This year is a huge year for
Disney, especially with live-action remakes. I went with some friends to see
the live-action remake of “Aladdin”. I liked it.
From the trailer, I could easily
see that it was going to differ a lot from the cartoon. Unlike my other movie
critiques, this will not have spoilers that occur toward the end of the film. However,
there will be some minor revelations. So, if you don’t want to know, I’d
suggest you see the movie first. But if you do, or you already saw the film, proceed.
Anyway, let me start off with the
1: Giving Princess Jasmine a girl BFF
Unlike other Disney princesses,
Jasmine has no female companions in the animated version of “Aladdin” (as well
as doesn’t have the lead role). I noticed that in recent years and thought
about how it would’ve been nice if she had a female companion, like a girl BFF.
Coincidentally, it happened. Not long after I realized that Jasmine only had
males in her life did I come across an article that announced that she would
have a female friend in the 2019 reboot. Yay! More female presence—not counting
2: The song “Speechless”
This was added in the live-action
reboot. It was given to Jasmine and as a single solo. It added character
development and more backstory to Jasmine.
3: Will Smith’s portrayal of the
While no one will truly beat Robin
Williams’ portrayal of the “Aladdin” cartoon in 1992, Will Smith still did a good
job. He still executed jokes and humor successfully. I especially admired a
realistic approach of the genie’s look and why (I won’t say—see the movie to
Now here are the aspects that
could’ve been better.
1: The characterization of Iago
and the sultan
Okay, I get it. The creators didn’t
want it to be a copy of the cartoon. They also had to make changes for new
characters, like Jasmine’s friend, Dahlia. However, I was quite bummed with the
sultan and Iago’s developments.
The sultan was dull, conservative,
and had little screen time, compared to the cartoon. He was also not nearly as
enthusiastic and positive. And he didn’t play with toys. Bummer! I understand that
the younger characters need to make their own choices, but cartoon sultan is
And Iago. Oh my God—he was so
one-dimensional. He flew around to check on things for Jafar, would repeat
phrases, and would state when someone was doing something wrong, such as lying
or hiding something. Where was his personality? His complexity? I comprehend
how the crew couldn’t re-cast the original cast to reprise their roles. But I
still wish Iago was more developed. Like cartoon sultan, animated Iago is far superior.
2: The romance between Aladdin and
Jasmine was weaker
In the cartoon version, Aladdin and
Jasmine fell in love and stayed that way. However, in the live-action remake,
Aladdin has trouble getting Jasmine to love or even trust him. Remember when
Jasmine tried to free Aladdin from the guards and revealed her true identity
for it in the animated version? That didn’t happen in the live-action remake.
Also, while some musical numbers were a bit stronger than in the cartoon, the scene
with the song, “A Whole New World” did not convey nearly enough emotion for the
audience as in the cartoon.
That being said, I would rate this film 4.5 out of 5 stars. While I liked certain versions of story adaptations equally as much (such as the cartoon and live-action “Beauty and the Beast” movies), this one was almost as good as the cartoon. My main issue was the characterization of Iago and the sultan. I know they aren’t major characters. But still—even if they were just a little different from the animated movie, I would have appreciated that.
Nevertheless, I would still
recommend this movie.