What to know about Disney’s Aladdin in 2019
I’m re-listening to the Aladdin soundtrack for the live action movie as I write this. Aladdin is in my top three favourite Disney movies – I wrote about it back in 2015. I will be honest, I had my expectations a little low for this Disney reboot mainly because Aladdin sits close and dear to my heart and I didn’t want to be disappointed. I would re-watch the original several times a day; played the Gameboy game over and over and always watched the animated cartoon series after school.
Was I disappointed by the 2019 retelling of Aladdin? No. Was it perfect? No. Did it do the original justice and simply blew me away in some parts? YES! I’m going to write about some of them here which I think are important to know.
Princess Jasmine reigns supreme
Naomi Scott stole the entire show! She really was the shining star and I loved how she brought Jasmine to life. Not only that, but Jasmine finally received the spotlight she deserved with a fitting story arc and one of the best songs about female empowerment that Disney has released. Jasmine deserved every moment of character development she received and it made me emotional because she’s a truly phenomenal character within the Disney Princess lineup. Thank you Naomi for doing her justice! Lastly, I adored the addition of Dalia as her handmaiden – it was nice to see the cute friendship between the two.
I’ve definitely found a new respect for Mena because he does embody the charm that Aladdin has. He was fitting to bring his entire personality to life, but sadly his singing left me wishing for more. I blame the fact that I know the original Aladdin like the back of my hand and the OST is one I listen to often, so trying to reach that standard isn’t easy – let’s not forget the Broadway musical to add to the mix. With all that said, I’m more than happy with his great portrayal and he’s won a new fan!
Genie was a gem
Was I one of the people that questioned if Will Smith could do justice to Genie? Yes, and not because I compared him to Robin Williams – it’s not fair to do a direct comparison between talents. I just wasn’t sure how they’d treat the recreation of such an iconic character. Well, Will Smith delivered and some of my favourite scenes from the movie was a result of him Will and Mena definitely worked well together and there were many times I felt emotional seeing the two of them together because it touched my heart as a fan of the original.
Where was Jafar?
I hate to say this because I understand the work and effort that goes into such a production… but what happened to Jafar? I can understand the appeal of Marwan Kenzari. I truly do… but Jafar is a menacing, evil and eerie villain who should have still had those traits. He was much older and creepy in the original, whereas in the live action he’s handsome and lacks the aura of power. Also, how dare Disney remove his only song, Prince Ali (the reprise). Disappointing.
The music took me a moment. I listened to it a day before the pre-screening and I couldn’t get into it. Once I watched the movie I found the appreciation for it. Speechless, A Whole New World, Arabian Nights, Friend Like Me and One Jump Ahead are my favourites. The detail in this movie is wonderful and I love the colours – everything is simply stunning. The animals (mainly Abu and Rajah) and Magic Carpet stole my heart! All three of them were amazingly “brought to life”! Lastly, I still question the choice of Guy Ritchie directing this – sigh.
Should you watch the Aladdin 2019 live action remake? The answer is yes of course, but don’t go in to compare it to what we know and love. Rather enjoy it as a standalone offering and you will leave happy! At the end of the day, this is not a one-to-one comparison, it’s meant to be a re-imagining with a new generation to speak to too. At the core, they paid respect to a classic and truly did a wonderful job.