Movie Review – Aladdin (2019)

You never had a friend like me, 3.5 readers.

Wait, have I ever had a friend?  Probably not.  Geeze, now I’m sad.

Oh well.  Here’s a review of “Aladdin.”

Disney continues with its quest to live action-ize all of its classic cartoons.  This time around, its one of its biggest, “Aladdin.”

The challenge here is that cartoon was 99.99 percent based on the late Robin Williams’ manic energy.  Just as Williams would, at a rapid clip, move from one impression and silly voice to another, so too would the Genie.

There just isn’t a comedian today who matches Williams’ abilities and frankly, it would be lame to have someone just do a Williams impression anyway.

Ergo, I think Disney made a good choice in picking Will Smith.  He can sing.  He can dance.  He can do comedy.  He doesn’t try to copy Williams but rather makes the role his own.  Sure, Genie engages in some silliness, but there’s no attempt to copy Williams here.

True, Smith does look odd in blue genie form but the film tries to have genie in human form for as long as possible to make up for it.

Overall, the film is fun and a good time.  Not knocking Marwan Kenzari, but I think they might have picked a scarier actor to play Jafar but I get that Disney is going with mostly unknowns, perhaps to keep these remakes from being overpowered by star power or perhaps so they can go with one big star like Will Smith and not break the budget on a supporting cast.  I don’t know.  I’m not a Disney executive so what would I know.

I also give Disney credit for not being afraid to tinker with the plots of these movies and making them their own for a new generation.  For example, I think someone realized Genie couldn’t be a blue ghost for the whole film, so in human form he becomes more like Aladdin’s wing man and adviser.  I think maybe they missed an opportunity for laughs with Iago the parrot.  He was voiced by the parroty sounding Gilbert Gottfried in the original, but becomes a sinister little varmint in this reprise.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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