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Aladdin (2019)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Jake Lipson, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. Wayne_j

    Wayne_j Cinematographer

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    I just got back. I liked it very much but it took me a while to get into it. Standouts were Will Smith and Naomi Scott. This might just be my theater, but the singing was often buried in the mix so that some of the lyrics were hard to pick out. Spoken dialogue was clean and intelligible the entire movie.
     
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  2. Message #382 of 444 May 23, 2019
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
    benbess

    benbess Producer

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    I liked it a lot! My rating: "A"

    My rating of the original: "A+"

    The theater was only half full, but the audience was clearly enjoying it. Jasmine was a standout, with a more powerful role and her own new song.

    That's 3 for 3 for me for the recent Disney remakes, since I really liked Mary Poppins Returns, Dumbo, and now this one.
     
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    I thought it was okay, not great, a little long, but perhaps the kiddies will enjoy it.
     
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  4. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    Revised and/or new lyrics for opening song....

    "Oh imagine a land, it's a faraway place
    Where the caravan camels roam
    Where you wander among every culture and tongue
    It's chaotic, but hey, it's home

    When the wind's from the east
    And the sun's from the west
    And the sand in the glass is right
    Come on down, stop on by
    Hop a carpet and fly
    To another Arabian night

    As you wind through the streets at the fabled bazaars
    With the cardamom-cluttered stalls
    You can smell every spice
    While you haggle the price
    Of the silks and the satin shawls

    Oh, the music that plays as you move through a maze
    In the haze of your pure delight
    You are caught in a dance
    You are lost in the trance
    Of another Arabian night

    Arabian nights
    Like Arabian days
    More often than not are hotter than hot
    In a lot of good ways

    Arabian nights
    Like Arabian dreams
    This mystical land of magic and sand
    Is more than it seems

    There's a road that may lead you
    To good or to greed through
    The power your wishing commands
    Let the darkness unfold or find fortunes untold
    Well, your destiny lies in your hands"
     
  5. Jason_V

    Jason_V Lead Actor

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    The theater ended up roughly 3/4 full by the time the movie started. All kinds of people were in the mix and all different sizes of groups: fathers and their daughters, what I presume were "Girls Nights," what I presume were dates, etc. Even the smallest of kids in the theater were quiet the entire time (there was one kid who got carried into the theater...he was around 3 or 4 years old). Ours was one of two theaters playing the movie last night; it was a Dolby Theater. The other was plain digital.

    I have to say I was entertained by it and I only looked at my watch once because I had to go to the bathroom. There are jokes in the first half I just laughed by butt off over. I was immediately taken by Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott. Will Smith is a new version of the Genie; I could see the influence of Robin Williams in his acting...BUT Smith is NOT doing Williams.

    At over 2 hours, there isn't much wiggle room to add things to the story, but I would have liked to see more with the Sultan and Jafar. Those roles are completely paper thin; aside from one or two scenes, I never got pure evil from Jafar. Which works, I think, since this is live action and there needs to be some level of realism. (There are a few sketchy CGI shots through the movie. One I noticed fairly early in the movie and I couldn't get over how terrible it looked.)

    It's colorful and bold and happy. For me, some scenes were too dark and not as awe inspiring as I wanted them to be. The Cave of Wonders and "A Whole New World" fit into that bucket. I am happy I went and don't regret the decision. Is this film "needed"? Not really, but I'm not going to pass up seeing a new take on a film I've been watching for almost 30 years. I'd go B+ for a letter grade.

    That is literally every movie or stage musical I see. The sound mix overpowers the lyrics and I have a hell of a time figuring out what is being said.
     
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  6. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    One of the places this film could be said to be "needed" is in the more feminist take on Jasmine.
     
  7. Jason_V

    Jason_V Lead Actor

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    Okay, fair point. I knew I was bound to miss something talking about Aladdin from memory without notes. :)
     
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  8. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Thursday night previews estimated at $7M.
     
  9. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    Jake? Jaaaake??

    ;)
     
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  10. Message #390 of 444 May 24, 2019
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
    Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    I didn't like it at all.

    To call the original movie my favorite film of all time is an understatement. I was four years old when it came out and it was the movie that made me love movies. It shaped my lifelong obsession with movies and with musicals and informed a lot of my taste and personality. It showed me what good storytelling can do and is the reason I want to write.

    Oh, and my original copy of the VHS broke due to overuse -- not because I wasn't careful with it or mistreated it in any way at all -- it just got used so much that eventually the flap on the back that covers the actual tape came detached and it wouldn't play anymore. I had to go to eBay during its out-of-print spell before the DVD came out to buy a second VHS of it, and although I've since gotten rid of all my VHS copies of everything else, I kept those two, just as a marker of how much I loved it.

    It's not overstating the case to say I would not be the person I am today if it weren't for loving Aladdin. So, more than any other film Disney could choose to remake, this one has my entire heart wrapped up in it. It's my favorite story ever.

    And yet I sat there and I watched it and I felt absolutely nothing.

    It's not a terrible movie. It's not incompetently made. I don't think any of the cast members were bad or miscast. The design of Agrabah and everything in it looks beautiful. Disney and the cast and crew clearly spent a lot of time, money, effort and energy making this. It hits all the beats it needs to hit -- many of them in a very similar way as the original -- so in that regard, it does what it was designed to do.

    But it wasn't entertaining. I simply did not have any fun watching it. I didn't laugh or smile or emotionally engage with any of these characters. It did everything it should have done, but it just lacks charm.

    It's not even about it being inferior to the animated film -- although it is that too. But I wasn't thinking about the animated film while I was watching it. I was just sitting there waiting to care about something, anything that was going on at all.

    The closest I came to caring was that I didn't like the "jams" scene. That was just bad.

    Everything else was just...there.

