A review/critique of Disney’s 2019 Aladdin, and thoughts on Disney live action adaptations.

I recently saw the new Aladdin in theaters, and my overall impression was, “Underwhelming.” The movie was about what I expected, as I must admit that I’m quite the cynic and went into the theater with a disappointed predisposition. This movie is a lesser version of its original 1992 animated counterpart, for sure. However, the new Aladdin isn’t terrible. I was still somewhat entertained, even through the occasional cringe.

Picture taken from the Walt Disney Studios official Aladdin 2019 trailer

Acting

A lot of the acting performances didn’t really land for me. In the beginning, Aladdin is supposed to come off as confident and cool, but he actually came across as kind of a creep.

Another bad performance was showcased in the scene where Genie and Aladdin meet for the first time. What was supposed to be an epic introduction of the ever-charismatic Genie was actually a confrontation so awkward that these characters could have been middle-schoolers. During this scene, Genie and Aladdin’s interactions seemed disingenuous and off. Then, in the following scene, which is Genie’s intro song, “Friend Like Me,” Will Smith does a good job, but I think that he should have been able to make the performance his own rather than trying to imitate Robin Williams.

Picture taken from the Walt Disney Studios official Aladdin 2019 trailer

I will say that when Will Smith was allowed to be Will Smith, his performance was great. He was charismatic, funny, and a true entertainer.

Music

“One Jump,” my favorite song from the original Aladdin, was butchered. The song was slowed down and the singers kept singing some words purposely off-beat, which was a common theme throughout a lot of the songs in the movie.

Message

There was also a feminist message thrown into the plot, but Disney did what it always does with political messages and watered it down to make it digestible for all audiences. It isn’t so much that I mind, as it’s better than not including a message at all, but I’m not going to pat them on the back for it or anything.

Main Takeaway

There are plenty more critiques that I could make about the movie, but my main one is that it was almost exactly like the animated predecessor, only significantly worse. The great thing about animation is that the possibilities are endless. The same is not true for live action, and a lot of the magic and life gets lost in the process. Animals can’t convey emotion quite the same (I’m looking at you, The Lion King), and the theatrics can never match their animated counterparts, which leads me to my point: I don’t see any good reason to ever have a live action remake to an iconic animated film.

In my experience, I’m always disappointed when I see live action remakes. They are never better or even at the same level of quality as the originals. In addition to this, remakes normally do not go out of their way to say anything different than what was already said by their original inspirations. I don’t think this new Aladdin was necessary, and I don’t think any other live action remakes are necessary either. I’m not a fan of the direction Disney has taken in the way of making live action remakes of already amazing animated films. I mean, I get why they do it. It’s easy. The story is already there. The audience is already built in as well, because it’s likely that if you are fan of the original movie, nostalgia is going to bring your butt to the theater.

In any case, those were my opinions about the new Aladdin, as well as live action remakes. I would love to hear your opinions, as well!

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