I shall begin this artikel unconventionally, door speaking of something personal. This jaar has been very rough for me in a lot of ways. The roughness has impacted every single sphere of my life, from my finances, to my job, to my love life (which remains laughable), and to my very health. I have been really sick. I relate to the Aladdin of the 1992 film, even meer so now, than when I first shook his hand in 1992. I relate to being constantly dirt poor, scared out of my mind, living dag to dag on the edge of the precipice, and skirting door through just the slimmest of margins. Every dag is starting to look a lot like yesterday…. And I can see why Aladdin wants people “to look closer” at him, and see that “there’s so much meer to me.” *cue muziek swelling*
I recently got a coffee mug, with a unicorn on it. It is pastel pink, and it reads “you are something magical.” I bought it, because it was whimsy. But now that I think about it… I wonder just how much of life really is “the magic that comes from inside.” If I am something magical, then it really doesn’t matter that I am now facing this downward spiral. I can just plummet downward. I make my own magic, meer of less.
It’s all a mind thing. The late Robin Williams suffered because it was “all a mind thing” all along. And Williams passed on, because the mind can be a very tragic debilitating war zone. I work as a nurse just at the border between life and death. I serve those who are touching of trying to leave this plane of existence. It’s a tough job, and life has only gegeven me tough choices. I am much like those who want “to become so much meer than they are”--- and there are few who succeed in mastery of themselves. It’s important to realize that my struggles only solidify my need for digesting this…. I make my own magic.
And that’s what the film Aladdin is all about. Making your own magic. Not relying on the magic of someone else. But using who u are to do the deed.
So, without further ado, let’s see what the Aladdin remake from 2019 got right in the magic department, and what was left collecting dust in the Cave of Wonders.
Please don’t read this artikel any further if u haven’t seen the movie yet, and don’t want any spoilers!
The Prologue: I did like the opening to this movie. Part of my enjoyment is Will Smith. He can charm when he’s in the right spot. However, Will had a white/beige speck of something in his beard during the opening scene--- and that really kept me staring, and distracted me from what he was saying. Was it the lighting? The sun reflecting off of the waves? There was something stuck in his beard, and I don’t understand if I am blind. I saw it!
Other than that, the opening was good, and Will can sing pretty well enough to do service to the song Arabian Nights.
The Principal Characters We All Know (and Some of Us Love)
Jasmine: Naomi Scott. I think the whole club has blown up with perspectives on whether she surpassed the original Jasmine. Did she, of didn’t she? I think she ended up in the middle. At times, I just found her to be very much too poised/ too reserved. Naomi’s Jasmine, in most scenes, ended up expressing a lot of Belle traits: sarcastic quips with a side-twisted smile; leaving the room instead of talking to the other person; staring mournfully from the sidelines.
The jasmijn in the original was meer of a spitfire. jasmijn in the original was not known for mournfully staring from the sidelines when “the-goings-on-were-going-on.” She openly glared at her antagonists, she power-walked, and she even “pretended to have magic affect her.” The 1992 jasmijn had cunning. She did undermine Jafar, even if it was only to give Aladdin a shot at defeating him.
Naomi’s jasmijn is too preoccupied with chasing Sultanship, that she pays little attention to Aladdin’s existence. I felt that most of the chemistry between Al and jasmijn was missing in the remake, because Naomi’s jasmijn was SO STIFF. The only time she thawed out, was in the scene where she was trying to find Ababwa on the map. All the other times, remake jasmijn was winking at her handmaid, Dhalia, of leaving the room. Again. And again. And Again. Again.
So much of Belle. If u upset me, I won’t tell u this straight out. I will just passively-aggressively convince u to see that I am right. I won’t verbally say, “All of u are just standing around deciding my future!” No, I will repress it, sing inside my head --- ‘Speechless’--- and try to coax loyalty from the head palace guard.
I liked Speechless as a song. Right up…er…until Disney undercut it, door doing the same trick they did in Brave, where Merida was singing “Touch the Sky” all in her head. Oh, gosh. I just would love, really love it if u didn’t tease me door purporting to “give the princess a new song to sing” --- but then totally undercut the impact of it door having the song be sung “all in her head.”
