Aladdin basically repeats the exact story line from our animated favorite, yes, it’s true. But stay with me here – because I’m going to give you 5 reasons to go see this in the theater anyway. There are glorious parts that I think you’ll want to see and hear on the big screen if you are a die-hard Disney fan like I am. We are going to discuss rugs, Elsa moments and some other things to note as well. Fair warning, you may or may not find this review to be “spoiler free.” The story has been out since 1992, grossed more than $502 million at the global box office, and led to successful stage productions on Broadway and abroad as well as a North American touring company. Chances are as a Disney fan – you are familiar with the tale!
“Aladdin” opens in U.S. theaters nationwide May 24, 2019. My future daughter-in-law Kelsey and I attended the media screening on May 21, 2019.
The live-action versions of Mary Poppins, and even Dumbo – switched up the story so it was different from the animated versions. If you go looking for that again, you won’t see it.
Just the same, here is my list of Top 5 Reasons Disney Fans Should Go See Live-Action Aladdin:
#1 The opening song “Arabian Nights” ~ like you’ve never heard it before!
The film opens with a version of the song Arabian Nights – but this time – Will Smith is the singer! YES Will Smith is the Genie. I had trouble wrapping my brain around it before I saw the film. BUT, I think if you had any concerns about live-action Aladdin, especially anything Will Smith-related, they will vanish once that first big song kicks in. As a fan of Will’s work since way back in the day when he was “The Fresh Prince” … it’s safe to say that I have been jamming “Prince Willie Style” for a long time.
For Arabian Nights, I LOVED hearing his voice in full song. Our theater had the volume up pretty loud for the whole film, so it made it extra epic! I got chills hearing Will belt out to the swell of the music:
“Araabiaaan Niiiiiiii-i-i-ghts like Araaabiann Daaaays….”
You can just imagine.
“A Whole New World” and “Friend like Me” won Oscars back in 1992. Why did this one not get one too? “Arabian Nights” is fantastic, so if you enjoyed it in the animated film, I know you are getting me here. By the way, Will Smith as the Genie, did not try to get fancy with the tune or change the arrangement. You’re going to recognize it, it stays true to the classic.
Note how in parts of this film, Genie might remind you a bit of Will’s character in Hitch.
#2 The CAPTIVATING Magic Carpet
I read and saw as little as possible about this film in advance because I wanted to be surprised. I had no idea that the carpet made a splash and was overshadowing all this talk about Will Smith being the Genie – as early as February 2019. But wow, I totally get it now!! Keep your eyes on the carpet – he is CAPTIVATING!! The detail really presents itself on the big screen of a movie theater. I never knew I could get so excited about a rug.
Speaking of “rugs” Mena Massoud who plays Aladdin…bless his heart… what was going on with his hair in this film? Maybe it’s just me and the world that I live in. In case you hadn’t heard, I work with Peter Alden, who is a stunning and talented Elvis Presley Tribute Artist with his own natural and beautiful hair – in a time where even the really young “Elvis guys” wear wigs. I don’t know if Mena was wearing a wig, or if they straightened is hair in an effort to get it to look more like cartoon Aladdin. But the hair was distracting to me. I feel like they could have done better. Or even just left it alone. His natural hair is gorgeous. Go see this film on the big screen and tell me if you get what I am saying here.
#3 “Speechless” A Princess Anthem: Jasmine has an “Elsa” moment this time around!
I was so glad to hear Genie’s show-stopping familiar songs like”Friend Like Me” and the fantastic “A Whole New World.” The new live action remake of Aladdin brings to life brand new versions of all your favorite songs, but it also adds an all-new tune to the mix.
The courageous and self-determined Princess Jasmine is portrayed by Naomi Scott. Remember her? She used to be a Power Ranger. Go go Princess Jasmine! She has a thick British accent in real life – but she drops it and you totally forget about it during her role as Jasmine. During this film, she sings a new song called “Speechless.”
While watching this in the theater I thought to myself that surely they are trying to recapture the magic of “Let It Go” from Frozen. It really reminded me of that song and the whole Princess Elsa scene. Now that I am researching this whole thing, I have found that there is good reason for that.
The music is by original Aladdin composer, Alan Menken. Jasmine and her storyline with the desire to be free of the constraints of the palace and be recognized for her own abilities was major in the last film – but it’s given even more prominence in this one. The title of the song, “Speechless,” references the state that that those around Jasmine, like Jafar and her father, seem to want her to remain in. She, instead, wants to be able to speak her mind.
Does that sound a little like “Let It Go” to you?
I am from the (non-feminist) school of thought that Princesses were fine the way they were. But I enjoy seeing the girls shine in the newer films as well. So, to me, it’s mostly just nice for Jasmine to get a song of her own, because she never had one in the original animated film. If you recall, Jasmine’s only opportunity to sing back then – was as part of the “Whole New World” duet. Unlike many of Disney’s animated films, Jasmine is a princess that isn’t technically the main character in Aladdin. As I mentioned, she’s a bigger deal in this film….and as a Princess fan, that alone was enough to make me happy. Go see Aladdin in the theater just to catch Princess Jasmine on the big screen having her “Elsa” moment! The colors in the film, the music and the thought behind this — are positive — and fabulous.
#4 Aladdin dances Ballywood Style…On the Big Screen!
I’m going to leave that right there. The colors, the movement, the music…enough said.
#5 Prince Ali – fabulous he – Ali Ababwa…
Here comes the THRILLING and VIBRANT part. WOW, it was so beautiful, I almost cried. I can’t portray how fantastic this scene was to you in words. It was a moment I was happy that animation became live-action. This alone is a reason all Disney fans should go see this film in the theater, just to fully absorb the splendor. Here’s a YouTube video that gives you a couple sneak peeks at what I am talking about.
It is interesting to note that when Will as the Genie sings the original lyrics “brush off your sunday salaam” he changes them to “brush off your FRIDAY salaam” … all I can think of is that maybe he did that because the film will be released on a Friday? Tell me if you know something about that!
I hope you enjoyed reading my top 5 reasons to see Aladdin in theaters! Send me your list when you go see it! Here are some links so you can follow the official accounts for more fun!
Like Aladdin on Facebook: HERE
Follow Aladdin Twitter: HERE
**Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this movie on May 21, 2019 so that I could bring you this review. My guest and I each had to pay $8 for parking. The free admission and the money we shelled out for parking, in no way influenced my review, and all opinions are my own.**
Genre: Action Adventure
U.S. Release date: May 24, 2019
Cast: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid
Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Screenplay by: John August and Guy Ritchie
Animation Screenplay by: Ron Clements & John Musker and Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio
Based on: Disney’s “Aladdin”
Produced by: Dan Lin, p.g.a., Jonathan Eirich, p.g.a.
Executive Producers: Marc Platt, Kevin De La Noy
Music by: Alan Menken
New Lyrics by: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Lyrics by: Howard Ashman and Tim Rice
Score by: Alan Menken