I had mixed feelings when I first learned that Disney was creating a live action version of Aladdin. Robin Williams’ Genie character is by far one of the most iconic sidekicks in cinematic history. I actually think he’s the star of Aladdin in both versions. I was invited to the premiere of Disney’s Aladdin and was genuinely pleased by the remake and Will Smith’s version of the Genie we cherish is fun and I felt Smith made the character his own.
A “street rat” (Aladdin played by Mena Massoud) from Agrabah meets Princess Jasmine (played by Naomi Scott), and through a sequence of events becomes the master of a genie who gives Aladdin three wishes. One of which is to become a Prince to impress Jasmine. I won’t give away much of the plot line to anyone who might be new to the story but the live action version plays out close to the animation with a new song and a new character- Jasmine has a handmade in the live-action film and Jafar seems much younger in the remake.
Jasmine definitely is a force to be reckoned with! She will use her voice and bravery to speak up to Jafar and protect the people of Agraba. She’s a rebel much like many of the Disney Princesses, but as much as this is Jasmine and Aladdin’s story I have always felt that Genie had just as big of a role. We see him as a prisoner, a mentor, a friend and he has a different ending in this film. In this version, we know that he finds true happiness. I remember hearing that people wanted the blue Genie from the animation, which Disney gave them, but I feel the movie would have been okay with him being “Will Smith” and not blue. Will Smith is energetic, funny and I fully accepted his role as the Genie in this film. I feel that people need to understand that these live-action films aren’t replacing the classics that we grew up with. They’re paying homage to the movie that we adore!
It’s a whole new world, one with beautiful CGI, sets, costumery and real actors. These actors are given an enormous task of living up to people’s expectations and judgment by taking on iconic Disney/fairy tale roles. Disney’s Aladdin is a musical delight with gorgeous choreography. Alan Menkin’s beautiful songs and Mena and Naomi have so much chemistry as Jasmine and Aladdin. I say give this film a chance but don’t walk in comparing it to the old. See it with new eyes and go on a magical carpet ride!
In theaters now!
A thrilling and vibrant live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic, “Aladdin” is the exciting tale of the charming street rat Aladdin, the courageous and self-determined Princess Jasmine and the Genie who may be the key to their future. Directed by Guy Ritchie, who brings his singular flair for fast-paced, visceral action to the fictitious port city of Agrabah, “Aladdin” is written by John August and Ritchie based on Disney’s “Aladdin.” The film stars Will Smith as the Genie; Mena Massoud as Aladdin; Naomi Scott as Jasmine; Marwan Kenzari as Jafar; Navid Negahban as the Sultan; Nasim Pedrad as Dalia and Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders.
“Aladdin” is produced by Dan Lin, p.g.a., and Jonathan Eirich, p.g.a., with Kevin De La Noy and Marc Platt serving as executive producers. Eight-time Academy Award®-winning composer Alan Menken provides the score, which includes new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Oscar®-winning lyricists Howard Ashman and Tim Rice and includes two new songs written by Menken and lyrics by Oscar and Tony Award®-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.