A Whole New World of Aladdin Magic!

When Disney's Aladdin released in 1992, I was just 8 years old and can still remember the excitement  experiencing the film as a child.  The songs, the animation, and most of all - the Genie!  Fast forward 27 years and I'm back in theaters, but this time as a mom to a 7 year old and 4 year old who are certainly not strangers to the story of Aladdin, but can see it told in a new way as Disney brings to life the live action remake of Aladdin.  The live action remakes that Disney has been doing for several years now tend to either hit it big with fans or be a big letdown from the original.  So what would be the case for our 2019 version of Aladdin?? First, let's look at what we knew from Walt Disney Studios before going into theaters:

A thrilling and vibrant live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic, “Aladdin” is the exciting tale of the charming street rat Aladdin, the courageous and self-determined Princess Jasmine and the Genie who may be the key to their future. Directed by Guy Ritchie, who brings his singular flair for fast-paced, visceral action to the fictitious port city of Agrabah, “Aladdin” is written by John August and Ritchie based on Disney’s “Aladdin.” The film stars Will Smith as the Genie; Mena Massoud as Aladdin; Naomi Scott as Jasmine; Marwan Kenzari as Jafar; Navid Negahban as the Sultan; Nasim Pedrad as Dalia and Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders.

“Aladdin” is produced by Dan Lin, p.g.a., and Jonathan Eirich, p.g.a., with Kevin De La Noy and Marc Platt serving as executive producers. Eight-time Academy Award®-winning composer Alan Menken provides the score, which includes new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Oscar®-winning lyricists Howard Ashman and Tim Rice and includes two new songs written by Menken and lyrics by Oscar and Tony Award®-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

I was so excited to experience this film with the whole family, but have to admit that I was a bit nervous as critics weren't always kind when reviewing the film.  Big questions loomed going into the film.  How would Will Smith compare to Robin Williams as the Genie?  Was all the CGI going to take away from the film's authenticity?  Would the singing hold up to the original classics?  I have to say, I see why some of the critics raised an eyebrow as there were parts of the movie that didn't grab me, but overall I walked away enjoying the movie and would recommend it to Disney lovers everywhere.


Let's start with what didn't work for me.  I thought the first part of the film went by slow - like really slow.  The first few songs were lackluster performances in my opinion.  Will Smith opened singing Arabian Nights and it felt more like a lullaby then an opening song to draw the audience in while the whole One Jump Ahead number felt "fake" for lack of a better way of putting it.  I can't quite put my finger on it, but it just all seemed to be falling flat.  I wasn't feeling the chemistry between Aladdin and Jasmine at this point and was starting to wonder if I was going to get excited about the movie at all.  I was holding out hope for the Genie to turn things around for me so I was eagerly awaiting Aladdin's arrival to the Cave of Wonders.

The Genie was the turning point in the movie for me and things fell into place during the second half.  First, Will Smith nailed the Genie.  Was he Robin Williams?  No, but he wasn't trying to be - which is why it worked.  He made the Genie is own character - with his own style, his own swagger, and his own attitude - and I LOVED every minute of it!  Prince Ali was my favorite musical number in the whole movie - from the scenery to the arrangement of the music, I found it hard to sit still in my seat and was simply blown away by Will Smith's performance during that song.  It even seemed like Aladdin and Jasmine hit their stride in the second part of the movie as I felt that they connected more here than in the beginning.  Naomi Scott is a beautiful and strong Jasmine.  Her singing is on point and the new number, Speechless, is fabulous towards the end of the film.  And her wardrobe - I'll take every outfit, please!  I also enjoyed some of the revisions to the original story.  Without spoiling some of the surprises for those of you that haven't seen it yet, Jasmine has a hand maiden, Dalia, who is entertaining and carries her own mini-storyline with the Genie during the film.  There's also a revision to Genie's freedom which is even more heartwarming than vacation Genie at the end of the cartoon.  And Jasmine exudes girl power as a princess who not only wants to marry who she wants, but also desires to rule Agrabah with a fierce passion that wasn't in the original.  By the end credits, I was literally dancing in the theater along with the characters on screen and had a big smile on my face.  Give this one time - it will grow on you!

Looking for more Aladdin fun to share with the whole family?  Download the Family Activities from Walt Disney Studios to enjoy for FREE which includes mazes, games, coloring pages, and so much more!  You can also follow the magic on the social media changes below:

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1 comment:

  1. I couldn’t agree more! I would redo the first 35 minutes but once Genie comes in the whole vibe and flow changed for the better. I didn’t love it but I liked it a lot!