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Aladdin (2019)

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Aladdin
Aladdin 2019.jpg
This whole new world isn't what it used to be.
Genre: Musical
Fantasy
Directed By: Guy Ritchie
Produced By: Dan Lin
Jonathan Eirich
Written By: John August
Guy Ritchie
Based On: Disney's Aladdin
by Ron Clements
John Musker
Ted Elliott
Terry Rossio
Aladdin and the Magic Lamp from One Thousand and One Nights
Starring: Will Smith
Mena Massoud
Naomi Scott
Marwan Kenzari
Navid Negahban
Nasim Pedrad
Billy Magnussen
Photography: Color
Cinematography: Alan Stewart
Distributed By: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release Date: May 8, 2019 (Grand Rex)
May 24, 2019 (United States)
Runtime: 128 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $183 million
Box Office: $1.051 billion
Sequel: Untitled Aladdin sequel


Aladdin (not to be confused with the 1992 film of the same name) is a 2019 American live-action animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Guy Ritchie, from a script he co-wrote with John August, it is a live-action adaptation of Disney's 1992 animated film of the same name, which itself is based on the eponymous tale from One Thousand and One Nights. The film stars Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen, and Numan Acar, as well as the voices of Alan Tudyk and Frank Welker, the latter of whom reprises his roles from all previous media. Aladdin held its world premiere at the Grand Rex in Paris, France on May 8, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on May 24, 2019.

Plot

Aladdin is a lovable street urchin who meets Princess Jasmine, the beautiful daughter of the sultan of Agrabah. While visiting her exotic palace, Aladdin stumbles upon a magic oil lamp that unleashes a powerful, wisecracking, larger-than-life genie. As Aladdin and the genie start to become friends, they must soon embark on a dangerous mission to stop the evil sorcerer, Jafar, from overthrowing young Jasmine's kingdom.

Bad Qualities

  1. The movie is rather pointless, it isn't very different from the original 1992 film which is still very accessible other than being told more from Jasmine's point of view and the new elements it adds don't improve the story. Additionally, a large part of the reason the original movie worked was due to the animation it used, however that factor is lost when done as live-action.
  2. Some of the acting isn't great. For example:
    • Jafar’s actor, Marwan Kenzari, is atrocious in the role and is probably one of the worst parts of the movie. His parrot sidekick Iago has been downplayed from a snarky talking loudmouth to an ordinary parrot. Not to mention that Gilbert Gottfried didn't reprise for his role even though he was still alive.
    • Mena Massoud does not give a good performance as Aladdin.
  3. The visuals are weak and the CGI isn't very good, especially with the Will Smith Genie which received backlash before release, following the release special sneak peek of the film during the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, which later became a large number of memes and Photoshop edits mocking Will Smith's appearance in the sneak peek, several of which compared it with Tobias Fünke (from Arrested Development) painted in blue in an attempt to join the Blue Man Group.
  4. Prince Anders is a useless character, other than being a toned-down whitewashed Prince Achmed.
  5. While Will Smith does a good job at playing the Genie, he isn't that fit to play him. While he does have the charisma, he can't pull off the wacky expressions or spot-on impressions Robin Williams did (Not helped by the restrictions of live-action), and he looks like he's dying on set when on screen, which can get jarring.
  6. Bland directing of Guy Ritchie, who would later direct better films like The Gentlemen and Wrath of Man.
  7. The film montages the first 20 minutes which is bad because these moments help build character and Jasmine escapes the palace and talks with the townspeople way too quickly.
  8. Most of the songs, with some exceptions, are not that good, Prince Ali in particular is an auto-tuned mess with hardly any energy.
  9. Bland characters, especially Jafar who is basically as bland as a villain can get.
  10. The new character in the film, Dalia, is not only unnecessary, but also annoying. She only serves as nothing more but a filler love interest.
  11. Poor attempts at comedy, unlike the original film where the humor is spot-on and highly hilarious.
  12. Pointless subplot in which the Genie falls in love with Jasmine's handmaiden that feels like padding.
  13. Lots of scenes from the original film like the snake scene are cut for some reason.
  14. In a strange turn of events, the film can feel like it’s more focused on Jasmine than Aladdin. Granted, her portrayal is great, but it ends up feeling more like a live action spin-off in the veins of Maleficent and Cruella.

