In the fall of 1992, Walt Disney Pictures released the animated feature film “Aladdin.” Based on the Arabic folk tale “One Thousand and One Nights,” the film went on to become the highest-grossing film of the year, as well as have an animated series, two direct to video sequels, and a Broadway adaptation. And like everything in this world, it’s time that to remake the classic Disney film that made an estimated $504 million in the box office because of money.
A Whole New World
“Aladdin” was directed in Guy Ritchie (“Snatch,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “One of Madonna’s ex-husbands”). Guy also wrote the screenplay with John August (“Charlie’s Angels,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”). Like stated and mocked above, this is a remake. While I wouldn’t call it a modern retelling, it is a different version of the movie that we have gotten. There’s a lot of what we loved about the original film, as well as some updated elements that help add more depth to the story.
Mena Massoud (“Jake Ryan”) stars as the title character Aladdin, a young thief from the right side of the tracks that end up falling for Princess Jasmine, played by Namoi Scott (“Saban’s Power Rangers,” upcoming reboot of “Charlie’s Angels”). Aladdin gets trapped in the cave of wonder after Jafar, Marwan Kenzari (“Ben-Hur,” “The Mummy,” the remake king), send him in after Aladdin meets the Genie, Will Smith (“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Men In Black”), and the Genie helps him try to win over Princess Jasmine’s heart before Jafar’s master plan comes into light.
Honestly, this movie isn’t horrible. It’s not the most magnificent remake in the world, especially went it’s compared to the source material. “Aladdin” is overall little over two hours and ten minutes or 128 minutes. 1992 “Aladdin” is about an hour and a half, or 90 minutes. That’s about 38 minutes longer than it needs to be. I get that it’s different when it comes to live-action vs. animated. If they could have chopped off 10-15 minutes, then it wouldn’t have dragged toward the end. Most of that is more depth in parts to add to the plot. Some of that does work, but a lot of it doesn’t work. It just feels out of place and drags the movie.
The acting in the movie is excellent. Everyone in the film does an excellent job as portraying the characters. I’m not a big fan of Will Smith as the Genie, but that was always going to be a hard act to follow. I’m also sad that Gilbert Gottfried didn’t reprise his role as Iago, but it works as Iago didn’t have that big of a function like in the animated works. The music in the film is also well done. It’s all the songs from the original movie, plus one new song that honesty is everything. Mena, Naomi, and Marwan are the ones that shine the most in their roles.
Production-wise, this is a beautifully shot and produced film. Some of the directing is a little wonky at times, but you can look past it at how they brought this film to life. Parts of it was produced in Jordan, and those deserts scenes are what really make it feel like “Aladdin.” The CGI is okay but for a Disney film in 2019, it could have and should have been better.
“Aladdin” isn’t a bad movie; if you didn’t know it was a remake, it would be a fun Disney movie. As a remake, “Aladdin” doesn’t stack up to what we got with the “Beauty and the Beast” remake. While I appreciate them trying to add to the overall plot and story of “Aladdin,” the changes don’t do anything for the movie. I do recommend checking out the film, because like I said, it’s a good movie on its own merits. But as a remake of a beloved classic, it falls short of being in the same class.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
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