Aladdin (2019)
Aladdin (2019)
  • Reporter Lee Seung-Joo
  • 승인 2019.09.27 10:26
  • 댓글 0
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▲Aladdin (2019)
▲Aladdin (2019)


*Warning: This review contains pretty big spoilers to the movie and personal thoughts and analysis of the film. 
Aladdin (2019) is a live-action adaptation of Disney’s all-time beloved animation movie Aladdin (1992). It tells a story based on one of the folk tales of the One Thousand and One Nights. Alike the original production, Aladdin (2019) accompanies fantasy elements with lively music and extravagant choreography. In Korea alone, Aladdin (2019) has been visited by more than 10 million according to KOBIS and is still being starred in most theatres. Considering that it has been more than a month since Aladdin’s release date, its popularity in Korea is extraordinary.   

The story takes place in Agrabah, an Arabian kingdom ruled by the mighty Sultan. Aladddin, the street rat, meets Princess Jasmine—disguised as the princess’s personal servant—in the street market and rescues her from her argument with the merchant. During the process, Jasmine ends up believing that Aladdin stole her mother’s bracelet. To resolve such misconceiving, Aladdin visits Jasmine’s palace to return her the missing bracelet and ends up being captured by Jafar, Agrabah’s Royal Vizier, who was looking for the ‘Diamond in the Rough’ to retrieve the magic lamp from the Cave of Wonder. Turns out, Aladdin was the ‘Diamond in the Rough’ and Jafar reveals that Jasmine is a princess and sends Aladdin to retrieve the lamp, promising to make Aladdin rich enough to impress Jasmine. Aladdin successfully retrieves the lamp, but becomes trapped within the cave. Somehow, Aladdin ends up ‘rubbing’ the magic lamp, awaking Genie, the giant fairy who can grant three wishes to the summoner. Genie helps Aladdin escape the cave and ‘makes Aladdin a prince’ so that he can propose to Jasmine. Aladdin successfully tricks and proposes to Jasmine, but Jasmine refuses. 
The next day, Jafar finds out the truth and threatens him to hand over the lamp. Aladdin refuses, and Jafar throws him to the ocean. Aladdin, with the help of Genie’s wish, saves himself from the sea and overthrows Jafar by revealing his evil intentions to the Sultan. The Sultan thanks Aladdin and asks him to marry his daughter and Aladdin struggles to tell Jasmine the truth. Meanwhile, Jafar successfully steals the lamp away from Aladdin and wishes to become Sultan, completely taking over the whole kingdom. He commands the guards to arrest Jasmine, however, head guard Hakim disobeys. Furiously, Jafar wishes to become a powerful sorcerer and sends Aladdin away to the end of earth. Aladdin returns to save Jasmine and steals the lamp away from Jafar, only to be returned back by Jafar’s magic. However Aladdin tricks Jafar to his own greed, and Jafar wishes to become a genie ending up in a lamp. Aladdin frees Genie from his lamp and Jasmine becomes the new Sultan and amends the law that required princesses to only marry princes of other kingdom and marries Aladdin.             

Disney successfully reincarnates the childhood magic into a live-action film. Will Smith, at first thought to be unfit as Genie, perfectly portrays the comical character, enlivening up the whole story. Filled with exciting music and colorful extravagant scenes, audience is mesmerized by the magical tale. Furthermore, Disney successfully adds twists to the original story through character development. The previous Jasmine of the 1992 is portrayed as a smart, beautiful princess but that was the end of the character, ending the story to become another cliché ‘happily ever after’ story. However, Disney added dignity and ambition to the Jasmine of the 2019 and added Speechless, a solo song that reflects Jasmine’s will to speak up against injustice. This song and Jasmine’s speech about justice turns Hakim to disobey his new Sultan and support justice- a scene that shows how power and authority, the elements Jafar thought to be absolute, can be overthrown by justice and love. At the end, unlike the Aladdin of 1992 where the Sultan permits marriage between Aladdin and Jasmine, Jasmine becomes Sultan herself and amends the ancient laws to marry Aladdin- shifting the authority to control one’s own life back to Jasmine. Such changes had been viewed by many critiques as Disney’s feministic worldview but many have accepted it to be one of the most inspiring scenes in the whole movie. 

Many have pointed out that Aladdin (2019) was great, but still lacking compared to the magic of Aladdin (1992). However, personally I thought the film was very well made. It did much more than I expected to re-create the sensation of the Aladdin (1992), using various elements to mesmerize every audience. A little far-fetched, but I had the impression that if my childhood favorite magic can be brought into real life, then my other ‘unreachable’ dreams can be granted as well- a perfect Disney message: Make your dream come true. For me, Disney showed in this movie more than fun music and lovable plot- it gave me the courage to become a child again and become ambitious and idealistic.