Aladdin is one of my most favorite animated films ever. So when they announced the live action remake, I was immediately cautiously optimistic. Of course, I was thrilled and could not wait to see it, but the longtime fan in me was nervous. What if they messed it up? Was it necessary to remake it? And most importantly – would I like it? Well read on an honest review, from a HUGE Aladdin fan.
Will Smith as Genie
I am going to be honest here, Will Smith as Genie was one of the things I was most concerned about as I watched the trailers. There was something REALLY off about him the first time we saw him, but it got progressively better (in my opinion).
Perhaps walking in to the movie with lower expectations on the Genie is why I liked him so much? I am not sure. But it worked for me. Like really worked for me. I love me some Will Smith so I was excited about the announcement when he was first cast. But like I said, as we saw clips and trailers, I started to get nervous.
When I say he blew me out of the water in this, I mean he BLEW ME OUT OF THE WATER. He was so good. Really good. His singing, his acting…. his everything. His banter with Aladdin when they first enter the palace had me laughing so hard I started crying.
What Is Up With Jafar?
From the first time I saw him, I knew that Disney dropped the ball on Jafar. He is too young, not creepy enough and just… no. The question was – will this ruin my viewing experience of the whole movie? The answer, no.
Not only was Jafar too young, he felt whiny throughout most of the film. He just didn’t seem menacing at all. More like “I am going to powerful because I deserve it. Listen to me. WAH!“. Almost like a small child throwing a tantrum. However, it is easy enough to get past. And he wasn’t as bad as expected. So there is that.
I wouldn’t blame the actor. It was more the fact that he was just too young and not creepy enough. He just wasn’t Jafar.
Which brings me to Iago. Oh Iago. Disney really dropped the ball on him. All he really did was copy things other people said. I know he is a parrot but you don’t have to take it that literally. I missed the fun banter that Jafar and Iago have in the original. But again, this was something I could see past. It did not ruin the film for me by any means.
The Musical Numbers
The musical numbers had me tapping my toes and singing along. There were a few changes to lyrics, but they made sense and I actually really liked them. I was nervous about Friend Like Me, but Will Smith absolutely killed it. I might even go so far as to say that is my favorite version of the song. MIGHT.
Prince Ali and A Whole New World can only be described as stunning, magical, and downright brilliant. Disney did a great job choosing the cast because they all have a set of pipes on them. The singing was almost flawless throughout the whole movie.
Oh and for the record, I am downloading the soundtrack right now.
Jasmine’s New Song – Speechless
I get that Disney had to spice things up and add a new song. I really do. But the soundtrack is already the most perfect kids movie soundtrack ever (yes I had the cassette tape, yes I played it on repeat until it broke, yes I bought a second copy), so I was nervous about this addition.
Did it work? Yes and no. The first time we hear it, it wasn’t the best. It seemed a little out of place and I wasn’t a fan. The second time we hear it, I wasn’t a fan of what was going on around Jasmine as she sang. But what she did (really what she said) after she finished singing made me want to stand up in the theater and start clapping.
It was really powerful…and my 7 year old says it is her favorite song from Aladdin now. So was it perfect? No. Was it necessary? Definitely not. Will I listen to it again – likely over and over – and start to really enjoy it? Most certainly yes.
The Addition of Jasmine’s Handmaiden
One of the major changes to the story line had to do with the addition of Jasmine’s handmaiden, Dalia. I have to be honest here, before seeing the movie I was not thrilled with this. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Wrong. I was wrong.
She was a perfect addition. Nasim Pedrad had me rolling. She was phenomenal in her role. I am so glad they they added her. And honestly, I think the next time I watch the animated version, I will find myself missing her character.
OK for Kids?
My daughters and I have watched the animated Aladdin more times than I can count. It is my favorite Disney animated film after all. So I assumed this live action would be fine for them. And I was right.
If you have a particularly jumpy kid, it might be too much for them? But honestly the majority of children over 5 should be fine to see it. Toward the end there are a couple parts that MIGHT make younger kids a little on edge? And I mean young kids – like 4 and under.
However, this really is not my expertise, as my kids watched Avengers: Infinity War — but my friend over at Lola Lambchops wrote up a whole article focusing on is Aladdin kid friendly. So check out her Aladdin review if you have concerns. I trust her opinions.
This version of Aladdin was the perfect (yes PERFECT) combination of the original animated film and something new. Yes, it was the same story. Sure, they changed it a teeny tiny bit for 2019 (and it worked). The actors were, for the most part, chosen perfectly (still feel like they missed the mark with Jafar). Nasim Pedrad’s character of Dalia was a welcome addition to the story line.
Of course we knew pretty much everything that was going to happen. And if you were paying any kind of attention, you knew the one (very small) twist at the end was coming. Which, for the record, I loved. Pretty much my only complaint here is Jafar and Iago. Maybe a little bit of Speechless, but overall, I am OK with that.
If you are a Disney fan, you must see the live action Aladdin. If you loved the original – take a chance on this version. Do you trust me? You should.