If the average person of today got a magic lamp, odds are the fulfillments for each of their three wishes would be seen in the fantasy, Aladdin.
Wish #1: Rule by a king…
…beneath the Magic Kingdom. That’s right, a mouse king ruler who cares more about entertainment than moral direction of those beneath himself. What’s the problem with having such a king? He makes the public believe an attractive person without artistic talent has such a thing. Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine succumbs to that very curse as she gives some incredibly painful acting. Her forgetful new song, “Speechless,” adds nothing of narrative importance, proving a big fat fail in this cinematic product’s attempt at further expanding Cinderella’s castle into homes worldwide. The magic winds up absent all throughout, it’s not found in the single-shot-take that opens the feature by sweeping through a street, palace, and cave, and it’s especially not found in the “A Whole New World” number where Aladdin and Jasmine just sit and sing and go nowhere. There’s no magic because there’s no heat in any human conflict to suggest anyone there is even awake and alert.
Ironically most of the energy comes from cases of Will Smith’s rapping that is weirdly out of place even by Genie standards. This whole movie in fact feels like a package of 90’s nostalgia with all the original songs having the rock band remix treatment as if listening to Disney Mania 5. That package includes watching the actors standing awkwardly in moments that ironically are when Will Smith is his funniest… because everyone else is comparatively worse. The Lion King remake will most likely resort to similar artistic exterior to overshadow the interior. It’s honestly insulting to know that this film’s focus on looking pretty goes against the theme of Beauty and the Beast: beauty is found within. If somebody in the production crew lived by that, then this music video for nostalgic millennials would have remembered the satirical tongue-in-cheek humor the original animated feature wasn’t afraid to exploit.
Wish #2: No racism.
Even good desires, particularly money, can turn evil when it’s wanted for the wrong reasons. In this case, trying to fight hatred between two ethnicities could lead to forced political correctness that results in accidental racism. In this location of purely Arab people, one Caucasian is cast to play a Scottish man speaking with a horrible, HORRIBLE accent—the opposite of progressive. The whole cast in fact seems aware about their amplified stereotypes, Will Smith in particular clearly seems aware of the contradictory dialogue. One minute, he tells Aladdin to be genuine, then the very next, he encourages the opposite by making him dance against his will.
The treatment of gender is fatally flawed too, even a female-directed motion picture starring an almost completely male cast, The Hurt Locker, empowers women better than this does. Jasmine is way less brave than her animated counterpart; she won’t even jump across rooftops without a street rat’s help. It’s invigorating how these cultural stereotypes do more harm than good at Hollywood diversity, and director Guy Ritchie deserves a lot of the blame. He decides to exploit impressive screen spectacle with the Cave of Wonders and the “Friend Like Me” musical number, but because no tonal consistency is established, the cast never does anything besides let their hands dangle.
Wish #3: Inaccessibility to weapons.
You may think, “What family entertainment goes against its own violence prevention initiative?” Simple. Mena Massoud as Aladdin hurts your eyes to watch his survival of each laborious production day; he hurts your ears to hear him talk-sing while reading off a cue-card. Your tongue will hurt from tasting the bad dance choreography; your brain will hurt from the stupid adaptation mistakes (the “Prince Ali” number lyrics mention “White” Persian monkeys, yet the monkeys seen are NOT white). Afterward, you come home aching over the whole face, pain that will transfer into your soul.
The torture then continues when a dull end credits dance number finalizes that nobody there had fun at any point of production. Guy Ritchie’s vomit-colored peaceful efforts drops a bomb with a big “US” written on the side for Saudi Arabia. Then, when the bomb explodes on land, it makes their cities look just as ugly as Aladdin makes it all look. While that country is not a terrorist nation like the news think, it’s also not a mouse-guarded honeypot lamp free for kids to go rub.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Aladdin. Disney Movies. Web. <https://movies.disney.com/aladdin-2019>.
Debruge, Peter. “Credit: Daniel Smith.” Digital image. Variety. WordPress, 22 May 2019. Web. <https://variety.com/2019/film/reviews/aladdin-review-1203223305/>.