I was invited to see a pre-release of Aladdin as a member of the media. All words and thoughts my own. Affiliate links included. When you purchase anything via these links, I make a small commission. Very small. But very appreciated. Thanks for loving ohAmanda!
Remember when I told you watching the live-action Cinderella felt like going to Disney World? And watching the Beauty and the Beast remake made me feel like I was actually, you know, Belle? Well, I think this is a theme as I saw Aladdin this week and fell in love with Agrabah all over again!
I gotta tell you, I had serious doubts about this movie. I only watched the very early previews because I like being surprised. But the clips I saw made me nervous. Everything looked so colorful and…I don’t know, clean.
I wanted Agrahbah to be this dirty, gritty place where a street rat would live. And I wanted Aladdin to be a real diamond in the rough, not just a pretty cartoon face.
And to be fair, I’m not sure if this remake was dirty, gritty and non-cartoonish. I wonder if this were just a random 2019 movie set in a fictional middle eastern town, we would laugh at its bright color and Broadway-esque feel? Or would we be dazzled and drawn in by the magic?
But guess what?
I don’t even care.
Because it’s not a random movie.
It’s ALADDIN! Disney’s Aladdin! Aladdin with the funny little Abu. Aladdin who befriends a heart of gold magic carpet! Aladdin who easily gives his last wish to a fun-loving genie. Aladdin of a WHOLE NEW WORLD!
And y’all, I loved it!
WHY YOU AND YOUR FAMILY WILL WANT TO SEE ALADDIN
You love the original Aladdin. Unlike Dumbo, this movie is the original movie. Yes, there’s a new character or two, there’s a new song and a little fleshing out of the story but overall? It’s the Aladdin story we know and love.
Girl Power. Ok, if you’ve been around here long you probably know how I feel about the girl power message. But, Jasmine’s desire to lead was admirable. She seemed more caring of her people and less i-am-not-some-prize-to-be-won foot stomper.
Costumes. Like I said, at first, I was put off by all the bright colors. (I don’t know why. I love bright colors. It makes no sense.) Anywhoo, the costumes were really beautiful. So much texture and style. But also with a thread of the original costumes. And, my fear that the girls would be scantily clad? Unfounded. They were very modest and gorgeous.
Will Smith. I know a lot of people were worried about him in his blue skin. And how could he replace the beloved Robin Williams? Well, he didn’t.
He just did the Will Smith version of the genie. He said some of Robin Williams’ lines, but had his own, too. He was funny, charming and just very Will Smith.
(I want to say more about this but don’t want to spoil it. All I can say is Genie’s two songs are crazy fun.)
Aladdin. Not only was he super charming, his singing voice seemed really similar to the original. He was fresh and nostalgic at the same time. I really loved him.
Not scary. I think Aladdin is one of the scarier Disney movies. When Jafar turns into the snake? It’s creepy. For whatever reason, this scene is not the same.
SPOILER <<<<Jafar doesn’t even turn into a snake. He kinda transforms Iago into this creepy parrot but is certainly less scary than the giant snake.>>>>
The rest of the movie wasn’t any scarier than the original—the Cave of Wonders’ lava, the phenomenal cosmic power of Jafar were all palatable.
WHY YOU AND YOUR FAMILY MIGHT NOT WANT TO SEE ALADDIN
You don’t like Aladdin. I mean, seriously. I can’t even think of a reason. It wasn’t overly sexualized, scary, didn’t have bad words or a new random live-your-dream message.
THINGS TO TALK ABOUT (includes spoilers)
Speechless. Jasmine stands up for what she believes is the truth—that everyone should stand against Jafar’s insurrection, that her people need to be protected, that she shouldn’t be forced to marry for political reasons. She is the only one willing to do so.
How can we stand up for what is right? When should we stand up for what is right? And how do we know what is right?
Look up Micah 6:8 and talk about standing for injustice.
Read Psalm 119:97-104 and discuss how God’s Word makes us wise, understanding Truth.
Family Activity: Have every family member pick one of the verses from Psalm 119:97-104. Then, each person draw a picture of their verse. After each person presents and explains their picture, write the full Scripture on it. Display in a high-traffic area of your house and work on memorizing each verse!
I’m sure there will be reviews that talk about the cinematography and directing of this movie with more authority and insight than I have. All I know is that when this new Aladdin sang “riffraff, street rat, I don’t buy that” and later fell backwards onto the magic carpet, it felt exactly the same as when I watched the movie as a 15 year old.
I think what I end up liking about these remakes (even when I’m not super excited to see them at first), is that they end up feeling like a tribute to the original. As if the creators are geeking out about showing why they loved the original movie so much. (See The Muppets and Mary Poppins Returns)
So, people can complain that we don’t need a live-action remake of Aladdin and wonder why Will Smith has to be blue but all I know is that I was swept away. I laughed and clapped and when it was over I thought, “every moment red letter”!
Wanna hear more about my fave (and not fave) Disney remakes? Listen to my conversation with Mary Carver on the Couch podcast!