This month on Dispodopolis, we discuss the live-action movie Aladdin. Twenty-seven years have passed since the original Aladdin cartoon was introduced to millions of children around the world. It was an instant hit that has remained in the hearts of those children that will now be taking their children to see this Disney classic. Box office numbers don’t lie, and this movie was well received. I had no idea this movie would do as well as it did, and it makes me rethink the release of Lion King that is coming later this summer.
We start our discussion focused on the talent that made this film possible. Some of the production team surprised us, and some are lesser-known artists that have worked for Disney for years. The director of Aladdin is Guy Ritchie, and this is his first attempt at a family film. He comes from a background of Sherlock Holmes and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. He co-wrote the movie with John August who has an extensive relationship with Tim Burton. Music of course was created by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman with the addition of a new song composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. They have an extensive background in the song “Speechless” didn’t have us leaving for more and may have been a little too literal. The duo known as Pasek and Paul has been very successful on Broadway.
The acting was well done and was provided by lesser-known actors that did a fantastic job playing their part and could sing well. When the lead needs to be a singer, the actor is usually lesser-known but a well-trained singer. A case in point is Will Smith and his lackluster voice performance. He has a weak voice but makes up for it with his comedic timing. Aladdin introduces us to a fresh-faced Jasmine, Naomi Scott, whose mother is original from Uganda, and was one of the stars in Lemonade Mouth on the Disney Channel. Aladdin is played by Mena Massoud, who is from Canada but was born in Egypt, and has played many roles on Canadian television. Even if the chemistry between Aladdin and Jasmine wasn’t working on screen, it was working with their supporting actors.
The cast was rounded out with Jafar played by Marwan Kenzari, who is Dutch and was raised in a Tunisian family. He was fabulously wicked. Navid Negahban, who plays the Sultan and is originally from Iran but currently resides in the US, has had numerous characters in a variety of roles as a supporting actor. He was so believable as an older gentleman and made me feel beyond my years since he is only four years my elder.
There are a few moments in this film that worked well and a few that missed their target. One of the moments that worked amazingly well is when Aladdin as Prince Ali introduces himself to Jasmine and is describing the gifts he has brought for her. This scene had everyone wanting to crawl under their seat, and Will Smith as the Genie was verbalizing how we all felt. One of the best awkward moments in film history.
Two moments didn’t work quite as well. One was when they missed a connection opportunity for Jasmine and Aladdin on the dance floor. The other was when my kids were not impressed with the Aladdin and Jasmine journey on the magic carpet. A whole new world played in the background as they visited the imaginary oasis’ that surrounded Agrabah. My kids were ready to see the world, which may have been fascinating if they had kept it in line with the timeline of the movie.
Before we discuss Aladdin, we describe all the fun we had at the Get Your Ears On – A Mickey and Minnie Celebration. From the awesome Tomorrowland Get Your Ears On Dance Party to Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, there was something for everyone all day long. We weren’t able to experience the night time light and firework show, but sometimes sensory issues get in the way. Numerous food choices were available through both parks at almost every food service experience.
We tried as much as we could and had mixed reviews of our choices, but found some crowd favorites. We were able to venture to new venues where we had some amazing food we wouldn’t have discovered without the celebration. Hoping they keep or bring back the cookies and cream shake at Schmoozies. The festivities ended June 7th right before the big summer crowds, but leaving it in place for the first couple of opening weekends of Disney’s new Star Wars inspired land, Galaxy’s Edge.
Before we jump into our discussion of Aladdin and Get Your Ears On – A Mickey and Minnie Celebration, we ask ourselves the question. Which snack would we like to have available at home? With all the new snacks for the Get Your Ears On celebration, we couldn’t help ourselves.
We would love to hear from you and your family. If you have any comments, questions, or fun and fancy-free thoughts for us, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please enjoy our latest podcast, Dispodopolis.
Images from: waltdisneystudios.com