Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Aladdin (2019)

Remakes are a tricky bunch.  There are some movies, like Back to the Future and The Princess Bride, that should never be redone.  Both movies are perfect as is.  I don’t think anyone could improve on either one.  In other cases, I can understand.  Time passes and the older version seems dated.  (It’s rare, but there are remakes that are better than the original.)  There are also characters, such as Godzilla, that audiences just can’t get enough of.

Then, there’s Aladdin.  I’ll admit that I never watched the 1992 version all the way through.  However, it would seem that this version stays pretty close to the original.  At least a few of the songs are similar.  So, that makes me wonder why a remake was deemed necessary.

I’m not going to go too much into plot here.  Most people should be aware of the basic story by now.  An orphan named Aladdin meets a princess named Jasmine.  Despite the class difference, he manages to court her with the help of a genie named Genie.  He also takes on an evil Grand Vizier who’s out for power.

This movie still seemed to be operating in cartoon mode.  For instance, the scenery seemed realistic, but there were come parts that still came off as well-rendered CGI.  The characters also seem to be one-dimensional.  (Jasmine is defined by her inability to serve as sultan.  The Genie is defined by his need to serve a master.)

Will Smith seems to have an energy similar to Robin Williams without seeming like he’s channeling Williams’s version, so there’s that.  However, I could see a lot of long-time Disney fans seeing this movie as unnecessary.  (Childhood nostalgia is a dangerous area to wander into.  One wrong move could generate a lot of backlash.)

Fortunately, the movie is pretty safe for children.  They didn‘t add anything scary.  (The PG rating comes from a few dangerous situations and action sequences.)  I’m not sure how similar the movie is.  It’s a perfectly fine movie to take the children to see this summer.  I’m just glad I was able to see it before school let out.

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