Hi, it’s me tultsi93, and review Aladdin 2019. Instead of making a proper review of it, I make a fast ”pros-and-cons” list and give a final rating. Notice this ranting is my opinion, and you don’t have to agree with it. If you’re going to be an asshole and tell me how “I’m wrong”, I’ll block you and report you.
Warning, this piece of paper has spoilers in it so it’s better you don’t read it if you hate spoilers.
+ Beatiful scenary and gorgeous outfits: The milieu in the movie is breathtaking. The city of Agrabah, the Cave of Wonders, the jungles… They look so real you could actually walk there. Outfits make you gasp from delightment. They’re light, elegant and practical. And exotic, if you don’t live in Arabia or India.
+ It has some historical accuracies: There actually were both white and black people in the Middle East through slavery and race-mixing, so SJWs had no need to complain about it. And no, anti-SJWs, Jasmine didn’t become a Sultan as an opposition for patriarchy or favoritism towards Conservative Islam. You should all read history about female monarchs.
+ Naomi Scott and Will Smith were the perfect choices for the cast: Naomi doesn’t only look like Jasmine, but she is also talented both as an actress and a singer, and that’s where Beauty and the Beast remake failed in. Just look at her. She’s just like real-life Jasmine, and how she is also giving her own touch to her making a difference to the original movie and the remake. Will Smith in other hand, is brilliant. Since I had seen him many times as Cypher Raige, *pppfffftttt* it’s unbelievable to see what a multi-talent he actually is. He can act, sing and rap. He brings color to the musical numbers and his own touch to Genie. He doesn’t try to replace Robbie Williams and doesn’t even want to.
+ Dalia: I absolutely love Dalia. Even if she disagrees with Jasmine about marrying for love (because no one asks a slave what she wants or dreams of), she still stands behind her and supports her as a friend. I somehow think friendship between the girls is based on friendship between Phyllis Weathley and her master family, because those two are in particularly good terms. They’re like sisters with each other.
+ CGI: The animal characters are well-done. Abu has many facial expressions (well, at least more facial expressions than animals in The Lion King), Rajah and Iago look like real animals, and the Carpet feels like a real magic carpet. It’s wonderful to see how CGI animation improves over generations.
+ Communication between Jafar and Iago: It’s wonderful to see that Jafar understand Iago and what he is saying, even though he can’t speak. Bond of those two is like the bond of the master and his/her dog; it’s based on love and friendship. If Iago spoke in the original movie, why didn’t Abu and Rajah speak as well? I still wonder was there a reason for it?
+ Use of rejected material: This movie executed the idea of Genie becoming a human after being freed from the lamp. It has one negative effect, which I come on later.
+ Speechless: Say whatever you want about ”Speechless”, but it’s my new favorite Disney song. It’s empowering and references greatly on women being still oppressed outside first world countries. And other oppressed groups can relate with its message as well.
+ Balcony scene and the ”A Whole New World” musical number: Rajah purring at Aladdin is very adorable touch. Rajah met Aladdin first time when he sneaked in the castle to return the jewelry back to Jasmine. The musical number is better in the remake. I mean, who would take a girl who hasn’t even been in the marketplace alone to China for the first date? It’s wiser to show a girl places nearby first before going any further.
+ Original translation of song lyrics: As a Finn, I’m happy the translators could buy the royalties to the original translations! I wouldn’t have minded if they had taken some liberties, I’m not that nicky-picky person, but that’s a nice thing as well.
+ It shares similarities with ”A Whole New World”: ’A Whole New World’ is part of Disney’s Twisted Tale series and tells an alternative story about what have happened, if Jafar had gotten the lamp. If you guys haven’t read that, I highly recommend it. It’s exciting and well-written book.
But let’s list the similarities now.
Remake: Jasmine wants to become a Sultan and know her subjects better.
Book: Jasmine wants to become a Sultan and know her subjects better.
Remake: Books and maps are only way Jasmine can know about the world.
Book: Books and maps are only way Jasmine can know about the world.
Remake: Jafar shows Jasmine his understanding about being oppressed.
Book: Jafar shows Jasmine his understanding about being oppressed.
Remake: Jafar is a former slave, who had to steal and do lots of work to reach his coal.
