Aladdin Review — ‘WILL’ you Love it? 1

Let me start this Aladdin Review the same way most people will: I absolutely LOVED the original version of Aladdin. It was probably one of my most watched VHS tapes while growing up.

It was *the* movie that defined my love for Disney films as a child. I was pretty ‘nervocited’ going into this updated, live-action version of the film.

No one could ever hold a “lamp” to the nearly perfect 1992 Aladdin. I definitely went into this thinking, “Guy Ritchie, please don’t ruin one of my all-time favorite films!”

I’ll admit it, I was a lot more skeptical about this movie than I have been about other photorealistic remakes. In huge part, it was because of those awful trailers.

Friends, I am happy to report that I absolutely LOVED the live-action version of Aladdin — and I’m pretty sure you ‘WILL’ too! This new version is perfect for the entire family.

Mena Massoud is Aladdin in Disney's live-action ALADDIN, Directed by Guy Ritchie.
Mena Massoud is Aladdin in Disney’s live-action ALADDIN, directed by Guy Ritchie.

It is a colorful, grand spectacle for little ones and the perfect magic carpet ride for adults. I was definitely transported back to my youth in a whole new way. And boy, what a ride it was! Was it as great as the 1992 original? Absolutely not. Did it bring me immense joy? YES.

It was funny.
It was fresh.
It was moving.
It was a visual masterpiece.
And because I know you’re waiting for it…Will Smith KILLED it as the Genie.

Although the movie stays pretty true to the original, there were still some awesome, new LOL moments — mostly courtesy of the Genie!

“Just Be Yourself”

Guys, I absolutely love Will Smith. I’ve been a huge fan of Smith’s for as long as I can remember, but I was pretty worried about his portrayal of Aladdin’s Genie. This is such a huge role.

It may be the most ANIMATED of all roles in Disney history. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that photo-realizing Aladdin’s Genie was likely one of Disney’s most daunting live-action adaptations yet!

As someone who works in social media, it was hard to stay away from the astounding amount of hate surrounding Smith’s casting as the Genie. However, I always felt that Smith was the *ONLY* person who could ever handle this role.

If anyone could do Robin Williams justice, it would be Will Smith.

Will Smith is Genie in Disney's live-action ALADDIN, directed by Guy Ritchie.
Will Smith is Genie in Disney’s live-action ALADDIN., directed by Guy Ritchie.

I was thrilled to see him in a comedic role again. His BIG persona definitely suits the “larger-than-life” Genie.

It was obvious how much passion, research and love he put into his role — he truly humanized the Genie, in the most beautiful and splendid of ways.

I love that they kept “just be yourself” in this version of Aladdin, because that is exactly what Smith did. He was truly himself and made the role his own. He didn’t try to imitate Williams. Smith based the Genie on his own brand, which so many of us already know and love. He kept it fresh and funky, exactly as I expected him to do.

Robin Williams would be so very proud.

“I won’t be silenced! You can’t keep me quiet!”

A big surprise for me in this film was Naomi Scott’s Jasmine. Naomi can sing, y’all! I was blown away. But that’s not the only reason she impressed me…

Naomi’s Jasmine is resilient, determined, and stubborn…yet soft. She’s exactly the kind of Princess I want my girls to see as a “role model.” She knows what she wants and she goes for it! Jasmine relentlessly pursues her goals, always knowing she’s “meant for more.”

Jasmine doesn’t just voice her opinion — she makes sure it is heard. She will never go Speechless.

1992’s Aladdin was all about Aladdin finding the courage to be his true, unabashed self. 2019’s Aladdin maintains that original arc, but also adds Jasmine finding the courage to stand up for herself, and for the man she truly loves.

She’s not looking for permission to go after Aladdin. She’s looking to prove herself a worthy leader, and a woman strong enough to make her own choices when it comes to love and marriage.

Jasmine’s updated arc stays true to the original character and what made her so beloved, yet her story is not entirely reliant on Aladdin’s any longer.

Aladdin makes her stronger, but she is strong without him.

Naomi Scott is Jasmine in Disney's live-action ALADDIN.
Naomi Scott is Jasmine in Disney’s live-action ALADDIN.

“Speechless”, a new song performed by Naomi, is one of the many things this new version of Aladdin definitely ‘got right.’

In my opinion, Jasmine’s “Speechless” is the greatest female empowerment anthem since Elsa’s “Let it Go”. Speechless is Jasmine’s reply to Jafar’s “its better to be seen and not heard” — and it is glorious.

Listen to it here:

What I Didn’t Like about 2019’s ‘Aladdin’

Jafar. There, I said it.

I didn’t like Marwan Kenzari as Jafar. I’ve always thought of Jafar as one of Disney’s greatest, and most menacing, villains. I was terrified of Jafar growing up!

Marwan Kenzari is Jafar in Disney's live-action ALADDIN, directed by Guy Ritchie.
Marwan Kenzari is Jafar in Disney’s live-action ALADDIN, directed by Guy Ritchie.

In this updated version of Aladdin, Jafar is more of a whiny brat than he is a menacing villain. Jonathan Freeman’s Jafar was dry, evil, and twisted — yet humorous. Kenzari’s…not so much.

Jasmine being so much stronger in this version, further complicates things for Kenzari, who lacks the imposition, menace and stature of Freeman’s Jafar.

Sadly, it’s hard to see him as a villain at all. It never truly seemed as if Aladdin was in danger — and with a stronger Jasmine by his side, Jafar never stood a chance.

His voice is also far too high pitched for this role, which only makes him more annoying.

Final Thoughts

  • Don’t watch the trailers. The trailers did this amazing movie NO justice.
  • This movie truly pays homage to the 1992 Aladdin, with just the right amount of updating for modern audiences.
  • There is absolutely NO cursing and no innuendos in this movie. It is perfect for little ones!
  • Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. At times, it’ll seem like someone has pressed the “fast-forward” button during certain scenes. This is a Guy Ritchie thing, and one that if you can look past, can work to enhance the visual splendor of this movie.
  • There’s a new character in the movie — Dalia, Jasmine’s Handmaiden — and you are going to love her. She definitely made me laugh out loud more than once!

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