Disclaimer: (sort of, not really if you know the general story of Aladdin) This post has some spoilers in regards to the revamped flares added to the original story of Aladdin.
I recently saw the new Aladdin movie, Aladdin played by Mena Massoud, Jasmine played by Naomi Scott, and Genie played by the beloved Will Smith. The movie scored high on box office charts and earned over $130 million during its opening weekend. Fans of Aladdin and movie goers who were previously uninterested in the story loved it and gave it great reviews.
Personally, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic and a bit disappointed in the film. I think the graphics were great; the scenery was glorious, from shots of the vast desert to Genie’s parade introduction of Prince Ali, to Aladdin and Jasmine’s magical carpet ride over the city. These lived up to my expectations and memories of the animated film from 1992.
At first I was confused by Jasmine’s montage towards the end of the movie when Jafar ordered her to the dungeon; in the original film, I don’t recall Jasmine being sent to the dungeon. I remember Jafar ordering her to marry him immediately after becoming Sultan. However, half way into Jasmine’s song, I began to appreciate the lyrics. The message of newfound female empowerment resonated with me that wasn’t present in the 1992 movie. I think it’s important that Jasmine got to sing more songs in the 2019 version because many young girls will be exposed to the film and they will learn better than my generation did that women should be heard, whether it’s in the South Asian domestic sphere as Jasmine’s cultural role places her or in political settings as a female against male contenders.
Now for the part of the review that I’m dreading because I fear that haters will come for me, which really doesn’t have much negativity in its entirety. My only basis of this teensy weensy critique is that Robin Williams set the bar quite high as the voice of the original Genie. He just brought so much life to the storybook character and literally animated him. His expressions were unmatched by Will Smith and “Never Had a Friend Like Me” was just not the same to sing along to. I will forever miss the original Genie.💙
However, I do love me some Will Smith and I can say I appreciate the hip hop flare he added to the Genie’s character. The moves he busted out during “Never Had a Friend Like Me” were a fun twist and it was hilarious to see him make Aladdin break dance when Jasmine asked him to dance. I shipped Genie and Dalia when I saw that he was crushing on her and aw-ed so loud when I saw that he was the story-telling father to the two children on the boat with their mother. The new school pizzazz wasn’t bad at all; it was just different from Disney’s original film.
Overall, I would recommend the new Aladdin movie. I’m still not over the Genie’s real-life extravaganza of introducing Prince Ali to the city of Agrabah. It was the movie moment I didn’t know I was missing in my life. I would give it an 8 out of 10! Give it a watch and judge for yourself.