I was elated when the teaser for the Disney classic Aladdin was released. But when the trailer featuring Will Smith’s genie dropped, I got scared. You see when I was in grade school, my grandparents made me watch a classic film every Saturday night and there was this one film that stuck.
It is called “The Thief of Bagdad” (1940), a remake of “The Thief of Bagdad” (1924). Don’t get me wrong. This is a magical film and if I’m not mistaken Disney’s Aladdin was influenced by it; however, the Djinn played by Rex Ingram gave me nightmares. Seeing a blue Will Smith, reminded me of that BUT it did not stop me from watching my ultimate favourite Disney film and animated television series.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writers: John August, Guy Ritchie
A kind-hearted street urchin and a power-hungry Grand Vizier vie for a magic lamp that has the power to make their deepest wishes come true.
First, let me say that Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin (2019) keeps the spirit of the original Disney movie. And like any remake especially when it’s adapted into live-action there will be changes which are okay. In Aladdin’s (2019) case, the changes are fitting for the new audience and how society is now.
Honestly, I only have two things on my list of fitting changes and number one is Princess Jasmine. She is already a strong character to start with but she is fully-actualised in this version making her character even stronger. Bye the way, she also has her own song number which is very empowering all thanks actress Naomi Scott’s performance.
I also appreciate the addition of Dalia played by Nasim Pedrad. Dalia is the loyal handmaiden, confidante, and childhood friend of the princess. Every scene she’s in and line she delivers, she just shines and at the same time complement the other characters. It’s also worth mentioning that she’s responsible for most of the funniest interactions in the film!
And just because I only mentioned two changes and two characters doesn’t mean I didn’t like the others. They were all great and perfect for the roles but there are some that I seem to have expected a lot from.
For instance, Jafar whose animated version is real villain and Iago who is loud,conniving, sarcastic, sleazy, and the list goes on is the perfect duo. In the 2019 film, it is good that Marwan KenzariI who plays Jafar interpreted and presented the character differently. But towards the end I just wanted to see a far more menacing and selfish Jafar. I want to sense a great danger from this guy who sacrificed a lot get to where he is now. I did, however, appreciate Jafar’s little backstory. It contributed a lot to his character and to Aladdin’s as the latter decided not to drink from THAT cup!
Iago, on the other hand, is not Iago. We all know that Disney likes to present new people but Gilbert Gottfried is Iago. Sure, they may be leaning towards a more realistic approach where animals can’t talk but Gilbert Gottfried is Iago!
Moving on, Mena Massoud as Aladdin and Will Smith as Genie did great. They do have chemistry and it was fun watching them on screen especially during those song and dance numbers. I’m also relieved of Will Smith’s portrayal of Genie. Come on, it is quite difficult to fill Robin Williams’ shoes as Genie, right?
I’m glad Smith did well and that Genie was made to look human and interact with the people of the fabled city of Agrabah, city of flying carpets, soaring heroes, famous love ballads and more glitz and glamour than any other fictional city in the world.
Despite those, I still enjoyed Aladdin (2019) and will definitely re-watch it. And if in case they remake The Return of Jafar, I hope Jafar and Iago will be more cunning and evil unless, of course, Iago decides to turn over a new feather! IMDb 8/10