Ever since I was a kid, I was obsessed with cartoons and animations. specifically, Disney ones, while other parents were very strict with their kids giving them limited time for cartoon, my parents gave me quite the freedom to watch cartoons, be it the weekend specials on TV or the daily 4pm cartoons which then gradually transitioned to Cartoon Network!
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My Obsession for Disney never ended, in fact, I am still quite a Disney buff. My all-time favorite was Aladdin!, I guess when you live in the middle east it was a big deal to have Disney open up to a Middle-eastern story and something you could relate to, so it was a big deal for the 90s kids in Middleast!
Now the cartoon was perfect in every way, and of course, the highlight being Genie voiced by Robin Williams, I mean it was picture perfect in every freaking way!
You can’t even think of anyone else playing Genie, and not to forget the evergreen soundtracks from the Movie! As I grew up I was fixed up thinking nothing could ever take the place of Aladdin.
Then the Aladdin movie was announced, and I was shocked, thinking how could they?? I was still not over the loss of Robin Williams and was actually quite upset on hearing the news of the movie release. Then the trailer came out, the blue genie was Will Smith! I was shocked and disappointed thinking what the heck, what was Disney thinking? And of course, was disheartening.
I was going through a mix of emotions and was extremely skeptical in a very negative way. But then I decided to give it a chance, and try my best to keep an open mind!
I was pleasantly surprised…
Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is a thief plying his trade in the marketplaces of the Middle Eastern fantasyland of Agrabah, where he meets and falls for Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). Her father, the kindly old Sultan (Navid Negahban), is being undermined by his diabolical vizier, Jafar (Marwan Kenzari). Aladdin and his monkey, Abu, are joined by a magic carpet and a blue genie who grants wishes and also develops a crush on Jasmine’s handmaiden, Dalia (Nasim Pedrad).
If you watched the cartoon, the story is almost pretty similar, where Jaffar tells Jasmine Aladdin was sentenced to death for kidnapping the princess, which upsets her terribly, meanwhile back in the cave Aladdin rubs the lap and out comes genie, who grants Aladdin his wish of being a prince to charm the princess and the king.
Jaffar finds out Prince Ali is, in fact, Aladdin, gets him thrown away to the sea from the palace balcony, where underwater drowning he tries his last attempt of rubbing the lamp, Genie saves him.
With some wild chasing scene of flying, running and trying to catch the lamp, Jaffar gets his hands on the lamp, Gennie grants his wish, First to be the Sultan, Powerful Sorcerer, then a Genie himself. Cuffs get on him and get pulled and prisoned to his own lamp. Sultan asks Jasmine to take over, she changes the rule to be able to marry a Non-Prince, and of course, she chose Aladdin. They kiss, they get married. Happy Ending with a lot of Bollywood influence dance, which kinda didn’t make much sense to me but was entertaining!
The casting is admirable, I loved the chemistry between Mena and Naomi, they really did their best in pulling off such memorable and evergreen characters from Disney which was definitely not easy for them, and of course what I was able to make peace with and was happy that Will Smith did not try to copy or replace Robin Williams but did his own thing in his own style, a bit of the 90s Fresh Prince vibes going which was a good thing, seeing the genie rapping was fun!
What I also loved and appreciate was the costumes and Set, everything was perfectly displaying the appropriate fabrics to designs used in that century, which was quite historically accurate!
You’ll also hear a few favorites from the old “Aladdin,” with new lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Alan Menken is still a wonderful composer, by the way. One of the new songs called “Speechless,” a power-packed feminine song sung by Naomi Scott was definitely mind-blowing!
The lesson learned is to be yourself and the more you have the more you want! So always be happy and satisfied with what you have in life. Also, money and fame is not everything!
This movie would be suitable for age 6+ and above, there are a few scenes that could scare of little ones, from Jaffars stick turning into a snake and the parrot turning into a scary creature.
Now for all the 90s kids out there, this is in no way replacing the cartoon in any way and nor is it as perfect, but we must understand this is not a cartoon but a movie, and we must appreciate the work they have put into this movie.
We also must encourage positive movies like this for kids out there, I’m tired of seeing dark and depressing movies and its refreshing to have Disney come out with positive classic ones with a new take for kids these days!