Since 2010, Disney has been on an epic quest to remake a lot of their animated movies into live-action. I assume they’re doing this for 3 reasons. (1) to make sweet, sweet cash, (2) to capitalize on nostalgia, and (3) to modernize their brand into something more politically acceptable [especially after the recent wave of people hating on “classic Disney” for being too straight, white, and not-actively-feminist].
For the most part, these re-makes aren’t good. The majority of them fail to meet the standards of the animated movie (and some of them aren’t even as well acted as the cartoons, which is super sad and awkward, when you think about it).
Let’s recap them!
2010 – Alice in Wonderland – 4/10, very bland, not good
2014 – Maleficent – 6/10, Disney is actively ashamed a man kissed a sleeping princess
2015 – Cinderella – 5/10, Disney has forgotten what made Cinderella likeable
2016 – The Jungle Book – 9/10, better than the animated version, would recommend
2016 – Alice Through the Looking Glass – 4/10, who thought time travel was a good plot?
2017 – Beauty and the Beast – 3/10, poorly acted, terrible singing, sub-plot (and sub-plot item) harm the story rather than improve it
2018 – Christopher Robin – 5/10, vaguely pointless
2019 – Dumbo – didn’t watch
And don’t worry, folks! We have more coming! The Lion King, Mulan – maybe even Treasure Planet, if we’re lucky!
So, did I think Aladdin would be good when I went to go see it? No. I did not. I figured it would mediocre when compared to the animated version. I figured they would shoehorn in a subplot that didn’t fit.
So, what happened in the movie?
The first song, Arabian Nights, was amazing.
It’s better than the original! Great way to start a movie.
Unfortunately, the movie goes down from here. It plays out almost the same as the animated movie, with a few changes. First off, Will Smith as the Genie is better than Robin Williams.
Will Smith is given more character in this movie. He has a love interest, he has more “bro” moments, and I liked his chemistry with Aladdin. Robin Williams was funny and great, but he was more of a comedian than a relatable character. This is just my personal preference, though. I could see people preferring Robin Williams.
Secondly, Jasmine wanting to be the sultan falls flat.
You read that right. Jasmine has a sub-plot of wanting to become the sultan. (The female term for sultan is sultana, just FYI. Disney couldn’t be bothered to look this up.)
While I think Jasmine would be more educated and suited for the job than Aladdin, this plot wasn’t expanded enough to do it justice. As it stood, it was so ham-fisted into the movie that it felt like an afterthought. Additionally, Jasmine has a new song (Speechless) which, while sung nicely, actually interrupts the whole damn movie so Jasmine can daydream about Thanos-snapping everyone out of existence.
Then the movie whiplashes back (the guards were never poofed!) and she’s just standing there with a goofy look on her face. Then she gives a speech, because I guess her own head-singing motivated her, and Jaffar promptly stops her via magic.
It’s… so awkward.
Lastly, I wasn’t a fan of the humor. Lots of jokes replied on awkward setups, stilted dialogue, and constantly bringing up jams. I didn’t find it amusing, and at some points I felt embarrassed for the people who made the movie rather than the characters.
One last thing. I enjoyed the ending of the animated version. I loved the giant snake fight, the evil palace, and the dark color set. It’s still my favorite part of the movie, to be frank.
This live-action version doesn’t have any of that. No snake. No real fight. Just a chase scene (which should have been ended the second anyone got the lamp, wtf). It’s a bright afternoon during the whole sequence – everything is so happy looking that it pulls down the atmosphere the animated version had.
Overall, the Aladdin movie wasn’t terrible.
If you liked the animated movie, you’ll probably like this too. If you’ve never seen the animated movie, you’ll probably REALLY like this. It has some cute moments, I liked the inclusion of the handmaiden, and Will Smith is an excellent actor.