In the last week we have watched the remakes of two Disney classics, ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Aladdin.’ I’m not a massive Disney fan so didn’t sit down to either with high expectations. I think I’m still traumatised by 4 a.m. repeats of ‘The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse’ during the early years with the hatchlings. I’ve also watched ‘Finding Nemo’ approximately 6,000 times to the point where Dory had better recall than me.
Fionnuala and the girls raved over ‘The Lion King’ remake. I only have vague recollections of watching the original but it seems the reboot remains largely faithful to it. Beyoncé voices one of the lionesses but the highlight for me was Seth Rogen as Pumba the warthog. There’s something about Seth Rogen. I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I like the guy. For me, he can do no wrong. He makes a great warthog.
The CGI effects are amazing and most of the original soundtrack makes a reappearance. I’m not a fan of the cheesy ‘Hakuna Matata’ but all the other classics fared well in this reboot. Overall, I enjoyed the movie but wouldn’t be queuing up to watch it again. The hyenas were probably my favourite animals in it, full of sinister intent and sly malice. They wouldn’t have looked out of place on the slopes of Mount Doom in a Peter Jackson movie.
Everyone knows the plot of Aladdin, even though I can’t recall having watched the original from start to finish. I must admit I didn’t sit down to watch it with high hopes, rather it was a family movie I was ‘enduring’ with the ladies of the house. Fionnuala is a tad obsessed with Will Smith and knows all the words to ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.’ I really can’t compete with that.
Two hours later I was struggling for superlatives to describe it. Brilliant! Amazing! I loved it. Smith is a revelation as the Genie, aided by fantastic special effects and a strong supporting cast. The actors who play Aladdin and Princess Jasmine were superb, the entire movie an explosion of colour and energy. Smith proved he can sing as well as rap and, well, everybody loves ‘A Whole New World.’
My favourite, though, was the magic carpet. Who would have thought a rectangle of fabric could be so expressive and personable. The entire movie flowed with an infectious passion which even an old grump like me couldn’t resist. Rebecca fell asleep towards the end but that was due to the late hour as opposed to any reflection on the film. I’d happily watch it with her again.
The new ‘Aladdin’ has to be up there now with my other favourite Disney flicks, ‘Brother Bear’ and ‘Enchanted.’ The former would melt the ice encased heart of a woolly mammoth while the latter has Amy Adams. I won’t have a bad word said about Amy Adams….ever. Her talent is boundless. Don’t believe me? Check out ‘Sharp Objects,’ or any other movie she’s been in for that matter. The girl has talent to burn.
The Disney machine gets its fair share of flak for being a heartless corporate beast pulling at our heartstrings while rifling through our wallets with overpriced merchandise and some dubious business practices. But when it’s churning out classics like the above it’s hard not to succumb to its charms. Life is hard enough and we all need a little magic from time to time. Disney can still serve it up.
Have you watched the ‘Lion King’ or ‘Aladdin ‘ remakes? What did you make of them?
What’s your favourite Disney movie?