they thought they could improve upon they would do that; if not, they would leave it alone. One big change made is introducing the audience to Jasmine a lot sooner than the cartoon, in fact we see the two interact right before Aladdin’s first song “One Jump Ahead”- I did like this change because it gave us more time to see Aladdin and Jasmine interact before “falling in love”.

Speaking of One Jump Ahead, this was probably the hardest song to pull off in terms of choreography because Aladdin is supposed to be running and singing at the same time. It looks very staged but once again going from cartoon to live-action, this was an expected challenge and I think that it’s fine overall. You get the point of what is happening and they included the classic song that fans want to hear.

I love the music- Friend Like Me is the CGI spectacle similar to Be Our Guest and Will Smith does great as genie. He looks as fine as I think you can make a genie look in real life. Prince Ali is another song that is impressive as the studio had over 1,000 dancers on this set. When you watch that scene it is no mere copy and pasting people. There are a ton of humans putting their entire heart into making this pretty outrageous song work.

A Whole New World is beautiful but not as quite gripping as the animation where that was actually my favorite song. In this, I’m going to say Friend Like Me was my favorite due to the immense amount of effects and Will Smith’s vocals.

Do you remember how the new song from the live-action Beauty and the Beast went? Neither do I. There’s a new uncatchy and forgettable song sung by Naomi Scott called Speechless that should have been cut. It wasn’t catchy whatsoever and ate away at the long over 2 hour running time. This film did not need to be more than two hours and it’s all due to the mediocre additions that have no large effect on the story.

There’s a new character whose a friend to Jasmine named Dahlia that I did not care too much for but her ultimate purpose (which I will not spoil) was fitting and gave a nicer conclusion to one of the other characters in the film.

There are some cheesy lines and actions that take place in this movie and if you aren’t forgiving this might bother you more than it did myself- to me, this is a children’s fantasy movie that is expected to have some things that sound and look a bit weird.

I think kids will be wildly entertained by the fast paced fantasy plot and adults who grew up with Aladdin like myself will admire the attempt to bring a classic to life. If you weren’t a fan of the original, this movie is not changing your mind and you can skip it altogether.

While I did thoroughly enjoy the 2019 take on Aladdin the 1992 classic will always be my favorite. It’s shorter, a bit tighter on the pacing, Robin Williams performance is unmatched despite me really enjoying Will Smith, and the cartoon makes the silly lines feel less weird because the fully animated medium reminds you that it’s a kids’ movie. Maybe the live action is better and I’m just being nostalgic but I truly do think a classic will always be better than a reimagining of that classic.

Aladdin is a spectacular family fantasy movie that both kids and adults who loved the classic will admire the production efforts put into reimagining this ambitious fairytale.

Final Verdict:Aladdin is a spectacular family fantasy movie that both kids and adults who loved the classic will admire the production efforts put into reimagining this ambitious fairytale.
Rating:B+