‘Aladdin’ Wishes It Was as Good as ’92 Version

Alex Levy, Staff Writer

Disney’s latest rendition of “Aladdin,” starring Mena Massoud as Aladdin, premiered May 24, producing $610.7 million worldwide and $142.6 million domestically. Based on the classic, animated Disney movie, director Guy Ritchie produced an unsettling waste of two hours and ten minutes that tried to bring viewers into the lives of characters including Aladdin, Jasmine and Genie with little success.  

The new rendition follows the main points of the original 1992 movie’s plot as street boy Aladdin frees a genie (Will Smith) from a magic lamp, granting him three wishes, allowing him to transform into a charming prince in order to marry a beautiful princess, Jasmine (Naomi Scott). But soon, the sultan’s vizier Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) grows fiercely determined to secure the lamp for his own sinister purposes.

Beyond the traditional plot lines, Ritchie introduced two new characters who affected the plot significantly. Dalia (Nasim Pedrad), who is Jasmine’s handmaiden and best friend, provided some comic relief in the film and developed a relationship with the Genie by the end of the movie. Despite the movie’s attempt, her jokes were not funny. In one case, Jasmine needed Dalia to pretend to be her so Aladdin wouldn’t know. Dalia took this information and then did a bunch of dances and said some things that were meant to be funny but the scene fell far short.

 Hakim is also introduced into the film as the Sultan’s general, and while he is not on screen as much as his co-stars, he does still have important moments in the movie such as when he refuses to listen to Jafar. This was a very interesting scene because Hakim had to choose to listen to the current Sultan or listen to his friends who he has known since birth.

   This movie does not come across as a reboot, sequel or prequel to the original film, but more of a dark recreation. Jasmine, who previously had little to do in the animated movie, now gets significantly more screen time. They established her character as a strong, independent female lead within the first 20 minutes of the movie. However, throughout the movie, she constantly repeated her belief that she is a strong, independent female, making it repetitive and trite.

In one scene, Jasmine is meeting Prince Ali, who is Aladdin, for the third time. She then proceeds to go into a long monologue about how she could do better as Sultan because she would look out for her people. After making her point, she repeats it over and over again as if it was any different, and it becomes monotonous.

Despite other characters’ flaws,  Jafar, one of the main characters, is presented in a new and interesting light that enhanced his overall character. Rather than a vicious, menacing bad guy with no clear goals or backstory, he is now given a believable backstory and clear set goals and is played to perfection. It is now established that he was just like Aladdin when he was younger and stole food, water and jewelry from merchants. He slowly cheated and killed many people to become the grand vizier. However, since he was not born into royalty, he cannot become Sultan, and Jasmine won’t marry him so he tasks himself on finding the magical lamp and making wishes to increase Agrabah borders, become Sultan and soon make Agrabah the biggest global empire in the world. While some found this believable, others felt the portrayal was too much.

“One thing I didn’t like about the movie was the fact that [Jafar] was too evil. Like so evil that it got scary,” sophomore Julia Carter said.

One of the more controversial points for this movie was the casting of Will Smith as the Genie. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the character because of the way he appeared in his blue genie form, a form similar to the Marvel Studios’ interpretation of Thanos. Audience members also believed that Smith wouldn’t be able to portray the Genie and sing as well as its original actor, Robin Williams. Despite the criticism and controversy, Smith’s performance was stellar.

“Will Smith was really funny and although I hate musicals, I actually liked the songs,” sophomore Daniel Romero said.

“Aladdin”  was a poor recreation of the once adored and marveled animated film. It was an unsettling attempt despite a few interesting moments. For those who loved the animated film, this one will be sure to disappoint.