Aladdin is a tale that doesn’t need to be messed with too much to deliver- and I’m happy to report that Disney paid attentiont to that fact! A few tweaks, a few changes, yes- but we didn’t get a whole new world. Just a fun, fast, and gorgeous live-action film that you’ll want to see in theaters this weekend! Aladdin Parent Movie Review.”
I feel like I should preface this Aladdin parent movie review by admitting my Disney bias (yes, I’m one of *those* people) and acknowledge that I absolutely adore the Aladdin story and original movie.
Interviewing Aladdin Animator Eric Goldberg is in my top 10 coolest things EVER moments. He even drew me a Genie as we talked- so, yeah, I kinda love this story.
When the remake news came out, I was excited, nervous, worried, thrilled- basically, I had all the first reaction moments you might expect for someone who worries their favorite movie might be harmed.
I don’t love Guy Richie much as a director, and didn’t see how his style would vibe with this story, so that didn’t help much to calm my nerves.
However, as soon as they announced the cast and that it included Will Smith as the Genie- I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Smith is an excellent actor, he’s funny, and he can pull off a musical number.
No, I didn’t expect him to be Robin Williams (who could?) but I had extremely high hopes once his casting was announced.
That being said: I was worried the closer we got to the release. I felt like the musical number snippets we were getting didn’t hold up and the potential for disaster was certainly there. If you can’t make me love Prince Ali as a lavish musical number with a Hollywood budget, I wasn’t sure the movie would stand.
All this to say, I am a big Aladdin fan and had high hopes- but I went into the theater on the “concerned” side of things.
A Diamond In the Rough? Or Just Rough? Aladdin Review On The No-Guilt Fangirls Podcast
About Aladdin (2019)
A thrilling and vibrant live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic, “Aladdin” is the exciting tale of the charming street rat Aladdin, the courageous and self-determined Princess Jasmine and the Genie who may be the key to their future. Directed by Guy Ritchie, who brings his singular flair for fast-paced, visceral action to the fictitious port city of Agrabah, “Aladdin” is written by John August and Ritchie based on Disney’s “Aladdin.” The film stars Will Smith as the Genie; Mena Massoud as Aladdin; Naomi Scott as Jasmine; Marwan Kenzari as Jafar; Navid Negahban as the Sultan; Nasim Pedrad as Dalia and Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders.
“Aladdin” is produced by Dan Lin, p.g.a., and Jonathan Eirich, p.g.a., with Kevin De La Noy and Marc Platt serving as executive producers. Eight-time Academy Award®-winning composer Alan Menken provides the score, which includes new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Oscar®-winning lyricists Howard Ashman and Tim Rice and includes two new songs written by Menken and lyrics by Oscar and Tony Award®-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.
I did say concerned, right? Pfft- I didn’t need to be.
If you have never seen Aladdin, you will fall in love with this version. I can say that with certainty. It’s an absolute fantastical journey if you are coming in with fresh eyes.
The challenge is winning over those of us who grew up with and adore the original- and who can’t help themselves but compare the two. Remakes are always hard and I know there have been some disappointments (Dumbo, anyone?). Aladdin 2019 remembers the adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”- so you can breathe a sigh of relief!
My advice to fellow Disney lovers: throw out your pre-conceptions and worries. Ignore the trailers and sneak peeks. The movie as a whole is absolutely delightful.
And when I say throw out the trailers- I mean just that.
Remember the first time we saw the weirdly CGIed blue Genie? Don’t. Forget it- because that’s not what you see here. Genie’s CGI went through a make-over and it’s pretty good in the end.
Though he is still legless half the movie, which for some reason seemed to creep people out a bit. He’s a Genie- so, yeah- that’s how this works.
What Worked In Aladdin
The story and the slight changes made in Aladdin totally worked for me. I loved some additions they made to make it relevant in 2019, and I love that it was done without too much interruption of the original story.
The cast is absolutely joyful! I know casting relative “unknowns” as both Jasmine and Aladdin were causing some concerns, but both Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud made me fall in love with them.
An additional character to this story- and one that I was leery about accepting at first- was Dalia, Jasmine’s handmaid.
Did we need this bestie on screen? I don’t know, but I adored her.
Nasim Pedrad is charming! Her back and forth with Smith’s Genie gave us some of the funniest moments in the movie.
