Aladdin (2019)

Jake Lipson

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Naomi Scott's interview with Jimmy Kimmel from last night's Jimmy Kimmel Live is up:

 

Jake Lipson

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The track listing for the soundtrack is up now. I am going to spoilerize it for those who are sensitive just because some of the track titles imply changes from the animated film, but nothing was hard to figure out from the trailers.

1) Arabian Nights - Will Smith
2) One Jump Ahead - Mena Massoud
3 One Jump Ahead (Reprise) - Mena Massoud
4) Speechless (Part 1) - Naomi Scott
5) Friend Like Me - Will Smith
6) Prince Ali - Will Smith
7) A Whole New World - Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott
8) One Jump Ahead (Reprise 2) - Mena Massoud
9) Speechless (Part 2) - Naomi Scott
10) A Whole New World (End Title) - Zayn and Zhavia Ward
11) Friend Like Me (End Title) - Will Smith featuring DJ Khaled
12) Speechless (Full) - Naomi Scott

This confirms my earlier theory that the Prince Ali Reprise sung by Jafar has been cut.

Tracks 13-37 are all credited to Alan Menken and are obviously the instrumental underscore: They are:

13) The Big Ship
14) Agrabah Marketplace
15) Aladdin's Hideout
16) Jasmine Meets Prince Anders
17) Breaking In
18) Returning the Bracelet
19) The Dunes
20) Simple Oil Lamp
21) The Cave of Wonders
22) The Basics
23) Escape From the Cave
24) Prince Ali's Outfit
25) Until Tomorrow
26) Aladdin's Second Wish
27) Never Call A Master Friend
28) Harvest Dance
29) Jafar Becomes Sultan
30) Hakim's Loyalty Tested
31) Most Powerful Sorcerer
32) Carpet Chase
33) Jafar Summons the Storm
34) Jafar's Final Wish
35) Genie Set Free
36) The Wedding
37) Friend Like Me (Finale)
 
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Jake Lipson

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Slashfilm has a report from the Aladdin press conference. It's a good read.

https://www.slashfilm.com/aladdin-2019-press-conference/

Here is video of the Alan Menken medley discussed. Because the performance includes the new song Speechless, I'm spoilerizing it for now. I haven't watched this video yet but plan to come back to it after seeing the film.

 
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Jake Lipson

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Will Smith's interview from tonight's Jimmy Kimmel Live is up now:


Will Smith on Ellen DeGeneres:


and from Will Smith's official channel, a video about the world tour promoting the film:


A (now past) livestream of the "world premiere." Since it's had premiere screenings in other countries, I'm not quite sure how this qualifies as the "world premiere" but it was held tonight in Hollywood.


Also, the soundtrack is out now digitally and can be heard for free on YouTube if you search for it. I'm not going to post any of those in here because I don't want to listen to them until after seeing the film, but if you want to hear them, they're not difficult to find.

With all showtimes for the weekend now finalized, my local theater will be offering 30 start times for Aladdin this weekend beginning Friday (and ten of them beginning Thursday night.) This includes the premium-priced Cinemark XD screen (which will have three 2D shows per day and one 3D show.) Then there is one regular screen dedicated to the 3D version all day long, plus six regular screens of the 2D version all day long. The time gap between shows is sometimes as short as 15 minutes (for example, 2:55 to 3:10. The longest gap between any show I can find is a 2D starting at 1:30 and the next 2D one isn't until 2:55, but even in between there is a 2:10 3D screening.

I think the goal here is to get as many people in for the movie as possible without making them wait for any significant length of time, but I also think this ensures that they will have a lot of screenings that aren't full. They're spreading around the audience among so many screens and showtimes that they're diluting the crowds at each one.

I would LOVE to be wrong and to think we have enough people interested in seeing Aladdin for it to be on eight screens at once showing 30 times a day. But this isn't Marvel or Star Wars, and buzz on this one seems to be way less than it was for Beauty and the Beast two years ago. My 6pm Thursday show has still only sold nine tickets.

