The live-action remake of Aladdin had some pretty big shoes to fill. The original animated film contributed to the second golden age of animation and helped revitalize the animation studio. The animated film has been used countless times in Disney Parks as part of parades, fireworks spectacular, and attractions.
I thoroughly enjoyed Guy Richie’s version of Aladdin. It combines great music and story with comedy for an overall great theatrical experience. It followed the same overall story as the animated film with its own unique twists. It was also very funny and kept the audience laughing.
This version has its own identity with more hip-hop inspiration which comes across in Will Smith’s performance and some of the songs. Most versions of Disney’s Aladdin make reference to pop culture in one way or another, so I think it makes sense that the 2019 version draws on current musical trends. It paid homage to the animated film without feeling like a scene for scene remake. If you pay close attention, you’ll find some easter eggs from the 1992 film and Disney Parks.
Aladdin, Jasmine, and the Genie
Mena Massoud and Will Smith make a great duo and compliment each other nicely. Will Smith makes the Genie his own by adding his hip-hop style. It was a little weird seeing the CGI blue Will Smith Genie, but he spends most of the film disguised as a human, so it’s not that big of a deal.
Naomi Scott was excellent as Jasmine. She has a beautiful voice which is on full display in her performance of A Whole New World. She shines belting out her lines in Speechless. This might be the first time Disney has cast someone as a princess that can handle both the acting and singing required. Sorry, Emma Watson.
Aladdin’s Songs and Score
Alan Menken, Disney Legend and songwriter for the animated Aladdin, was back again for the remake. The songs are pretty much the same as the original with the addition of Jasmine’s Speechless. The performances of the songs felt larger-than-life and fitting for the big screen. I enjoyed Friend Like Me, Prince Ali, and A Whole New World, but some of the visuals of One Jump Ahead and Speechless seemed like an odd choice and more fitting for a music video than a film.
The score was also very well done (I have found myself listening to it more than once since seeing the film). The score features music from songs in the film as well as some references to the Broadway version.
Overall, the movie was a fun time at the theater and I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. If you’re a fan of the original, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Aladdin is well worth your time and money.