So, I accompanied my three daughters who put their childhoods in Disney’s hands today as we saw the live action adaption of the animated Aladdin.
The verdict was positive.
Merging the existing storyline with some modern cultural sensitivity and some bollywood stylisation enabled the whole thing to appear more worthy without taking itself far too seriously.
The absence of Robin Williams was always going to be the greatest challenge; Williams was capable of subversion and pathos without alienating audiences or descending to sentimentalism. The movie’s solution is to allow Will Smith to play himself, a popularly likeable figure while also providing the character a story arc that effectively helps him bridge the emotional gap that Williams carried the first movie over.
The character development of Jasmine makes sense, with her song bringing the more recent power ballad style song (ie Let It Go) into the plot to stand alongside the more classic musical numbers. It also seems that the original probably lacked an ‘I Want’ song, so this provides that as well.
Some rebalancing of Jaffar and Iago meant Iago is more restrained and Jaffar is far more emotive, which makes some sense.
Anyway, not too bad.
We await The Lion King.