Aladdin (2019) is unnecessary

Allie Boulier

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By Allie Boulier

 

Aladdin (2019) may have promised “a whole new world,” but it pales in comparison to its predecessor, Aladdin (1992) while failing to make notable changes or a memorable film.

 

Overall, the remake of this film felt unnecessary. The purpose of updating a past film is to alter the message and create new, exciting elements. Aladdin (2019) stays strictly true to the original story even when the audience wishes for change.

 

The casting of the remake stands out one of the only changes–and surely the worst. While fans actively criticized the first pictures and videos released of blue Will Smith, Smith was the highlight of the film as scenes with Genie popped and glimmered as he brought comedy to dull moments.

 

Jafar (played by Marwan Kenzari) is unfortunately one of the least intimidating villains I have seen. He lacks creativity, and his character is one of the aspects of the film that could have used revamping. Not all of the blame relies on the director and script as Kenzari’s delivery was lacking.

 

Like Kenzari, Mena Massoud, who plays Aladdin, is incredibly underwhelming. Massoud delivers his lines so unbelievably at times, my eyes rolled. In light of his acting skills, it’s only normal to hope his singing is extraordinary, but he fails to make any exceptional musical contributions. Massoud lacks vocal range and remarkable singing talent, while his counterpart, Naomi Scott, who plays Jasmine, creates mind blowing music, comparable to Idina Menzel in Frozen.

 

Smith and Scott incredibly outshine Massoud, so much so that the title Aladdin feels inappropriate. It doesn’t help that Smith is the most famous of the three, while Massoud makes his debut in Aladdin, and Scott is known for her days on Disney Channel.

 

Interestingly, Genie, Aladdin, and Jasmine, are heavily Americanized, and speak without any trace of an accent. Other minor characters, however, speak with a heavy Middle Eastern accent. Isn’t the point of Aladdin that it’s not another European tale? Even Scott was born in England, leading to Disney being criticized for not hiring someone Arabian or Middle Eastern.

 

On the bright side, Aladdin (2019) includes a feminist twist, with a more independent Jasmine. Scott’s song “Speechless” about being silenced by men is appropriate for the current political climate and welcome as many stories depict the princess as the damsel in distress. In the wake of Frozen, feminism seems like it will occur more and more often in Disney films.

 

This is not at all against Jasmine’s newfound independence; however, Jasmine’s and Aladdin’s relationship felt forced. Although Aladdin is frequently shown practically drooling over Jasmine, Jasmine has only one scene expressing her interest of him to her handmaid, Dalia. Even interactions from the original that were once extremely heartfelt–such as the magic carpet ride–were hollow as the scene focuses more on the backgrounds they fly over than Jasmine and Aladdin falling in love. Part of me did not expect a happy ever after because they simply lacked on-screen chemistry.

 

Aladdin (2019) is entertaining but fails to exceed or live up to the original. If you want to watch Aladdin, stick to the original. You aren’t missing “a whole new world” by any means.