We'll see what happens with the box office numbers this weekend.
 
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Malcolm R

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CNN likes it:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/22/entertainment/aladdin-review/index.html

(CNN) Chalk it up to modest expectations -- starting with early previews that rubbed people the wrong way -- but "Aladdin" is a great deal of fun, with charming leads and elaborately mounted songs. It's hardly a whole new world, but in this suddenly well-populated land of live-action reboots, makes the most out of its familiar one.
EW is more reserved:

https://ew.com/movie-reviews/2019/05/22/aladdin-review/

So the big question hanging over the whole thing is… why? Like Dumbo, the new movie is a big, lavish fantasia that no one asked for or particularly needs. There are no new wrinkles, no real new take. Even the original’s more objectionable Middle Eastern characterizations are left untouched — the one place that it could have really used an update. It still has more stereotypes than you can shake a scimitar at.

And yet, the new Aladdin is hardly the folly that the advance bad buzz prepared us for. The candy-colored costumes and production design are stunning, Alan Menken’s songs are as infectious as ever, the dance numbers have an electric Bollywood flair, and some of the bazaar chase sequences have a Young Indiana Jones sense of rollicking, Rube Goldberg fun. But mostly it all feels too dutiful, too familiar.

Grade: C+
 
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joyjoy22

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Oh no, I am seeing a not so good review, but since I love the story of Aladdin I think that I will go see it in the movie theater this weekend.
 

Jake Lipson

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To be honest, I'm not surprised at the lukewarm response. The original is so iconic and was so fresh and innovative when it came out that it is hard to imagine a remake landing with the kind of response that the original had. At least it's not getting completely shredded.

Cinemark has now sold additional seats for my screening tomorrow night. We're up to 13 people.
 
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Jake Lipson

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This is one of the weirdest coincidences I've ever heard.

I put on the Aladdin Blu-ray last night (running into this morning), not because I needed a refresher -- it's the most-played disc I own and I know it thoroughly -- but because I wanted to have one last time viewing it as the only Aladdin movie on its own, without having seen the live-action version.

Then I randomly went to the bonus features menu for no particular reason and clicked on "Ron and John: You Ain't Never Had A Friend Like Me." This is a short discussion produced for the Blu-ray between Ron Clements and John Musker, who co-directed Aladdin (and co-wrote it with Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio.) I'm sure I've seen this feature before, since I went through all the bonus when the disc first came out, but it had been long enough that I forgot details of what they were going to say.

In this featurette, John Musker just happened to say that his first day of work at Disney was on May 23, 1977, which was a Monday that year.

Today -- May 23, 2019, 42 years later -- is the day of the first public screenings for the new Aladdin, which is based on Musker's movie.

Because of the way guild rules work, he is not receiving credit on the new film (and neither are Clements, Elliot or Rossio), but everybody knows it is lifting substantially from their work.

And yeah, the "official" opening day is May 24, but with the customary Thursday evening previews, its opening is effectively today.

I just think it's a weird one-in-a-million shot coincidence that the remake of Musker's movie is opening on the anniversary of his coming to work for the studio.

It's 60% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes right now, which is the exact straddling point between fresh and rotten.
And it has fallen off the wrong side of that point. As of right now, with more reviews being counted, it's down to 58%, which means it's got the green rotten designation. We'll see whether it can get back to 60% if more reviews are filed or if it is settling here permanently.
 
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Tino

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My local theater has it on their biggest screen on Thursday and it's probably 80% sold already.

I think this movie's biggest obstacle is opening on Memorial Day weekend.
I personally think it’s biggest obstacle is the “Solo” effect.

Was the audience clamoring for this film? The original was a really fun film but hardly the classic begging to be remade imo. I think it may actually perform like Solo. We’ll see. I’m seeing it next week with my elderly parents who love these kind of films.
 

