By AJ Lopez Special to Karnes Countywide
For the kids who grew up in the ’90s, the new live-action “Aladdin” remake was not one we asked for. While Disney’s attempts to reintroduce the 1992 cartoon feature to a new generation is refreshing, it’s attempt to be like the iconic cartoon falls short.
Don’t get me wrong, if I had never seen the original cartoon, it would be a perfect film to have any child watch, but that’s not the case.
The film, like the original cartoon feature, tries to exceed the old-fashioned patriarchal princess stories and cultural and racial stereotypes but narrowly slides past these problems.
One issue that I encountered a lot throughout the film was the ambush of musical numbers. There was no smooth transition from acting to singing, like in most animated features. One second Aladdin would be escaping from capture and the next, he would be singing his heart out. But, I will admit “A Whole New World” was probably the best song in the film.
While this film does encounter a number of problems, there is still some good parts of the film I’d like to highlight.
Considering the performances of some of Disney’s previous live-action remakes, “Aladdin” exceeded expectations with an international gross of $237.4 million. “John Wick 3,” “Avengers: Endgame” and “Detective Pikachu” all shifted down one slot to second, third and fourth places, respectively.
As far as the cast goes, Aladdin (Menna Massoud), Princess Jasmine (Namoi Scott), Sultan (Navid Negahban), Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) and Dalia (Nasim Pedrad) all had excellent performances throughout the film. Genie (Will Smith), on the other hand, tries too hard to match the original genie, Robin Williams. No one will ever surpass Williams’ over-the-top performance, so no one such ever try; even you, Will Smith.
Director Guy Ritchie does well with not “white-washing” actors for a film set in a Middle Eastern fantasy land – a problem much of Hollywood still experiences today.
While some of the pros outweigh the cons, I would highly advise those who grew up watching the cartoon feature not watch the film and be disappointed like I was.
If you’ve never seen it and have kids that eager to watch the film, I recommend taking them and finding out yourself.
I just really hope Disney doesn’t mess up with live action version of “The Lion King”hitting theaters later this year.