    I didn't care enough about it to hate it. If I hated it, that would mean they made enough bad choices for me to pick it apart, which would be something. But it wasn't strong enough to provoke that kind of a response.

    The movie played, then it ended. I thought, "Well, that happened." Then I shrugged, I got up and left.

    Since then, people I know who I've been talking with about it have been apologizing to me because of my presumed disappointment. But it's weird; I'm not even exactly disappointed. I'm just numb to it.

    For years, I wanted Disney to make Aladdin into a Broadway musical. I asked for that. They finally did that and I've now seen it twice, including once when the original lead actor from Broadway went out on the road and my mom and I drove all the way to Los Angeles for it. That trip is a lifetime highlight for me.

    I never asked for a live-action movie of it. I got excited about it because they were going to do it whether or not I asked for it, and I genuinely believed there was potential for this to be great. It isn't, but it could have been. It doesn't have to be the animated version. The Broadway version is not the animated version and I love that. But since I never asked for it, I can't say I'm disappointed. It's just something that I saw last night, and now I've seen it, and it's over. It's shocking how little I care about it.

    The end.

    Oh, and for those curious, I will be returning my pre-ordered soundtrack unopened to Amazon for a refund.
     
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  11. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    Oof!:emoji_astonished:
     
  12. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    I suppose there is an argument to be made for that, but I don't see her characterization in the animated version as being flawed at all. I always assumed that whenever the Sultan stops ruling that Aladdin and Jasmine would do it together as equals, without them ever actually having to say that. Although Aladdin is from a lower social class, the animated film very much makes them equals anyway in terms of their mutual respect for each other. It seems entirely within character for them to rule as partners as well. As written, she was too strong-willed to have it any other way, and Aladdin as a character wouldn't subjugate her upon their marriage even if he could.

    The new film made this actual text by dealing with it directly, which is admirable, but it seemed implied to me by the original anyway.
     
  13. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    Saw it again today in IMAX 3D and liked it even better the second time around. The 3D is very good imho, and I think that's the way to go if you can find it in that format. They were only showing it once in IMAX 3D as far as I could tell as my local AMC (not once a day, just once period). Anyway, for me the new Aladdin is spectacular, wonderful, funny, and emotional, and it's clearly one of my very favorite movies of 2019 so far. I still love the original too, of course.
     
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  14. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I wasn't planning on seeing this movie. However, since Jake hates it and some others like it, I'm going to see it in IMAX 3-D next week.:)
     
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  15. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    I never said that. I don't hate it. It's adequate. I said:

    I am indifferent to it. Also, I'm not sure why my indifference to it would be a factor in your deciding to see it, but you do you.
     
  16. Message #396 of 444 May 25, 2019
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
    Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Maybe you didn't say you hated it, but the first sentence in your post was the following:

    Am I misinterpreting those words about this latest film version of "Aladdin"? That sentence might not be out and out hatred, but it gave me the impression that you didn't like it all.:) Your dislike isn't the only reason why I'm going to see this film, but so many people were ragging on Will Smith's role in this film before the film's release also has peaked my interest in seeing it. Furthermore, it looks like this film is well liked by the majority of early viewers in this thread so I'm going to see for myself about the contrast of views regarding this film.
     
  17. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    I think Will Smith does a really good job as the genie. He has his own take on the role that won me over.
     
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  18. Message #398 of 444 May 25, 2019
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
    benbess

    benbess Producer

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    Jake: Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts. Given how important the original movie has been to you for so many years, it's understandable that you didn't connect emotionally with the new one.

    My favorite movie adaptation of a Jane Austen novel is the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility, impeccably directed by Ang Lee, with Emma Thompson (who also wrote the wonderful screenplay), Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, etc. Anyway, I can't even watch any other version, because they all feel profoundly inferior and just wrong to me. And for me the new Star Trek show Discovery betrayed my beloved Star Trek. I endured the whole first season of Discovery, often cringing and wincing, but after that I couldn't even watch it anymore. Finally, although I'm not thinking of an example right now, I've also had your experience of profound indifference when watching a remake—just feeling almost nothing.

    Probably all of us posting here at Home Theater Forums have special relationships with individual movies and TV shows. I just wanted to take a moment to sincerely thank you for sharing how meaningful the original Aladdin has been for you. I hope you'll take out your VHS tape or your blu-ray of the original Aladdin and have an enjoyable experience watching it. I love the animated Aladdin too. It's a spectacular, wonderful, hilarious, emotional, and beautifully made movie. It's one of the best animated movies ever made, and I think almost all of us here would agree about that.
     
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  19. Message #399 of 444 May 25, 2019
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
    Mysto

    Mysto Screenwriter

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    It's all good Jake. I loved Mary Poppins and just yawned through the remake - not bad just no soul for me. Not Disney, but Everybody went gaga for La La Land and I was looking at my watch many times before it ended. Some films just don't connect with us and that's just the way it is.
    I am glad to get your alternate view.
    So far the only Disney remake that I have felt I would re-watch was Beauty and the Beast and that was mostly because it looked so good on my big screen - not because the movie was better. Tomorrow I may change my mind.:) Some films I didn't care for on first viewing were better with time - perhaps this one will be for you...or not.

    Don't get mad at Crawdad - I think he was just having a go at you.

    It's all good.:D
     
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  20. Wayne_j

    Wayne_j Cinematographer

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    There is a huge disparity between critic reviews and audience appreciation on this film. Currently at Rotten Tomatoes the critic score is at 58% and the audience score is at 93%. All of the people who submitted audience reviews that counted towards that number have verified that they bought a ticket for Aladdin from Fandango. Also this film received an excellent 'A' CinemaScore. I'm somewhere in between on this film, I would give it between a B- and C+ while I would give the animated version an A or A+.
     

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