I shall begin this প্রবন্ধ unconventionally, দ্বারা speaking of something personal. This বছর 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 প্রণয় life (which remains laughable), and to my very health. I have been really sick. I relate to the আলাদীন of the 1992 film, even আরো so now, than when I first shook his hand in 1992. I relate to being constantly dirt poor, scared out of my mind, living দিন to দিন on the edge of the precipice, and skirting দ্বারা through just the slimmest of margins. Every দিন is starting to look a lot like yesterday…. And I can see why আলাদীন wants people “to look closer” at him, and see that “there’s so much আরো to me.” *cue সঙ্গীত 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, আরো অথবা 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 অথবা trying to leave this plane of existence. It’s a tough job, and life has only প্রদত্ত me tough choices. I am much like those who want “to become so much আরো 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 আলাদীন is all about. Making your own magic. Not relying on the magic of someone else. But using who আপনি are to do the deed.
So, without further ado, let’s see what the আলাদীন 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 প্রবন্ধ any further if আপনি 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, অথবা 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 জুঁই in the original was আরো of a spitfire. জুঁই 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 জুঁই had cunning. She did undermine Jafar, even if it was only to give আলাদীন a shot at defeating him.
Naomi’s জুঁই 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 জুঁই was missing in the remake, because Naomi’s জুঁই 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 জুঁই was winking at her handmaid, Dhalia, অথবা leaving the room. Again. And again. And Again. Again.
So much of Belle. If আপনি upset me, I won’t tell আপনি this straight out. I will just passively-aggressively convince আপনি to see that I am right. I won’t verbally say, “All of আপনি 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 ডিজনি undercut it, দ্বারা doing the same trick they did in Brave, where Merida was গান গাওয়া “Touch the Sky” all in her head. Oh, gosh. I just would love, really প্রণয় it if আপনি didn’t tease me দ্বারা purporting to “give the princess a new song to sing” --- but then totally undercut the impact of it দ্বারা having the song be sung “all in her head.”
Okay. I do remember that জুঁই lived in yet another patriarchal society. But Naomi’s জুঁই 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 জুঁই 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 জুঁই didn’t just stand there, at a loss for words, with Jafar’s fingers under her chin.
My quibbles with Naomi’s জুঁই 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 আলাদীন 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 আরো 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 আরো feminist to adhere to the archetype of the strong female if she’s an inventor, has ice powers, অথবা 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 প্রবন্ধ saying “we make our own magic.” And inside Naomi’s জুঁই it isn’t this at all. I hear her sighing, as she sits with remake আলাদীন on a rooftop, stating that, “The people make the kingdom I live in, magical.” Oh, they do? I see আপনি leaving most of the entire plotline of this movie on the table, while আপনি pursue your rule over Agrabah. Maybe, প্রদর্শনী me how আপনি would provide for the least insured, and the most heavily taxed, Jasmine? Maybe, প্রদর্শনী me how আপনি would care for widows and orphans such as Aladdin…? I know, I know. It’s easier to just speak of the goal আপনি 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 আপনি to stop putting up a facade, a convincing front to who আপনি are, while আপনি chase that Sultanship.
Authenticate. Be magical. The 1992 জুঁই ব্যক্ত to Jafar, “I was not kidnapped. I ran away!” The 1992 জুঁই knew who she was, and told everyone what she did, straight up. The 1992 জুঁই 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 জুঁই wasn’t awful.
She was in the middle. A tone was প্রদত্ত to this জুঁই 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 প্রদত্ত 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 জুঁই 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 গুগুল অথবা 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 গুগুল অথবা IMDB. I don’t have anything much to say. Carpet wasn’t as funny, though, as he was in the original.
Rajah: আরো 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? আলাদীন is blown across the room দ্বারা Genie dust. Dhalia: “Say something. Act natural. Uh-hahahaha—Hiiiii!” *Sigh, Disney, sigh.* If আপনি ever wanted to find out what is the opposite of comic relief? Dhalia.
Aladdin/Prince Ali Ababwa: Mena Massoud was আরো 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 ডিজনি reduce the motor-mouth, smooth-talking Aladdin, to a clammed-up social inept, for the remake? Because the execs at ডিজনি and Guy Ritchie thought that this would be funnier? Well, it wasn’t. Seeing this version of আলাদীন 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 ডিজনি 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 জুঁই push the brakes, and not the accelerator, multiple times. I wanted to enjoy the adventure, because most of আলাদীন 1992 was a pure, non-stop- adrenaline-ride from the opening sequence to closure. In the remake, I kept being treated to জুঁই 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 ধান 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, ডিজনি 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 দ্বারা 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 জুঁই gestures, how she turns herself around, how she throws her head back, etc.
Conclusion: Is it this time, already? Well, that went দ্বারা fast. Is it just me, অথবা 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, আলাদীন says this line. In the remake, both Genie and আলাদীন finish each other’s sentences saying this line, for the fourth অথবা fifth time. I forget which. So then it was mildly irritating.
My সামগ্রিক assessment of this film is this. The remake of আলাদীন is charming if আপনি wanted আরো 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 পাঠ করা if আপনি made it this far! Did আপনি প্রণয় the remake, only liked it, অথবা did আপনি dislike it? আপনি can মতামত below.