Thoughts on Aladdin 2019

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There’s a new trend at Disney seeing their old animated classics turned into modern day motion pictures. Following the successes of Beauty and the Beast in 2017 and Dumbo earlier this year (and with ten other titles scheduled for release until 2020); Aladdin is the newest film to receive the live action treatment.

Naomi Scott steals the show as strong-willed Princess Jasmine. Given a stronger story arc than her animated counterpart, she’s been reimagined as a role model young girls can look up to, the film’s targeted audience. The newly-penned Speechless (with lyrics by Dear Evan Hansen‘s Benj Pasek and Justin Paul), is an anthem for future feminists everywhere.

Mena Massoud perfectly captures the free-spirited nature of the Agrabah street rat protagonist. He takes every opportunity to flash his pearly whites, mimicking some of the film’s most iconic scenes – “do you trust me?”

Will Smith delivers another strong performance, and his infectious smile and natural charisma transcends through the screen. He succeeds in making the genie character his own, knowing not to attempt imitation of Robin William’s beloved performance. Also, there’s real nostalgia in hearing him sing again for a movie; it’s been 17 years since he released Black Suits Comin’ (Nod Ya Head), featured on the Men in Black II soundtrack.

Marwan Kenzari (Jafar), Navid Negahban (Sultan) and Nasim Pedrad (Dalia) also star.

While its musical numbers are a triumph of spectacular exuberance, the film is greatly affected by use of the cheap looking CGI of its prominent animal characters, Abu and Iago. Director Guy Ritchie has done a fine job recapturing the magic of the 1992 original, but it never fully gets there. However, despite its imperfections, there’s enough vibrancy, humour and colour to keep audiences enthralled during its 128 minute run time.

Aladdin is in theatres now.

7 thoughts on “Thoughts on Aladdin 2019

      • mphtheatregirl says:

        The initial thing to impress me from a musical belongs to the songs- I have to love them in order to even form an emotional connection to the songs and plot.

        I already know I will love Aladdin if I see the stage show in September

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      • Mallory says:

        I completely understand, although it’s always a gamble (if it’s a different recording) if you’ll like it more or less live, but usually that’s regarding amateur productions. I love those moments though when you expect it to be good and it’s 1000x better. Those are special!

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      • mphtheatregirl says:

        I know what that’s like- when something is more than expected. That takes me back to July 30th, 2015. I live in the United States, but at the time I was in London. That date- July 30th, 2015, my mom and I saw a musical in the West End.

        It wasn’t just seeing any musical in the West End. It was Les Mis- it was a dream of mine to see that musical over in London. I had high expectations coming in-knowing the show and because it was the West End.

        My mom and I saw the musical. My experience began the moment I saw the Queen’s Theater. I thought I was imagining- it was surreal for me. From buying souvenirs to seeing the set to seeing how close we were (we were in the 9th row back form the stage). The only thing that made me know the dream was actually happening was from the first notes for the orchestra. Those notes- they also told me it is going to be more than expected. How can just a few notes from an orchestra tell you that?

        Those notes weren’t lying- it was more than expected. Usually, at the end of a musical, I don’t stand up right away at curtain call, but that time I stood up right away. That says that even the ensemble was more than expected (there was a swing in the ensemble that night) because I had an understudy for Jean Valjean. 110% worth it for me.

        From now on: with any production of Les Mis, I don’t compare to what I saw in the West End.

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