The 2019 Memorial Day weekend was indeed memorable. While we honored, remembered, and thanked all the men and women who have served and serve our country bravely, we also had a movie date to look forward to. The live-action movie of Disney’s Aladdin premiered over the weekend and we were there!
For all, the now, adults that grew up in the 90s watching classic Disney movies, the 1992 animated movie is probably in their top three movies of that decade. Who didn’t dream about having a genie, a magic carpet and a monkey as best friends?
They say remakes rarely ever live up to the expectations of the originals; however, the 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin was everything we expected and more. From women empowerment to an African American genie, this movie gave us a whole new world.
Many were rooting for the movie to be a fail for two reasons, one Guy Ritchie was directing it. This film genre is not Richie’s forte, we are accustomed to his crime films, and that was something a lot of Disney fans didn’t quite like. And two, fans were skeptical about Will Smith playing the iconic blue genie, whose voice in the original movie was played by the late Robin Williams. But let me tell you something, both Ritchie and Smith beautifully pulled it off.
This time, Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is not the only diamond in the rough, though Massoud did a great job. Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) is definitely the protagonist as she plays a very important role. In this movie, her main goal is to rule Agrabah, so she convinces her papa to break the tradition so that she can become Sultan (I bet nobody saw that one coming) and she gives herself the freedom to marry Aladdin by abolishing the old-fashioned marriage law. How is that for a twist? The expansion of Princess Jasmine character was definitely a highlight for a change.
Another storyline that was expanded on was the genie. It only took 27 years, but we finally find out what happened after he is set free from the lamp. Yes, I was that annoying kid that wanted to know what the genie’s life looked like as a human. So for me, this was I pleasant surprise. I won’t spoil it for you just in case you haven’t seen it, but I can tell you that Smith’s performance is entertaining and he definitely applied his comedy skills to the max in this one.
Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) on the other hand, wasn’t the villain I was expecting and remembered from the original. For starters, Kenzari looks way too young to play the experienced, malicious old man and Grand Vizier of Agrabah. In the original picture, he was to be afraid of, but in this one, he is just weak.
The costumes are marvelous and the sets are carefully crafted. Agrabah was definitely brought to life. From the palace to the bazaar to Aladdin’s “home” everything was on point.
Die-hard fans always demand loyalty over creative changes because they fear the essence of the original story, that captivated their hearts, will change. However, I believe that the add-ons, twist, and changes, gave the movie a breath of fresh air for the new generations by touching upon current issues societies face around the world and turning it down a notch with the fantasy overload.
In my opinion, the film deserves four stars out of five. The three leads performance was astounding, the visuals were divine, and the music galore is marvelous. But Jafar’s weak performance disappointed me, and the overly dramatic scene where they introduced the song “Speechless” was not necessary. I mean we get the point about women’s empowerment and granted the new song is clearly a signature of this new version, plus it has a great message; however, the scene just felt redundant.
Nevertheless, the film is awesome, funny, heartfelt, and worthy of making us relive our childhood with a breeze of nostalgia all around.
By Cynthia Paola Bautista