Book: Jafar is a former slave, who had to steal and do lots of work to reach his coal.
Remake: Jafar loves Iago.
Book: Jafar loves Iago.
Remake: Sultan is ignorant about his subjects and their poverty in cold way.
Book: Sultan is ignorant about his subjects and their poverty in cold way.
Remake: Genie becomes a human and starts to explore the world.
Book: Genie becomes a human and starts to explore the world.
Remake: Aladdin and Jasmine got married.
Book: Aladdin and Jasmine got married.
- Some scene changes don’t make sense: Okay, I say it straight; Aladdin and Jasmine’s first meeting was done better in the original movie. They should’ve kept that. Or done an alternative scenario. Let’s look what I created:
Cross-dressed Aladdin steals a piece of bread with assistance of Abu. He flees and makes the merchant mad. Later Jasmine walks past him and Aladdin falls in love at the first sight. Then she walks past the stand and poor merchant starts to scream at her, because he thinks she’s the culprit. Jasmine tries to tell she’s not a thief he’s looking for, but he doesn’t listen. Aladdin sees the thing and intervenes. They put on their act. Merchant doesn’t swallow it and calls the guards. And the chase and musical number begin.
Why did hesitate Jasmine jumping from one roof to other? Was she afraid of heights? Was she considering a choice whenever she should break Dalia’s character or not? Whatever the reason is, explanation would’ve been nice.
- Movie gives a plot twist right away: Genie got married with Dalia and had kids. That would’ve been more twisty, if he wasn’t on the boat singing. It would’ve been better as a fourth wall break.
Genie is traveling back home. He turns around, greets us and tells shortly about his work today. Then he remembers something and asks us have we heard about Aladdin. After that he sings ”Arabian Nights” and the movie begins. When he and Dalia are telling about their dreams at the end of the movie, we would get flashes about Genie getting there, children running at him saying ”daddy” and Dalia turning and smiling.
Much better, huh?
- Aladdin: Mena Massoud looks like Aladdin, I give credit for that, but he doesn’t feel like Aladdin. The poor actor looks like he’s lost and doesn’t know what he should say or do. Someone else would’ve been nicer choice. And clothes aren’t any better. He doesn’t look like a street rat, he looks like a K-popstar. If they wanted to make Aladdin look poor, they should’ve taken model from Tack from The Thief and the Cobbler. Miramax is owned by Disney, so that wouldn’t even be stealing.
- Unnecessary censorship: Slavery existed and still does. No need to pretend that’s not so. The way Jafar says ”servant” while looking at Genie, it’s obvious he meant ”slave.” Part referring to slavery was removed from ”Prince Ali.” (It’s not seeing in Finnish translation that well since it’s not literal, but in the English lyrics it is.) If remake wanted to beat the original, it should’ve gone deep about slavery and given Jasmine more motivation to become a Sultan. Even a few seconds long scene would’ve been enough. And yet staff in George Washington’s Mount Vernon gets called bad or racist for using “enslaved person” instead of “slave”, even though they’re synonyms! Cheez, even Once Upon a Time... Man didn't pussyfoot about showing slaves being whipped.
- Dance sequence before the end credits: It’s trying way too hard to be a Bollywood movie. If Disney was as progressive as it claims to be, why didn’t it hire a Bollywood director, and yet a Muslim one? It would’ve been interesting to see a name like Sajid Khan or Zoya Akhtar instead of some white dude’s and given some improvement after Roadside Romeo. In my opinion, that sequence should’ve been deleted from the final cut. That would be considered racist or cultural appropriation.
My final rank to that movie is: 7½/10
It doesn’t win the original Aladdin movie (and I think The Jungle Book remake is better), but it’s good and watchable as a remake. At least that movie doesn’t have a gross controversial background like Mulan and it's more loyal to its source material than Dumbo.
Disney confirmed it makes a sequel Aladdin, and that it’s not going to be a remake of Return of Jafar. That would’ve been stupid and unoriginal. It’s going to have its own plot and story. What are my thoughts about it? I think this movie doesn’t need a sequel, because it works better with its own. Am I judging it? No. it’s not released yet, so it’s vain to form any opinions. Only time shows that.