IHGB Movie Review: Aladdin

Movie: Aladdin
Rated: PG
Starring: Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and Will Smith
The Trailer:

The Gist: Aladdin gets lamp. Aladdin rubs lamp. Genie grants wishes. 

Let’s just get this out of the way right now — GO SEE THIS MOVIE. Get up from your seat, buy a ticket, and go see this movie on the big screen right now.

I know. Some of you are nervous because you saw the clip or heard the Internet kick up a ruckus (ETX word) when Will Smith debuted as Genie.

BALDERDASH. Do not let that squash your decision to see him perform. I believe the character of Genie is smack dab in the middle of Will Smith’s wheelhouse.

My Thoughts:

  • Will Smith is a triple threat. He can sing, he can dance, and he can act. Yes, he plays a big blue magical man with a fabulous top knot, but don’t forget that he was also the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for six years. Which means Will Smith has impeccable comedic timing. And that’s EXACTLY what the Genie needs.
  • I’m glad the writers gave several nods to Robin Williams, paying tribute to some of his jokes in the cartoon version. But they also let Will Smith flex his Genie muscles in the best way possible. I think it’s futile to compare the two performances. Instead, I’ll say that Will Smith makes a great live action Genie and Robin Williams will always be THE animated Genie we all know and love.
  • Mena Massoud is a name you need to know. He plays Aladdin. Or should I say he is Aladdin? The dude looks exactly like the cartoon, minus the bare chest.
  • Just wait until he smiles. You’ll smile back once those dimples appear. And he will endear himself to you when he first meets Jasmine.
  • Speaking of Jasmine, I watched the screening in an IMAX theater. You know you are gorgeous when your skin looks flawless on an IMAX screen. Naomi Scott has to be one of the prettiest people I’ve ever seen seventy feet high.
  • Both Aladdin and Jasmine can sing in a professional way that you will enjoy. Sometimes Disney chooses actresses to play their live action characters with the hope and trust that a voice coach can teach them to carry a tune. (I’m looking at you, Emma Watson.) Mena and Naomi were performers before they landed the gig.
  • Mena is from Egypt. Naomi is British. Tons of people clapped back at Disney for not hiring a Middle Eastern Jasmine. I understand where they are coming from.
  • There are two dance scenes that will make you stand up and cheer if you are bold enough to look weird in the theater. I’m not that bold. But I did punch the person beside me and clap with glee.
  • If you like parkour, you’ll love the opening scene of this movie.
  • If you don’t know what parkour is, you’ll still love the opening scene of this movie.
  • Abu the Monkey steals the show.
  • The magic carpet steals the show.
  • Nasim Pedrad, who plays Jasmine’s hand maiden, steals the show.
  • Marwan Kenzari plays Jafar and he did a phenomenal job. He was my least favorite main character. I don’t mean to throw shade, but someone has to rank last place in the roster.
  • The beginning feels “ify” but it gets good fast. Just hang in there for a few minutes until the boat scene ends.
  • I know. A boat scene? (Trust me.)
  • The Cave of Wonders looked E-X-A-C-T-L-Y like the animated movie.
  • You’ll need to see this twice, because I’m sure there’s something awesome you missed during “Friend Like Me.” It was magical.
  • The Genie prepping Aladdin for his first wish is Will Smith at his finest.
  • “Prince Ali” was a punch of technicolor in the desert. You will smile and tap your foot to that rhythmic beat.
  • “A Whole New World” is everything you ever wanted it to be. #NailedIt
  • Jasmine sings a song that will knock your socks off.

Survey Says: Clearly you know how I feel about this movie. I will own it one day. And I have already listened to the soundtrack three times this morning. If I had one qualm, it would be that it’s a smidge too long. Just a tiny smidge. Otherwise, Aladdin is a delight that will stimulate all the senses, except smell.

Go see it.

Photo By: Disney.com
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May 22, 2019 11:53 pm

I’d say the costumes stole the show. I couldn’t stop gawking. Jasmine’s 1st pink outfit was the best.

May 24, 2019 11:11 am

Thanks for this review, Lincee. I was apprehensive to go see it, but you sold me!

May 25, 2019 3:30 pm

I am impressed you saw this in IMAX. I have always liked Aladdin; maybe one if not my top favorite Disney movie. And I love good music so that is very good to know. Will see what I can do to watch this. Thanks!!

May 26, 2019 10:19 am

I agree on almost everything except the Jasmine song that was added in. I think all the music from the original was fine as is and we didn’t need anything extra added – that to me was what made it a touch too long. (I felt the same about the added Beast song in Beauty and the Beast – leave classic musical greatness alone!) I was VERY nervous about Will Smith as the genie, but I think he nailed it aside from the beginning Arabian Nights song, and I didn’t love how he sang Prince Ali. All of his speaking parts and interactions with Aladdin were amazing though. And the rest of the music, the costumes, the casting…all fabulous. I read that Mena Massoud was not really a singer or dancer before this and had to train extensively. You’d never know it!

June 11, 2019 10:49 am
Reply to  Jessica

It’s so they can be considered for the Oscar for Best Original Song. The classic songs weren’t original for the movie and wouldn’t be eligible. I can’t think of an example of a movie adaptation of a musical that didn’t do this. Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis…two of Broadway’s most successful musicals and both had one new song written for the movie.

May 28, 2019 3:06 pm

I loved it so much too! One of my favorite movies of the year!

February 13, 2020 11:52 am

Finally got to watch this thanks to Disney+. I loved it so much and remembered you did a review and had to come back and find it. It would have killed me if I loved it this much and you, whose Disney\movie taste is flawless, didn’t like it. It’s made my day that you loved it just as much! Saw today that a sequel is in talks….yay!

December 27, 2020 5:58 am

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December 29, 2021 3:33 pm

I am totally late to this party, but I have to comment that this was one of my very favorite live-action remakes!! Don’t hate me for saying that the cartoon Aladdin was always “good” in my mind, but this one is fantastic!! You FEEL the connection between the two leads! The magic carpet ride was somehow believable! The scenery and the costumes were gorgeous, and the acting was so good. Even the father, who was a bit clownish in the cartoon, is believable!! I loved it so very much. Thank you for encouraging people to go see it!!

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