Dust off your magic carpet and get ready to see your favorite street rat in the live action retelling of Disney’s Aladdin.
Prior to the release, I shared my reservations and my MANY hot takes. And as we saw more and more of the film teased, the more worried I got. So. I’ll cut to the chase — Aladdin was not as dismal as I thought it was going to be, however, it is nowhere near as dazzling and enchanting as the animated original.
Just like how the Genie gives Aladdin three wishes, here are my three wishes that would have improved the movie for me.
1. The Singing. Alan Menken’s GORGEOUS soundtrack is one of Disney’s greatest. Unfortunately, none of these songs (with the exception of anything Naomi Scott was part of…because she can actually sing) were performed to their potential. Sure, they may have looked grand on screen but, they did not sound it. In fact, if this retelling of Aladdin didn’t include the music, I may have enjoyed it more. Which brings me to #2..
2. Will Smith. The character of the Genie has become a Disney Legend. With humor, wit and pizazz, Robin Williams created an icon. Those are big shoes to fill. I understand that Will Smith’s name is a huge draw, but why didn’t Disney use James Iglehart? Iglehart WON A TONY FOR PLAYING THE GENIE IN THE BROADWAY VERSION OF ALADDIN. He put his own spin on Williams’ Genie while making it his own. It was brilliant. I saw it. Why would Disney go with the Fresh Prince over someone who is already respected for his performance as Genie!? (Answer: Money. But I digress.) However, Smith’s horrid singing, nightmare inducing blue appearance and annoying mannerisms truly made me cringe.
3. The Script. Between cutting out the phrase “Prince Abooboo”, characters rephrasing the same statements over and over and a continuous joke about jam, the script was a bit of a mess. I enjoyed some of the updates but a lot of it lacked heart. Also, did we need Aladdin to talk about tiny spoons? No. Pass.
But like I said before, it was not a train wreck. I was impressed by the vibrant and immersive production that brought Agrabah to life. Everything felt authentic and the attention to detail was prevalent in every set design and every costume piece. It was beautiful to watch.
Another astonishing asset is Naomi Scott, who plays Princess Jasmine. The princess received a strong upgrade who was not only fiercely independent but a budding political leader. It was refreshing and gave more depth to an already beloved and new age Disney princess. I think if anything, Aladdin will be remembered forever for Scott’s break out performance.
Final Thoughts: Aladdin is not exactly a diamond in the rough, but this magic carpet ride wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.