Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Aladdin (2019)

Come on down, stop on by, hope a carpet and fly.

Summary: In a faraway land called Agrabah lives a young street thief named Aladdin (Mena Massoud), who struggles to get by with his monkey Abu. One fateful day, he runs into the Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) in disguise and falls for her. This gives the royal vizier Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) the opportunity he’s looking for to plunder the mystical Cave of Wonders, using Aladdin as a guinea pig to try and obtain a magic lamp. When Aladdin gets trapped in the cave, he finds out that the lamp contains an all-powerful genie (Will Smith) who not only helps him escape certain doom, but agrees to turn him into a prince to help win Jasmine’s favor. Of course, Jafar still has aspirations for power and Jasmine isn’t ready to let him ruin everything her parents built, so it’s only a matter of time before everything collides together to create a sandstorm of chaos.

Review: Aladdin (2019) made history by being the first live-action Disney remake that I would actually watch again. Sure, it may not have the vibrancy and energy of the original animated classic, but I dare say it holds up on its own. Naomi Scott is definitely the best actor and singer and as far as I’m concerned, she *is* Princess Jasmine. The others are perhaps a bit too subdued for their own good and while Will Smith is charming, I’m not totally sold on him as the Genie. Of course, good old Robin left behind some big shoes to fill, so I’m not going to hold too much against him (plus this is the best movie I’ve seen Will in recently after a string of duds).

Once again, Disney tries to make some “improvements” on the original, this time by making Agrabah more authentic and less like Las Vegas’ take on the Middle East. They also try to make things a bit more relevant by having Jafar trying to push the Sultan to war against his allies while also making him more complex by having him come from a lower social status. Jasmine also has a stronger arc, especially in the climax, and even gets her own original song that turns out to be fairly memorable (unlike the original songs in the new Beauty and the Beast).  But there was one change that didn’t sit well: the addition of Prince Anders (Billy Magnussen), an unfunny suitor for Jasmine that more than overstayed his welcome. I wouldn’t mention it except that Disney has apparently decided to give him his own Disney+ spinoff, which is quickly turning into the company’s least popular move of the decade.

I don’t think this will ever replace the original animated movie in everyone’s minds, but it’s fairly enjoyable on its own. Enough of it has been tweaked that it stands on its own feet and it sounds like people have taken to it. I also have to give it credit for lifting some melodies from the Broadway show, even if it didn’t grab any full songs. I honestly don’t know what I was expecting, but I can say for certain that it exceeded them.

Fun Tidbit: So originally this movie got a little heat for casting Naomi Scott, who is of Indian descent, as Jasmine who is generally seen as more Middle Eastern. Turns out this was a bit premature as this version of Jasmine was written to be of partial Indian (or the in-universe equivalent thereof) descent. In fact, tying in with this is a final number during the credits that appears to be an homage to Bollywood dance numbers that close out certain films (see Slumdog Millionaire or Om Shanti Om).

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