Is the new version of ‘Aladdin’ good?

Published 9:09 am Thursday, May 30, 2019

First I should confess that I was a big fan of Disney’s last film production of “Aladdin.” I liked the music, I liked the characters and the story was grand.

That version was fully animated and was released in 1992. Wow, it does not seem that long. It is hard to realize that the time has passed.

Roger Thomas

Now Disney is offering us a new live-action version of “Aladdin” 27 years later.

Do we need one of those?

Is this film better than the fully animated film of 1992?

What are the differences?

Are there improvements in the second film that is truly impressive?

Or are there missteps in this new version?

I have answers to all of these questions.

First, the best element of the new version of the film is Will Smith’s performance of the big blue Genie. That was great casting. Smith has received two Oscar nominations, one for Best Actor for “Ali” and the other for Best Actor for “The Pursuit of Happiness.”

Smith is good in “Aladdin” and the Academy likes him, so he might get a third nomination.

However, musical and comedy performances seldom reach the top tier so maybe my choice for Genie to win may just be a Genie’s wish.

There are other parts of the film that are great assets. The music from the 1992 version is there. And I am pretty sure that there is one extra song that was not in the original film. The song is sung by Naomi Scott, who plays Jasmine. It is a good song like all the ones in the film.

Disney is probably eyeing this new song for an Oscar nomination and maybe a golden statue for “Best Song” Oscar. It all depends to what other songs will be up as well.

Another strength of the film is the special effects. The animated film was fun, but visually the new film is much more spectacular.

Watching those visuals are some of the best moments in the film.

The production design is equally spectacular. There are many things to see in this film and most of them are most impressive.

The artists in these two categories should be patting themselves on their backs for creating some of the best moments of the film.

Ultimately, unfortunately, I wanted more. I wanted for the film to satisfy me, and yet it let me down.

I remember when the Disney magicians turned the animated “Jungle Book” film into something beyond my imagination. I have loved “Jungle Book” since I was a child.

When a new version was created by Disney Artists, it produced something simply remarkable. That film had all the amazement it needed. I left the film pleased, very pleased.

I am not as big a fan of Aladdin as I am of “Jungle Book,” but I still wanted to love this Disney recreation. But a few elements left me viewing the film disappointed.

First, I think the film is too long. Some things should have been cut.

My most harsh word though is that I suggest that the filmmakers should have eliminated a few of the endings.

It seemed that the film kept ending when it only needed one ending. A good one would be the best choice, not five or so endings that did not cut it.

So once again, I liked some of it and was disappointed at other moments, but now I am going to move on.

I am looking ahead toward this summer’s new version of “The Lion King.” May that film be better than “Aladdin” and as good as Disney’s recent remake of “Jungle Book.”

Disney can redeem themselves before September if the “King” really roars.

Roger W. Thomas of Albemarle reviews films for The Stanly News & Press.