Good Qualities

  1. The renditions of One Jump Ahead and Friend Like Me are good.
    • Speaking of the latter, that sequence, in particular, does provide what most remakes should be: something that feels rather different from the original (with Will Smith's hip-hop flare) but still captures the charm that made it so beloved.
  2. The song Speechless is an awesome song, despite being out of place.
  3. The references to the original 1992 version are nostalgia-inducing, like the cameo of Robin Williams' Genie and the animated Aladdin and Sultan.
  4. Naomi Scott gives a great performance as Jasmine.
  5. The costume designs look really nice.
  6. Frank Welker reprises his three roles from the original: Abu, Rajah, and the Cave of Wonders.
    • Even some of the dubs had reprised roles. Brazilian Portuguese (The Genie), German (Iago from the sequels), Hungarian (Iago), and Japanese (the Genie). The Italian voice of The Genie (the late Gigi Proietti) voices the Sultan instead.
    • Disney India even had fitting celebrity voice casting choices, such as Aladdin being voiced by Armaan Malik in Hindi and Varun Tej in Telugu, plus Venkatesh as the Genie in the latter dub.
  7. Human Genie is actually better than the Blue Genie, as it's basically Will Smith being himself. Additionally, Will Smith's performance was praised by critics and audiences alike.
  8. It fixes a bunch of issues the original had:
    • The Cave of Wonders' line was changed from "Touch nothing but the lamp" to "Take nothing but the lamp" as in the original Aladdin touched the rocks and Carpet, yet nothing bad happened (albeit neither of them might've counted)
    • Aladdin wastes his first wish via "grey area" rather than the Genie saving him being his second wish.
    • Jasmine getting more appropriate outfits, rather than skimpy bikini-like crop tops.
    • The A Whole New World scene is a more regional flight than an international one, especially fixing the Egypt scene.
    • Jafar wishing to become the most powerful BEING in the universe, rather than a genie, but The Genie takes advantage of the grey area, and turns him into a Genie anyways.
  9. The deleted scene with the Genie's last summoners making wishes with terrible consequences would've been a good scene and it was pretty hilarious.

Reception

Critical response

Aladdin was met with mixed reception, with praise for its musical score, costume design, humor, and the performances of Smith, Massoud, and Scott, but criticism for Ritchie's direction, the Genie's CGI, Kenzari's performance as Jafar, and the screenplay as well as comparing the film unfavorably to the original film. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a critic approval rating of 57%, with an average rating of 5.91/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Aladdin retells its classic source material's story with sufficient spectacle and skill, even if it never approaches the dazzling splendor of the animated original". On Metacritic, the film has a critic score of 53/100 indicating "mixed or average reviews".

Despite the mixed reception from critics, the audience reception was mostly mixed-to-positive. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 90% (with an average of 4.5 stars out of 5) and a 70% "definite recommend." The audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes is a 94%, with an average rating of 4.58/5. On Metacritic and IMDb, while still positive, the user scores are lower than that of Rotten Tomatoes', with a user score of 6.7/10 and 7/10 respectively.

Box office

Despite the mixed reception, the film was a massive box office hit, grossing $1.051 billion against its $183 million budget. The film crossed the $1 billion mark on July 26, 2019, becoming the 41st film to ever reach the milestone. Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $356 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.

In the United States and Canada, Aladdin was released alongside Booksmart and Brightburn, and was projected to gross around $80 million from 4,476 theaters over its four-day opening weekend over Memorial Day. While Disney was projecting a $75–85 million debut, some independent trackers had the film opening to as low as $65 million or as high as $100 million. The film made $31 million on its first day, including $7 million from Thursday night previews, the second-best total of the Disney live action remakes. The film ended up overperforming, grossing $91.5 million in its three-day opening weekend, and $116.8 million over four days during the extended Memorial Day frame. It was the third biggest opening of 2019 at the time (behind Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel), and the fifth-highest Memorial Day launch ever, as well as the best debut of Ritchie's career and second best of Smith's. The film then grossed $11.9 million on its fifth day, the biggest post-Memorial Day Tuesday ever. In its second weekend, the film made $42.3 million, finishing second, behind newcomer Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and then made $24.7 million in its third weekend, finishing third. It retained the third-place position at the box office during its fourth and fifth weekends with $17.3 million and $13.2 million, respectively.

Worldwide, the film was expected to open to an additional $100–120 million, including $10–20 million in China. It went on to gross $123.2 million from foreign territories in its three-day opening weekend, for an overall global debut of $214.7 million. It was the number-one film in every Latin American and Asian territory where it was released. Its biggest international openings were in China ($18.7 million), Mexico ($9.2 million), the United Kingdom ($8.4 million), Italy ($6.6 million), and South Korea ($6.5 million). It also won the second best opening of 2019 in Italy, Spain, Indonesia, and Vietnam. In India, it debuted with ₹220 million (US$2.9 million), the year's third best opening for a foreign film (behind Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel). By Monday, the film had a global four-day launch of $255 million. In its second weekend of international release the film made $78.3 million from 54 countries, remaining number one in 32 of them. In its fourth international weekend, Aladdin remained number one in twenty countries. By the end of June 2019, the film surpassed Independence Day (1996) to become the highest-grossing film of Will Smith's career. As of 19 August 2019, the film's top five international markets are Japan ($110.1 million), South Korea ($90.4 million), China ($53.5 million), the United Kingdom ($46.4 million), and Mexico ($32.5 million).

It topped the UK box office for four weeks. In the Middle East, it had the best Ramadan opening ever in the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, and went on to become the highest-grossing release of all time in the Middle East. In Japan, the film debuted with $12.9 million, the year's highest opening weekend for a foreign film, surpassing Avengers: Endgame. As of September 2019, it is the year's second highest-grossing film in Japan (behind Weathering with You), and one of the top 20 highest-grossing films ever in Japan. In South Korea, it grossed over $82 million from over 11.4 million ticket sales as of July 2019, making it the year's third highest-grossing film and second highest-grossing foreign film in South Korea, as well as the third highest-grossing foreign film ever in South Korea and the highest grossing Disney film ever (not including the MCU) in the country.

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