A genie in a lamp, a magic carpet and Will Smith painted blue … what else could you ask for?
Disney’s original Aladdin, a cartoon classic that tells the story of a poor street rat who finds a magical lamp he believes can help him win over a princess, entered a whole new world last week when it came to theaters as a live-action film. Like other recent Disney remakes, such as The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast, the new Aladdin features surreal elements of computer-generated imagery and a few song additions or character twists.
Directed by famed English director Guy Ritchie, this live-action remake does’t differ much from the original, following the same storyline (for the most part) and keeping beloved songs such as “A Whole New World.” As of Memorial Day, the movie had already made over $207 million at the box office worldwide since its release on May 24.
Aladdin (Mena Massoud), a young street thief in the kingdom of Agrabah, falls in love with Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). One night, when he goes to visit Jasmine in the sultan’s palace, Aladdin is caught by Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), who is second to the sultan. Jafar then sends Aladdin to find a magic lamp from a cave in the desert — part of his evil plan to get the genie in the lamp (Will Smith) to make him sultan of the mythical city. While in the cave, Aladdin discovers the lamp is home to a wish-granting genie who can turn him into a prince worthy of Princess Jasmine.
The story is a magical romance about a poor boy falling in love with a princess, and it’s very similar to its predecessor. In recent years, filmmakers have redone myriad older films, breathing new life into the originals. Unfortunately, however, the main incentive for the film industry to remake classics is probably money — who would’ve guessed? Most studios now try to find a good money-making film from decades ago and reuse it as a cash-grabbing strategy to make every last penny they can out of an old film, instead of producing something new.
What makes Disney movies such as Aladdin so durable is magic. When folks in the film industry pull from that magic, mixing it with commercialism, they’re able to capitalize. The truth is, magic takes place in just about every Disney movie ever made, and that attracts people to go and see the films, young or old. If you’ve seen the original movie, then you already know what happens and the reason to watch the remake is to simply see how it compares. Or, for young kids who have never seen the original, watching the live-action version is a way to keep the story alive for a new generation.
Aladdin is rated PG, runs 128 minutes and is playing at both Violet Crown and Regal 14 cinemas in Santa Fe.
Lincoln Byrd is a junior at Santa Fe High School. Contact him at email@example.com.