Disney continues to churn out live-action versions of their classic 90s animated film slate, with Aladdin the latest to sing and dance its way into theatres. For a company that famously employs people called “imagineers”, this is a pretty faithful note-for-note remake of 1992’s original, without anything qualifying as a surprise.
But should you take your kids to see it?
As parents and film fans, we want to share the best of the cinematic world with our kids. But when you haven’t seen a new movie yet, how do you know if you should take your kids? Obviously every kid is different, and they change with age; the same child who had to be escorted, weeping, out of Guardians of the Galaxy might completely fall in love with Deadpool two years later (true story). But it’s also true that movie marketing can be misleading – no-one wants to be that mom who had to leave Pan’s Labyrinth with an emotionally-scarred 10-year-old. With this ongoing feature, we’ll aim to offer some loose, spoiler-free, age-by-age guidelines as to what parents might expect from new features marketed to families, so you can make the best judgment call for your youngsters.
In case you’re rusty on the plot, “street rat” Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is eking out a living in the fictional port city of Agrabah when he encounters Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott), who has disguised herself and escaped the palace, chafing at the restrictions placed on her by her father, the Sultan.
Jafar, the evil Royal Vizier, coerces Aladdin into entering the Cave of Wonders to retrieve a magic lamp. Aladdin finds the lamp and releases the Genie (Will Smith) held captive inside; granted three wishes, his first is to become a Prince so he can woo Jasmine. But will she still love him when his true identity is revealed?
Spoiler! It’s Disney, so you know she will, and everything will end happily. This live-action version faithfully hews to the original’s plot beats, with a couple of additional musical numbers for good measure and a slightly padded runtime. It’s a solid family-friendly musical, straight out of the Disney mold.
So, should you take your kids to see it?
This could really swing one of two ways for little ones: either they’re completely bored by the end of the first act, or, it’s a slightly tamer, calmer introduction to the story than the 1992 animated film.
Tweens and Teens
Unless they are really into musicals or are Disney completists, I can’t imagine they’d be interested in this one. Pass.
If you harbour any nostalgia for the original, watch that instead. This live-action remake is a watered-down version, a photocopy of a photograph, that will just make you long for the vibrancy of the 1992 classic.
Wee time: They’ve added about a half hour to the runtime of the original, making it just over 2 hours long. If that’s too long for little bladders, when Aladdin arrives at the party in disguise as Prince Ali there’s some dialogue and a dance number that could be missed.
Bottom line: Unless your family are die-hard Disney fans or just really enjoy musicals, skip it.
Jenny Bullough is a movie fan and mom based in Toronto. She has missed the middle 5 minutes of every kids’ movie because of her kid’s small bladder, and she let her kids watch Deadpool at an inappropriately young age and stands by her choices.