Review: Aladdin 2019

I am not a movie buff by any means, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the new Aladdin movie that is currently in theaters. Prior to seeing it myself, I had seen some reviews, some good but some pretty bad.

Full disclosure, the 1992 animated version of Aladdin is one of my all time favorite movies - probably in my top 3.  So I went into this reboot with excitement and also the fear that it would ruin both movies for me!

The original Aladdin's great triumph is of course the amazing talent of Robin Williams as the Genie. You realize how uniquely important his talent was when you watch the sequel movie The Return of Jafar. His replacement for Genie in this movie is none other than Dan Castellaneta, renowned of The Simpsons - however, even his talent cannot bring Genie to life the way Robin Williams does.

So, how difficult it must have been for Will Smith to step into the live action shoes of the Genie, where he is not only the voice but the face of a character originally made famous by Williams. I've read mixed reviews on this but my opinion on the matter - which I will consider as expert since I doubt anyone alive has seen the original Aladdin as many times I have - is that Will Smith does a great job being his own Genie. He doesn't try to be or replace Robin Williams, and that is why he does a great job of being his own Genie.

The politically incorrect tones of the 1992 version of the movie troubled some people - not me, I am not easily troubled by fictional stories - and the recent version tries to right some of these wrongs.  Some of the lyrics are changed in the songs to be more PC, and the cast has been appropriately chosen to be more reflective of the theme. However, some people still find issue with this, that they tried to correct and modernize but they didn't go far enough or also that adjusting the story line doesn't correct the mistakes of the past.  These people need to get a grip (as Iago says in the original film!). It's a fictional story, stop being so damn offended by everything. 

The cast does a great job!  Mena Massoud is a lovable Aladdin and Naomi Scott is a gorgeous Jasmine - and a great singer too! The magic carpet ride scene to the song "A Whole New World" is perfectly thrilling with the actors singing the song.

It isn't the same as 1992's Aladdin.  The story line is mostly the same (no spoilers!) but there are updates.  There are hilarious new scenes. There are new jokes. There are some new takes on the old details. If you go in wanting it to be the live action replica of the 1992 version, you'll be disappointed. But if you let this movie stand on it's own, you will enjoy it!