Aladdin Movie Review

I will try to make this review as spoiler free as I can, but if you have not seen the movie, I will not be bothered if you only read this review after you have been to the movie theater.

Hollywood has been addicted to reboots since it’s inception. Over the past few years, Disney has added to the general idea of reboots by releasing live action versions of their classic animated films. The most recent film in this sub-genre is Aladdin.

Like it’s 1992 animated predecessor, the film is set in Agrabah, a fictional Middle Eastern city. Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is an orphan who lives by the seat of his pants and whatever food he can steal. One day, he meets Jasmine (Naomi Scott), who is Princess of Agrabah. Locked in the palace, she yearns for freedom and escapes to the anonymity of the Agrabah marketplace.

Aladdin is roped into Grand Vizier Jafar’s (Marwan Kenzari) plan to find a mysterious lamp in a mythical cave. But Jafar is less than honest and leaves Aladdin to die. Inside the cave, Aladdin meets Genie (Will Smith), who offers him the possibilities that he could have only imagined of before.

When the original film was released back in 1992, I was a child and had a completely different view than I do now as an adult. Director Guy Ritchie surprised me. I’ve never seen any of his previous films, but based on the trailers, I can’t say that any of them were aimed at or appropriate for the audience that typically sees a Disney film. However, Ritchie and his creative team were able to create a film that is an homage to its predecessor while standing on it’s own two feet.

Two major changes that from my perspective elevated this film from the 1992 animated film was the expansion of Jasmine as a character and the casting of actors whose ethnic background matches the ethnicity of the characters. Instead of just giving lip service to feminism, Jasmine is truly a character in her own right. Not only does she wear more clothes, but she is more than arm candy to the man who she will potentially call husband. In the casting for this movie, the actors who were ultimately chosen are of South Asian or Middle Eastern descent. The specific choice of actors adds a level of authenticity that is lacking in the 1992 film.

Speaking of changes to the film, I was very impressed with Will Smith’s version of Genie. Robin Williams’s performance a quarter of a century ago can never be duplicated. However, Smith is able to put his own spin on the character while showing respect to Williams’s Genie.

Though the film is over two hours, it does not fee like it is over two hours. The narrative has a nice pace and the musical sequences fit in nicely with the overall story.

If I had one takeaway from this film (as was the same takeaway from the 1992 film), it was that being yourself is the most important thing and you should never change who you are to please someone else.

I recommend it.

Aladdin is presently in theaters.


If She Was a Size 2, I Bet You That No One Would Have Said Anything

If you can, I want you to please imagine the following: its a warm summer day. The pool in your apartment complex is calling your name. You put on a one piece pink bathing suit and head out to the pool with your fiance.

Instead of enjoying the time outside, you are approached by building staff and told that your choice of swimwear is inappropriate. You have three choices: change your suit, put on a cover up or leave. Sadly, this happens frequently this time of year. In June of 2017, this happened to Tori Jenkins.

If I was a betting woman, I would say that if Ms. Jenkins was a size 2 and wore a two piece that was barely there, no one would have said anything. But because she has curves, she was body shamed and told that her one piece, modest swim suit was going to “excite” teenage boys.

As I see it, this story says once again that there is a double standard when it comes to women’s bodies. A woman is who size 2 and shows off nearly everything is left alone. But a woman who has curves and shows off those curves is considered to be a problem.

I would love to say that over the last few years, things have changed. A woman is not judged by the size label on her clothes, but by who she is as a person. But it is obvious that we have a long way to go before this judgement is nonexistent.

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