Jason_V

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It's 60% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes right now, which is the exact straddling point between fresh and rotten.
Oh no, I am seeing a not so good review, but since I love the story of Aladdin I think that I will go see it in the movie theater this weekend.
See, here's the thing: I glanced at the review snippets on the main page at RT (for the rotten reviews). And a lot of them are referencing the 1992 movie. I understand why that would happen but I think it's 100% unfair to both productions. This movie has to stand on its own (just like the 1992 version did) and be taken as a separate entity. Way too many people aren't doing that for these Disney reimaginings, let alone entertainment in general.
 
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Malcolm R

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Yes, I think a lot of the reviewers are comparing to the original film that they grew up with, rather than reviewing the current film. I'd rather know, if the original film did not exist, what would they think of this film?

I don't think anyone was clamoring for any of these remakes of animated films, but they seem to have performed pretty well, so we get more.
 

Jake Lipson

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I'd rather know, if the original film did not exist, what would they think of this film?
That's literally impossible to know because the original film DOES exist. Obviously, I haven't seen Aladdin yet so I can't speak to it until tonight, but let's take Beauty and the Beast as an example because that one I have seen. It's impossible to ignore how many beats in that film are lifted directly from the animated version. The remakes would not exist in their current form without the original having existed first, because they are taking the structural choices (and sometimes even the words) directly from the prior film, without crediting its screenwriters. Disney WANTS audience members who are familiar with the original; their whole marketing strategy on these films relies upon evoking the nostalgia that viewers have for the original.

The only way to know what someone thinks of this film without knowledge of the prior one would be if you found someone who has never seen the original at all or interacted with any of its spinoffs/merchandise. And their view would be impacted by not recognizing how much of it has been copied over.
 

Jason_V

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The only way to know what someone thinks of this film without knowledge of the prior one would be if you found someone who has never seen the original at all or interacted with any of its spinoffs/merchandise. And their view would be impacted by not recognizing how much of it has been copied over.
Yes, Disney wants the nostalgia factor here. Without a doubt. But for people who make their living reviewing films, it should be easy enough not to hold an animated film from 1992 up to a live action film in 2019 and automatically ding the new one because it's not the old one. It's a lazy way to review something; all it tells me is the writer has nothing new to say.

If you're doing a Compare/Contrast piece or something about the similarities/differences between the versions, that's different. But a review talks about the merits of THIS film, not how it compares to anything that came before. I find most professional reviews useless for this reason.

Will Smith will never be Robin Williams. He will be a new version of the Genie. Does that make his interpretation wrong or lesser or invalid? No. It's a different take. Everyone got their knickers in a twist because Genie wasn't blue in the original teaser. Big freaking deal. I don't honestly care. Entertain me. (The Broadway version of Aladdin has the Genie actor in a blue jumpsuit; his skin is NOT blue. Did anyone care? Not that I know of. Did that diminish that version of the character or the story? Nope.)
 
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Jake Lipson

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Will Smith will never be Robin Williams. He will be a new version of the Genie. Does that make his interpretation wrong or lesser or invalid? No. It's a different take. Everyone got their knickers in a twist because Genie wasn't blue in the original teaser. Big freaking deal. I don't honestly care. Entertain me. (The Broadway version of Aladdin has the Genie actor in a blue jumpsuit; his skin is NOT blue. Did anyone care? Not that I know of. Did that diminish that version of the character or the story? Nope.)
The Broadway Genie works because they took the portrayal of him in a completely different direction from what Robin Williams did. I'm not talking about performances here but the structure of the story. Even though the interpretation of the character is completely different, comparisons to the animated film are still inevitable and fair because he's saying words that were written for the film.

