Disney’s interest in reimagining their classic films seems to progressively grow with every release of their live-action films, which draws a significant attraction from older generations that desire to share a sense of nostalgia with their children and that creates a large audience in itself that generates a revenue that encourages Disney to continue pursuing this market. The latest live-action film by Disney is 2019’s Aladdin that followed closely after Tim Burton’s not critically well-received Dumbo (2019) in terms of release date, and seems to increasingly generate box-office profit and audience attraction.
Though Disney films are widely regarded and generally well-received, not all efforts can go by without being flawed in some way. Taking that into account, Aladdin is one of those films that strives to be great but ultimately stumbles and somehow barely manages to stay standing as it struggles to maintain its balance. If one were going to the theatre expecting a closely followed remake of a beloved film, they would be surprised to know that most of the film departs from the source material in certain ways that reduce the imaginative quality of the original, instead producing a duller version of the source material. Audiences should approach the film, as to all remakes or reimaginings, as a different film in order to rightly enjoy the product that so many people worked so hard on. The remake of the film seems to be duller due to the issue that the film does not lean into knowing itself as a musical with the first couple musical numbers and blocking of the scenes, due to the choice to use more contained shots rather than pursue the extravagance of wide shots and angles. In that way, the film was negatively impacted because of limited permission to the audience to immerse themselves within the world and surroundings and it impacted the musical number itself. The audience’s limited view keeps subjects cramped and cluttered when there should be space to appreciate appearances of adversaries and comical figures, instead of cutting the subject in half with the framing and time of appearance. The sound design seemed to not match the urgency of the first fast-paced scene in the market and that sadly slowed down the pacing.
Though the film began on awkward-footing, the quality picks up once Will Smith appears as the genie with a dazzling musical number that correctly displays how a musical should invest itself in being. Audiences were skeptical of Will Smith taking on an iconic role that some would say would be impossible to play due to the status Robin Williams provided to it, but Will Smith proves his ability to play such a role in a refreshing way that younger generations would assuredly appreciate. The film begins to falter when it does not allow characters to fully grow within their arc. Princess Jasmine is given the most depth in the film, drawing more attention to her desire to be seen as an intellectual rather than an image or item to be bought. However, the focus on Jasmine conflicts with the character status of Aladdin because of the minimal depth to his character. He does have the common rags to riches storyline that leads to his understanding of valuing his true self but he never becomes anything more than that. His character seems to follow an emotional pattern of cause and effect, meaning that he decides to feel a certain way about an event rather than showing the audience why he feels that way. Why is he so ashamed of being a poor thief? Why is he so willing to lie to himself about his identity? Why is it hard for him to be honest? Why does he need to experience defeat in order to understand rather than listen to the warnings of his friend?..etc.
Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and The Beast ( 2019) took advantage of being a reimagining in that it took the time to flesh out characters and plot from the source material. It is disappointing to say that the 2019 version of Aladdin did not follow in suit. The most growth seen in this film is done through exposition that does not add much to the story as a whole, unfortunately appearing as blips in dialogue rather than lasting impressions on the audience. The final act ultimately saves the film with its use of conflict that garners an empathetic interest from the audience through Jasmine’s character arc that leads her to fight back and inspire others to do the same, leading to her becoming the sultan and marrying Aladdin which is quite nice to see. My rating: 3/5 stars.
Release Date: May 24, 2019
Cast: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban
Studios: Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Guy Ritchie
Run Time: 128 minutes
Official Website: https://movies.disney.com/aladdin-2019
Official Social Media Pages:
IMDb Page: @DisneyAladdin
Daniel Barrios | Writing Contributor
B.A | Film Production | California Baptist University
Hello, my name is Daniel Barrios and I am a film student with an interest in photography and philosophy. I spend most of my free time working on as many short films as I can so that I can stay active within my career of choice and be experienced enough to make decent short films of my own. My main goal as a filmmaker is to create something meaningful and unflinchingly honest that will help others feel understood. I aspire to create a conversation about pressing topics that are overlooked by society, like the way women, undocumented immigrants & minorities are treated. Mainly, I would like to be the person I needed when I was younger for others. I am open-minded and love being informed about issues that currently affect my generation and below. I love watching arthouse films, reading poetry, and listening to music at the end of my day. When I’m not in class, you can probably find me at a thrift store looking for vhs tapes or with my friends eating Taco Bell late at night. | View My Articles
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