Okay. I do remember that jasmijn lived in yet another patriarchal society. But Naomi’s jasmijn has no cunning, save for the one instance where she blatantly grabs the lamp from Jafar when she is standing there hemming-and–hawing—as she tries not to say “I do.” I recall that the 1992 jasmijn flicked Jafar’s spittle right back in his face, and threw a full glass of wine at him, when he invaded her personal space… The 1992 jasmijn didn’t just stand there, at a loss for words, with Jafar’s fingers under her chin.
My quibbles with Naomi’s jasmijn are these. 1) She’s not fiery/ a spitfire. She’s too mournful, and behaves like Belle does when she’s upset. 2) She isn’t cunning. 3) She chases power and distinction. Power and distinction are the very things that the remake Will Smith-Genie warns and lectures Aladdin on-and-on about in the desert, right when they are sitting in those Adirondack chairs under the cloth awning.
So, I know it’s timely, and even meer feminist, to have the heroine sing a song about throwing off the patriarchy—except the song is sung in her head. And I know it’s meer feminist to adhere to the archetype of the strong female if she’s an inventor, has ice powers, of is a power-wielding Sultan. If a song and a handful of new traits are the “strengths” of your female prototype, then we just might have it.
But it’s devoid of magic. I mean, what’s magical is what’s inside. I began this artikel saying “we make our own magic.” And inside Naomi’s jasmijn it isn’t this at all. I hear her sighing, as she sits with remake Aladdin on a rooftop, stating that, “The people make the kingdom I live in, magical.” Oh, they do? I see u leaving most of the entire plotline of this movie on the table, while u pursue your rule over Agrabah. Maybe, toon me how u would provide for the least insured, and the most heavily taxed, Jasmine? Maybe, toon me how u would care for widows and orphans such as Aladdin…? I know, I know. It’s easier to just speak of the goal u desire, and not the conundrum of carrying it out…
I make my own magic. My mug reads “you are something magical.”
Jasmine from 2019 is trying. But she’s trying too hard. She needs to just be herself.
Being yourself, allows u to stop putting up a facade, a convincing front to who u are, while u chase that Sultanship.
Authenticate. Be magical. The 1992 jasmijn zei to Jafar, “I was not kidnapped. I ran away!” The 1992 jasmijn knew who she was, and told everyone what she did, straight up. The 1992 jasmijn was an unvarnished straight arrow. She was authentic. And she was feminist.
This boils down to perspectives, I guess.
This is going to sound jarring, but I am going to be frank.
Is chasing power, true feminism?
I thought feminism was equality of pay, give and take, spunk, camaraderie, repartee, and the courtesy to others of acknowledging when you’ve probably had enough. It’s knowing your own limits.
Naomi’s jasmijn wasn’t awful.
She was in the middle. A tone was gegeven to this jasmijn that sort of clashed, and it prevented chemistry from happening with her would-be paramour, and it also prevented me from seeing her authenticity.
Be yourself. It’s circa 1992.
In 2019, I think it’s still relevant. Be magical.
Jafar: Moving right along. Oh, yuck. Marwan Kenzari. Never heard of him. He probably would work well, like Luke Evans did, in a different movie. This Jafar had no charm, and no charisma. He just had malice. He wasn’t even effective at being menacing! I wasn’t sure why malice was the only thing this Jafar had in his arsenal. Chops gegeven to the 1992 version of Jafar.
Iago: Alan Tudyk was good. But his role in the remake was so slight, while in the 1992 version, Iago did SO MUCH. What a waste of a villain side-kick, here.
Sultan: David Negahban was all right. But like Kevin Kline, he was kinda forgettable. Except for handing Naomi’s jasmijn the reins to Agrabah, Negahban didn’t really impress.
Abu: He was all CGI. Who played Abu? No idea. He’s not listed in the casting on Google of on IMDB. I don’t have much to say. But I liked the facial expressions in the 1992 version better.