I have no problem with the idea of Will Smith being Genie and I hope he is fantastic in the role. I really want to love the new movie. I've seen the Broadway version twice now and love it. But I don't think it's right for critics to ignore the fact that parts of the new film or stage show that work because they are borrowing from the animation, of which there are many. That would be a disservice to the creators of the original film (who are already being done an even worse disservice by not receiving credit for the work that this film borrows.)

Guy Ritchie, John August and the cast and production team deserve to be recognized for anything that they contribute to the success of this film, which is probably a lot. But I don't think you can cut the 1992 version out of your head when the structure of the new film appears to depend significantly on it, because that's also a lot. So the comparisons don't bother me because the movie walks into them. Does that mean the film should be faulted for borrowing from the original? Not if that's what it set out to do. But you can't just pretend the influence of the original isn't there either.
 

Wayne_j

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Just checked rotten tomatoes and learned that they are now verifying that people bought a ticket to a movie before they write an audience review. Currently it needs to be from fandango but they will soon add AMC, Cinemark, and Regal.
 

Jake Lipson

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Back on April 29 when tickets first went on sale, I wrote:

I also got curious to see how well it's been doing locally in terms of presales today and started looking at seating charts for various reserved seating theaters. This is obviously not a complete or in any way scientific study, but there are three Cinemark theaters around here which all have 2D screenings starting at 6pm in their premium auditoriums. And there's the AMC IMAX with same.

Let's call my local theater where I will be seeing it Cinemark A. This screening has sold exactly two tickets. The first one of those two was mine.

We'll call the other two Cinemark theaters B and C. Cinemark B, which has luxury reclining seats, has not yet sold any tickets for their 6pm XD show.

Cinemark C, which is an XD auditorium without reclining seats, has sold 11 tickets so far for their 6:00pm XD show.

The AMC IMAX, which also starts their first show at 6:00pm, has sold ten tickets so far, including five tickets together, which I assume must be a group of people seeing it together. Of course, there's no way of knowing how many of those people paid retail price for the ticket versus using their A-List membership to reserve it, but still.

This indicates that Aladdin isn't really a huge advance priority for a lot of people here, even though all of the theaters I checked are premium auditoriums with reserved seating. A few other theaters have showtimes listed for purchase in normal auditoriums which don't do reserved seating, but since I can't see the seating chart in those, I have no way of knowing how many tickets have been sold there. I'll check again a few days before the movie opens to see how this has changed. Obviously I hope more people will buy more closer to the date of the screening.
It's just a couple minutes 3pm here, so the screenings I was referring to start in three hours. Obviously, I can't account for walk-ins later tonight, but for those curious, here are the attendance counts as things stand right now. Remember, these are for the first screenings in the premium auditorium (either Cinemark XD, or in the case of the sole AMC around here, IMAX.)

Cinemark A (where I am going) has 22 tickets sold including mine.

Cinemark B with the luxury loungers has sold 74 tickets. They have less seats available (around 105 or so I think) due to the size of the loungers than my theater does but have still sold more than three times as many tickets. (This theater also has the Fan Event screening in 3D at 5:00pm, but I can't see how many tickets have been sold for it because it is not in a reserved seating room.)

Cinemark C has sold 70 tickets. Incidentally, this includes several in the wheelchair-and-companions row. As of right now, I am the only one in the wheelchair-accessible row in my theater.

And the AMC IMAX has sold 71 tickets.

These numbers assume I counted correctly (with the larger ones, it's possible I might be off by one or two.) But it tells us that the other theaters in town are significantly more popular with advance ticket buyers and that it is not doing as badly in other locations as I feared. But the one that I am going to is by far the closest one to my house, so that's why I'm headed where I'm headed. (Well, the AMC is equidistant from me in the opposite direction, but I'll never go there again for reasons I've elaborated on previously in other threads.)

I'm happy that my theater is up to 22, but still worry it will probably be a dead crowd. We'll see what happens.

Please let us know how your screening goes tonight @Jason_V and anyone else who is seeing it tonight or over this weekend. I look forward to discussing it.
 
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