Will Smith as the Genie: perfection. I absolutely loved his turn on screen as the Genie. Just as Williams was able to really be himself, I felt like Smith was given that ability here.
And in case you missed it: Will Smith is a really, really, REALLY good actor. In fact, I liked his acting more than his singing and dancing here. He’s been cast in so many serious roles over the past 10 or so years that this was like letting Fresh Prince Will out of the bottle he’d been trapped in.
His version of the Genie is definitely more human-like than Williams, which, duh- live action vs. cartoon.
The colors in this movie- whoa! The whole thing is just stunning. The lighting, the costuming, the background, the palace scenes: just an absolutely gorgeous feast for the eyes.
The humor: we laughed a lot. The whole theater did. So while this movie isn’t perfect by any means, it was a lot of fun.
What Didn’t Work In Aladdin
Sigh, I don’t know what it was but I didn’t love all the song versions here. There were exceptions.
Standouts include ‘Arabian Nights‘ (I had chills, y’all!), ‘A Whole New World’ and ‘Friend Like Me’, but some of the others just didn’t grab me like I wanted them to.
It wasn’t the voices: those were all beautiful (Scott can SING, y’all!) but the pacing felt a little off for me.
There’s a new song for Jasmine that I suspect will grow on me, but honestly didn’t do much on the first turn in the movie. Or even when it returned an hour later.
Some of the CGI fell flat as well.
During the A Whole New World scene, I was way too distracted by the way the carpet moved and the background behind the actors to truly be transported into the moment. Here I can say the animated version is infinitely done better.
The action was also a bit distracting at times. Guy Richie’s style of choppy/quick/slow motion scenes (I know that makes no sense written out but when you see the movie you’ll get it) was a little overused and overdone.
And Jafar. This was the biggest adjustment to overcome. The large, looming, bigger than life Jafar from the cartoon doesn’t appear; we have a more downplayed version of the Big Bad and I’m still processing my feelings on it.
Marwan Kenzari played the role well- it’s just a more understated villain than we are used to in this role. Just a difference that lover’s of the original might have a hard time accepting.
Aladdin Parent Movie Review: When Can You Go To The Bathroom During Aladdin?
You need to know this- because you’ll certainly be taking the kids to this one!
I’d say there were three times I think you can make a dash out of Aladdin to pee during the movie.
- When Naomi Scott as Jasmine starts to sing. You won’t miss much- the song comes back later in the movie and is much stronger then. When she’s alone in her room and the music starts, grab the little ones and run.
- The Bollywood dance number. It’s entertaining, energetic, and beautiful… but if you gotta go, this is when you can make it happen without losing any plot points.
- When Naomi Scott starts to sing again. I did say I didn’t love this number, right? Meh- you can run out when the song makes a return if you need to. It just feels like they wanted a big female empowerment ballad here- and while I’m all for that kind of thing obvi- I just didn’t love the song.
Is There An End Credit Scene In Aladdin?
There isn’t, really, but stick around.
Right after the movie ends, we get another quick dance scene that is worth sticking around for! But once it’s over, the movie is completely over.
That being said: I stuck in my seat because WILL SMITH RAPS a version of Friend Like Me as the credits roll. And this Fresh Prince fangirl was ALL IN FOR THIS.
“Too late y’all done wound me up… ” GUYYSSSSS… downloading as I write this. I mentioned that I love Will Smith, right? Ha!
Aladdin Parent Movie Review
Short and sweet Aladdin parent movie review for you. I don’t even feel like it needs to be broken down by ages like I normally do.
This movie is made for families and for kids. Parents: take them ALL.
It has adorable animals, fast-paced action, catchy songs and music, and a lot of laughs. The scariest scenes from the animated version are missing here, so I don’t think the very young will be too nervous for this one.
What it didn’t have: any bad language.
Huzzah! A true PG movie that kids of all ages can enjoy.
I’d rate this one a 4 out of 5 overall, but from a parent perspective, I have to bump it up to 5 out of 5. There have been very few movies of late that I can fully say are kid-safe and family friendly and Aladdin absolutely fits the bill!
Patty Holliday is a movie critic, writer, and podcaster living in the Washington, DC area. Her goal is to bridge the gap between casual fandom and picky critic with parent movie and television reviews.