Aladdin (2019) – A Movie We Didn’t Choose Wisely

“Aladdin” is another live-action pointless remake by Disney. For them, it’s just enough for Disney to say about forgetting the past will make you strong. Forget about the past and move forward to become a better person. I learned that in “The Last Jedi“, another Disney movie but it’s Star Wars. This movie, like “The Lion King” and its live-action, is the same as the original movie. The conflict is more or less the same, Aladdin as the street shoplifter who falls in love with Jasmine, Will Smith as the Genie, and that’s it.

For all of us, inevitably most, may already be very familiar with the storyline of “Aladdin”. Even if you have never watched the film at all, you know what Aladdin is. In this live-action film, they know exactly that. This movie assumes if all the viewers of this film as if still caught in the trap of intertextuality. You don’t need to know anymore why Jasmine disguised herself in the market. You even don’t need to know how much magic they put on this movie.

It could be the right thing to say. Aladdin himself also didn’t know who Jasmine was and what if the point of view was changed. From the start, we don’t need to know how complex each of the characters in this film contradicts each other. Aladdin and other characters need to show many points of view. You don’t need to know if there is one character that is openly gay or how feminist Jasmine through a specific part that the original doesn’t have. No, you aren’t watching this movie to look for these things because, at the end of the day, it’s a Disney movie.

The protagonist, Aladdin (Mena Massoud), has no apparent freedom in his life. In essence, he has no shelter and rests. The society looked down on him—yeah, society—but he still had plenty of time to have fun here and there. All he needed was a privilege but he didn’t use the time to look for it. On the other hand, there is Jasmine (Naomi Scott). This princess who has it all also has her problem. The palace law alone determines his life partner. Because according to this film, the wealthy also doesn’t guarantee freedom. What a lame message.

However, it doesn’t mean Jasmine is the most restrained character in this film. There is Genie (Will Smith), the most restrained compared to all of the characters. Genie, as you know, can change everything and grant people’s wishes. In essence, Genie is an overpowered character to say it as a part of the jokes. His magic has no appeal but he is also a servant. He cannot move if no one commands him. He just wants to free himself from the lamp.

This is a two hours movie and if you compare it with the original, it didn’t make any sense at all. What is the point of this film, which is to teach me, or others, what freedom means? Does this film show how these “restrained” characters were free? No, no. This film doesn’t teach me anything and if this film brings a nostalgic sense to all, maybe this film can’t work with me. I don’t know why. I don’t feel that these characters empathize with all of us. Even Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) looks like someone who you can take as friends, hang out, and tell each other stories. Is the essence of this film only to fulfill the four rules (nostalgic, agenda, money, and ideas) of why this movie exists in the first place?

This live-action includes many new elements and this is why the movie has 128-runtime on theater. One of the most prominent elements is Jasmine, an independent woman who has stronger and more relevant motivation. Jasmine has a parallel relationship between Jafar. It feels like both characters have the same vision and mission. And indeed, if you don’t have anything in your script, you know what I say, your film will be rejected. That’s like working in Hollywood now.

Although the theme is very relevant if you try to relate it to the current situation, it’s the only most interesting and new part of this live-action. I couldn’t believe that it came straight out of my mouth. I still can’t believe it. This movie should have a new idea and intention of why this movie is made a live-action. There must be a reason. That would be like if you want to remake “Psycho” but all you have is shot-per-shot, with different actors, who can’t work at all. But, that’s not Gus Van Sant’s mistake and after that movie, he made lots of good films like “Good Will Hunting“.

I also still can’t believe that this film came from Guy Ritchie, the man who directed “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch”. There is a clear conspiracy of why people like Guy Ritchie can be in this film. And I also want to be honest if I hate this movie because of “A Whole New World”. In the original, it’s great and also applies to this movie. But, my God. People never stop playing this film in public wherever I go. Above all, it’s ridiculous to hate this movie for ridiculous reasons. No pun intended. But, I just want to be honest once.

I still don’t understand why this movie exists in the first place regardless of money. Yeah, the set is beautiful that, maybe, Oscar will glance full of this movie too. And the cast is just a cast, like you watching this movie just because of Will Smith. But, I don’t know, we grew up with the original “Aladdin” because there is so much to say to this movie. They put a lot of effort and passion into that work while this live-action is just a shot-by-shot of the original where there is no change at all—maybe, just a little. I forgot how I felt when I first saw Cave of Wonders but I know why people like it. The CGI, the cinematography, this movie is awe. And apparently, I had enough with this movie.

2 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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