The first reactions for Disney's live-action Aladdin remake are in and they're surprisingly positive. Disney has released plenty of reimaginings of their classic animated movies over the last several years, and they have largely been successful. Fans of the original films have been excited to see the stories and characters in a new light in the past, but Aladdin has been a difficult movie to properly gauge interest in. While there is certainly a built-in audience for the movie, it has also had one of the more controversial developmental cycles for Disney's remakes.
The doubts started early with Guy Ritchie serving as the director, while the casting of Mena Massoud as Aladdin and Naomi Scott as Jasmine, while talented, lacked star power. Disney instead elected to have the Genie be the A-list star, with Will Smith taking over the role that Robin Williams made famous, and shaky CGI in the marketing didn't help dismiss doubters over the new take on the character. Outside of a few smaller pieces of marketing, Aladdin has had a difficult time gaining positive buzz, but that now appears to be changing.
The first press screenings of Aladdin have now happened and Disney allowed those who have seen the film to share their NON-SPOILER reactions to the movie online. There is still an embargo on full reviews, but these early reactions to Aladdin are fairly positive. Check out a collection of them, including thoughts from Screen Rant's Alex Leadbeater, below:
The middle courting act with Aladdin playing off Jasmine and Genie is so clearly the best part the movie actually rushes to get there. I wish it had been able to even more lean into what worked https://t.co/vdsvufeW2F— Alex Leadbeater (@ADLeadbeater) May 16, 2019
Wasn't too fussed by this guy though... pic.twitter.com/NiXJfF8QZg— Alex Leadbeater (@ADLeadbeater) May 16, 2019
#Aladdin Thoughts: A lavish and enjoyable retelling, but not enough of A Whole New World to fully succeed.— Digital Spy (@digitalspy) May 8, 2019
Mena Massoud/Naomi Scott are great, while Will Smith brings a fun energy to his take on the Genie, even if the CGI lets him down. The less said about Jafar, the better 😬 pic.twitter.com/LTJfkVZKYn
Can confirm that the majority of your concerns about #Aladdin, especially anything Will Smith-related, will vanish once that first big song kicks in, but my pick for MVP has got to be @BillyMagnussen! He might just be a comedy genius in waiting. pic.twitter.com/0rMs5S0axn— Rory Cashin (@roarEcashin) May 8, 2019
So #Aladdin is Disney's second-best recent remake, after Pete's Dragon.— Andrew Jones (@EthanRunt) May 8, 2019
Proudly a musical fantasy adventure, the jokes are strong, Smith's Genie is a lot of fun, the human leads work well. It's 20 minutes too long, but works a charm for the entire run.
Will Smith credits rap!!!
The issues really are technical and I noticed them more this time. Too many cuts and bad framing so I stand by that Guy Ritchie should not have directed this movie.— Hanna Ines Flint (@HannaFlint) May 16, 2019
Just out of #Aladdin. Not a disaster but v uneven - some of the fistpumpy moments don’t feel earned, and some interesting ideas are a bit undercooked. But Naomi Scott does well, and once the sub-Robin Williams intros are out the way, Will Smith is good fun too— Shaun Kitchener (@ShaunKitchener) May 16, 2019
My expectations were in the gutter, but #Aladdin was so much more fun than it had the right to be. The two leads were great and the visuals were amazing. Much better than Dumbo.— Joe (@JoePassmore) May 16, 2019
The early positive reactions for Aladdin are somewhat surprising, given the general response to the film's marketing before hand, but it would appear that this could just be a case of Disney not being able to cut together a proper trailer. While the movie certainly isn't perfect, the brightest spots appear to be Massoud and Scott and their believable chemistry. Since so much of Aladdin rests on this relationship, audiences buying into it should go a long way. It also sounds like Smith's Genie worked for most, with the song and dance numbers also delivering.
The shortcomings with Aladdin appear to be two-fold based on these reactions too. The movie's story is obviously familiar, even with a few changes and "fixes" made to it, so many could be underwhelmed in that regard - unless they want to see as faithful of an adaptation as possible. There's also some who found issues with the pacing and length of the movie, while one other common criticism appears to be the villain Jafar. Even with these faults, it appears the good aspects of Aladdin outweigh them and make for an enjoyable blockbuster. As long as the positive takes continue from this point on, then Disney may just have a hit on their hands after all.
Source: Various (see links)
- Aladdin (2019) release date: May 24, 2019