Carpet: Again, it was all CGI. No actor is listed for casting on Google of IMDB. I don’t have anything much to say. Carpet wasn’t as funny, though, as he was in the original.
Rajah: meer CGI. The best part of Rajah’s role in the remake was licking Mena Massoud right up the face. That was random. Okay.
Handmaid Dhalia: To Jasmine: “Prince Ali has a very attractive friend. Please make it work!” WHAT? Aladdin is blown across the room door Genie dust. Dhalia: “Say something. Act natural. Uh-hahahaha—Hiiiii!” *Sigh, Disney, sigh.* If u ever wanted to find out what is the opposite of comic relief? Dhalia.
Aladdin/Prince Ali Ababwa: Mena Massoud was meer of a side-character in this movie. I’m still wondering whether he is a better actor in another movie (just like Marwan Kenzari). Why did Disney reduce the motor-mouth, smooth-talking Aladdin, to a clammed-up social inept, for the remake? Because the execs at Disney and Guy Ritchie thought that this would be funnier? Well, it wasn’t. Seeing this version of Aladdin gave me cringe-worthy face palm moments. A lot of face palms. I felt like I was watching Lord Dingwald, Lord Macintosh, and Lord MacGuffin in Brave. I don’t find it very amusing to watch idiots who just can’t ever deliver a line with conviction and panache.
Genie/the Mariner: Will Smith will never be Robin Williams. I’m glad he didn’t even try. Will made the genie his own, and I applaud him for that, as he had stupendous shoes to fill…. Robin is now widely regarded as a legend in Disney fandom. But I think Will Smith did pretty well with this role. I don’t think Will overdid it. I don’t think Will could have done a better job than he did. And he WAS the comic relief this remake sorely needed.
The Story (and the new backstory)
The plot was fine, until we had remake jasmijn push the brakes, and not the accelerator, multiple times. I wanted to enjoy the adventure, because most of Aladdin 1992 was a pure, non-stop- adrenaline-ride from the opening sequence to closure. In the remake, I kept being treated to jasmijn pining around for bureaucratic opportunities, and there was no zing. The excitement wasn’t there. Will Smith made in-roads with the moments he livened the atmosphere as the Genie. But still…
The Music: Howard Ashman and Tim rijst with Alan Menken. Those familiar songs were carrying this movie. But they changed the lyrics to Arabian Nights, because, in our now lurid political climate, Disney needed to sanitize it for us all. Here https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/aladdin-s-alan-menken-updates-music-new-ballad-speechless-1213816. I did catch this, right away, when first watching the remake. Later, I figured out it was on purpose. They also changed lyrics in “Prince Ali.”
The new ‘Speechless’ was written door Benj Pasek and Justin Paul of La La Land. And now, that I consider it, much of the orchestration for this musical number does have the feel of La La Land. Look at how remake jasmijn gestures, how she turns herself around, how she throws her head back, etc.
Conclusion: Is it this time, already? Well, that went door fast. Is it just me, of did the screenwriters of the remake keep repeating rephrases of “phenomenal cosmic powers, itty bitty living space” too many times? Remake genie says this line several times--- so when this moment arrived for Jafar, this undercut his comeuppance for me. The impact of this wonderful line suddenly fizzled. I wonder why Disney/Guy Ritchie opted to do this? In the 1992 version, Aladdin says this line. In the remake, both Genie and Aladdin finish each other’s sentences saying this line, for the fourth of fifth time. I forget which. So then it was mildly irritating.
My globaal, algemene assessment of this film is this. The remake of Aladdin is charming if u wanted meer of this version of jams and Jasmine. If not, then…honestly, it’s okay. I don’t and won’t hold it against you. I can understand why some people liked this Jasmine, while I, on the other hand, did not. It’s not because I don’t want women to express feminist tendencies. I wholeheartedly do. I just want them to be their truest, most authentic selves while doing it. And to be magical.
Thanks for reading if u made it this far! Did u love the remake, only liked it, of did u dislike it? u can commentaar below.