Aladdin Movie Review: It’s Not a ‘Whole New World’


Aladdin recently joined an increasingly long list of Disney classic animated movies that have been adapted into live-action films, and this Friday, you can take a magic carpet ride with the live-action Aladdin when it hits a theater near you. This live-action version is based on the classic 1992 Disney cartoon we all fell in love with as kids, with a bit of flair that the Broadway musical brought.

As you prepare yourself to fall in love with the story of Aladdin, Jasmine, and Genie all over again, go into this movie reminding yourself that it is no longer that childhood cartoon you fell in love with. While there are parts that are direct copies of the movie, songs you know and love - there are also additional musical numbers as well. I found these additional musical numbers to be oddly timed, especially when Jasmine breaks out into what appears to be a rap music video (you’ll understand when you see it).

When it was announced that there would be a live-action Aladdin, I was beyond excited. I mean remember how amazing Beauty and the Beast turned out to be? Then the cast was revealed, and I learned that Will Smith would be playing the Genie - that’s a big lamp to fill since Robin Williams had more energy and piazza in that role. Will Smith brings a unique kind of flair to the Genie’s musical numbers, however, the success of said flair is up for debate. In all honesty, I did not like Will Smith as the Genie - at all. No, it’s not because of the fact I love Robin Williams so much, I did go see the Broadway production when it was in Detroit and loved Michael James Scott as the Genie - now he brought some serious flair. From the start, I just wasn’t in love with how Smith portrayed the Genie, and as the movie went on I disliked him more and more. With the Genie having such a large role in Aladdin it definitely made it hard for me to like the movie. I mean honestly when beatboxing starts in Friend Like Me I was done - and I love beatboxing, but in Aladdin, it made no sense what so ever.

Since Agrabah is a made up country, this gives Disney the creative freedom to go above and beyond - and they did… maybe a little too far. Agrabah featured a mash-up of several Middle Eastern cultures, and there was even an out of place Bollywood musical act thrown into the mix. When seeing the movie pay close attention to the outfits and architecture - it’s gorgeous.

In the end, this is a remake, it’s a story that has already been told before and has been told better. The live-action version definitely has some spotty CGI, that offered some awkward scenes. I definitely cannot say that it is better than its 1992 animated predecessor or the Broadway Musical.

Hitch a ride on the magic carpet when Aladdin flies into theaters May 24, 2019!

Who Plays Who: 

Will Smith as the Genie

Mena Massoud as Aladdin

Naomi Scott as Jasmine

Marwan Kenzari as Jafar

Navid Negahban as the Sulton

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