Jake’s Take At the Movies: ‘Aladdin’ (2019 Version)

Walt Disney Pictures produced a live-action adaptation of Aladdin. (Photo property of Jake’s Take)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

Aladdin remains one of my all-time favorite Disney cartoon films! I remembered being transported to Agrabah and meeting Aladdin, Jasmine, and the one and only Genie (voiced by the late Robin Williams).  I was surprised and intrigued to learn that Walt Disney Pictures was going to bring a live action adaption of Aladdin to the silver screen.

Warning! Brief story spoilers are ahead!

The live action adaption of Aladdin still follows the story of the orphan Aladdin (Mena Massoud) as he tries to survive in the kingdom of Agrabah. However, he runs into this mysterious woman in the marketplace named “Dalia.” Little does our hero know that Dalia is really Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott).  Meanwhile, the villainous Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) is searching for “The Diamond in the Rough” in order to search for a certain magic lamp that would give him the ability to overthrow Jasmine’s father, The Sultan (Navid Negahban) and rule Agrabah.

End of Spoilers

I thought that Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott did an impeccable job bringing Aladdin and Jasmine to life. They were able to embody the iconic Disney couple, which will put smiles on viewers’ faces.  Also, thanks to the show-stopping songwriting duo of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Jasmine finally has a powerful tune to call her own. Naomi Scott gave me chills when she performed “Speechless,” an anthem that could give “Let It Go” a run for its money.

As for Will Smith’s Genie, he made the classic character his own. Aladdin fans would be relieved to know that the Men in Black actor and rapper that he did not trample on Robin Williams’ legacy. This Genie is more of a mentor to Massoud’s Aladdin and the duo play off each other very well.

Visually, the 2019 live action adaptation did a superb job bringing some of the animated film’s recognizable songs to life. Fans will be more than satisfied as how director Guy Ritchie visualized “Prince Ali,” “Friend Like Me,” and “A Whole New World.” The CGI was also on point and viewers will be immediately ready to visit Agrabah.

There are three slight problems that I had with Aladdin. First, Marwen Kenzari was a subpar Jafar! I wish he had the opportunity to watch original voice actor Jonathan Freeman, who is currently celebrating his fifth anniversary of portraying Agrabah’s Grand Vizier on Broadway, for advice.  Also, I wished that Ritchie and his production team hired Naveen Andrews or Oded Fehr to play the role.  Both men portrayed Jafar excellently on both Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and Once Upon a Time respectively.

Secondly, I thought that the film should have incorporated several songs from both the film and the Broadway show. Fans would have cried if Massoud’s Aladdin sang “Proud of Your Boy,” while trembling as Kenzari’s Jafar performed “Why Me” or his taunting reprise of “Prince Ali.” Finally, Gilbert Gottfried should have returned to voiced Iago! Actor Alan Tudyk voiced Jafar’s sidekick in this edition. The legendary comedian would have added more comedy into the film.

Final thoughts and grade: Despite those small technicalities and missed opportunities, Disney’s Aladdin is a good live action adaptation that will satisfy fans. However, if you miss it in theatres, you might want to wait for the film to go on Disney’s streaming service. B-/B


  1. […] team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul gave Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) an anthem for the 2019 live action remake of Disney’s Aladdin. “Speechless” is a beautifully-penned tune that could give “Let It Go” a run for its money […]

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  3. […] a massive year for Disney fans as they flocked to theatres to see the live-action adaptions of Disney’s Aladdin and Disney’s The Lion King.  Both films featured original songs that were composed […]

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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar