For your consideration and comparison
Why is it so damn slow?
Unpopular opinion time:
I liked that.
It could've been worse, but it sure as hell could've been better too.
It aint cringe
It aint butchered
and that's good enough for me.
Looking at this side by side it REALLY shows the strength of animation and why these soulless live action remakes are mistakes. The live action version is so BORING by comparison.
Will Smith is gonna carry this thing, I'm thinking. It kinda looks like a TV special rather than a multi-million dollar blockbuster.
Unpopular opinion, but I actually think that they did the song justice. Will Smith's singing voice isn't great, but honestly, Robin Williams' wasn't anything to write home about either. The bombastic composition for the instrumentals for the live-action fit the parade theme well, and I honestly think that the song and parade do a better job of representing what Prince Ali is supposed to be than the animated film did.
I also really liked the choreography of the parade. I felt that the swordsmen and the women with the camels/peacocks segment was much more interesting than the Disney counterpart, and definitely fit better with the idea of the sequence. In the Disney sequence, it's the Genie impersonating individual crowd-members trying to stir up an otherwise mute (surely due to animation time constraints) and underwhelmed crowd; but here, it's all focused on the show of grandeur, which I think is a more cohesive way to represent the theme.
That being said, the cinematography is painfully amateurish. Just a handful of more-or-less still camera angles, and decidedly flat composition all throughout. The only really interesting bit of camera-work I saw was when the greens blast up onto screen and hides the transition to the next shot. Beyond that, the camera work was really boring, and painfully undermined the energy of the scene.
And I don't know what the hell the director was thinking with having Massoud give that shy, nervous wave. That is absolutely not what Prince Ali / Aladdin's tone should be - he's supposed to overflowing with smug arrogance at this stage, a lowly street-rat who suddenly has (the illusion of) wealth, influence, and respect - the things he's always dreamt of.
All in all, it's far better than I expected, given the previous decisions we've seen come out of this film. In fact, I'd argue that, given the precedence we've already had established in terms of what this film is willing to do, this is about as good as it could possibly get. And I honestly think it's one of the best things we've seen come out of this film so far.
At the end of the day, the Genie is--as with all of his characters--just Will Smith being Will Smith in this sequence. But, hell, I'll take "Will Smith being Will Smith" over "Will Smith being Will Smith but colored blue." The less blue Genie we see, the better, as far as I am concerned.
In terms of directing this seemed way less visually interesting than the 2D equivalent. By which I mean stuff like
parade is mostly shot from the front, which gets boring and makes it difficult to gauge its size
genie not using his powers for anything
gold camels are hilariously small now
repetitive cuts to Aladdin's face just to show that he's still got that nervous pretend-smile on.
I would have expected this to be one of those scenes where they really flex their visual muscles and go over the top. That's supposed to be the selling point of this remake, isn't it?
Because drawings can move faster than real human people.
Which would still be a problem even if the entire scene was VFX, high fidelity character design requires realistic movement, otherwise you run into the uncanny valley
The fact they paired such a bombastic song with such boring visuals is a travesty.
They had the perfect recipe to go full ham and knock it out of the park with over-the-top cinematography and visual effects, and instead shot it like a particularly uninteresting documentary.
The contrast between the music and image is almost dissonant.
Even with CGI it looks like size of a school play, they cut this scene from the production
Unpopular opinion again:
I think it adds to the charm.
It's because these aren't passion projects, they're cynical cash grabs, why should they give a shit when Disney's previous live action remakes have shown they don't have to?
this looks so bad. Like nothing about it was interesting. Like just rewatching the animated one just shows how much more interesting visually and conceptually it that one is, even just in this song.
The school play comparison isn't helped that Will Smith is boxstepping whenever he moves.
Because humans can't animate faster than humanly possible like an animation can.
It looks like they're just standing inside the game with Genie and a few guards singing at a small crowd, they barely move. In the cartoon they had legions of people walking with them, Genie was constantly using his magic to make Aladdin seem impressive, and eve Aladdin started to get into it. In the live action one they have maybe 30 people with them, Genie doesn't use any magic, and Aladdin looks like he'd rather be anywhere else the whole way through.
The thing that bugs me about is that Will Smith is just not that charming. One can argue he got less so the more big movies he kept being in. It's like he's both in the moment and somehow also not putting his all into it. Like say Tom Cruise, you never see Will Smith play the Genie, you just see Will Smith play himself in a musical setting. It all sticks out horribly when he's trying to sing a song that's not a rap number and it just becomes jarring. While the original was 2D and had a more faster pace, Robin had this huge amount of charisma and wit to the whole Prince Ali number that everyone is won over by the hyper machine that is the Genie. He's trying to make Aladdin this big deal when taken into consideration never drew a huge crowd while also hiding the illusion of his wealth. He's just trying to win over Jasmine and her father, the crowd was almost just a bonus.
At the end of the day you can really never compare Robin's and Will's roles as the Genie. Williams with his ridiculously hammy and lovable acting methods he takes wherever he went and Will can never reach that peak.
So Will Smith is the Fresh Prince Ali?
It didn't give me cancer isn't really a singing endorsement. This looks like squarely rental material.
No one in the cartoon moved unrealistically fast, only Genie was zipping around and there's this thing called GCI they can use to make that happen here.
The issue is the pacing of the action, very little stands out because everyone is moving at a fairly relaxed pace. It doesn't help that almost every shot is from the same angle, or that it has twice as many panning shots as the original. In the original people were interacting with each other and events lead into one another, in the remake it just cuts to the next thing with no lead up.
For example, in the original Genie goes into the crowd to get everyone to pay attention, he scoops up 8 guys in a human wheelbarrow and stacks them up to shack hands with 'Prince Ali', they fall on top of him and Genie uses this to give Aladdin super strength to show off.
The same section in the remake has Genie standing on a float announcing Aladdin to the crowd, close ups of Genie brushing off his shoulders, two shots of trumpeteers turning slightly,, then a panning shot up to Aladdin, with him looking uncomfortable, a panning shot of the crowd, a shot of Aladdin sitting on Abu, then another panning shot of the crowd.
In the same amount of time, in a song with the exact same pacing the cartoon has dynamic action while the live action film has close ups and panning shots. I'm not saying they need Aladdin to lift up a group of guys but they should do something. When Genie says "Strong as 10 regular men, definitely" Aladdin picks up the 6 guys who were on top of him, in the live action version he sits there nervously and doesn't move. Do SOMETHING, pick up a rock, stand up, move your arms. Anything other than literally nothing at all.
I dunno, Animation is weird. You can draw less frames and the movement can just feel better and snappier than something in live action
Tony from every frame a painting has a good example
This looks kind of awful, not going to lie. I'm still not interested and on top of that. Will smiths acting for this seems kind of off for this, I cant really put my foot on it but it feels like it lacks any pzazz. It almost feels like its void of any passion or artistic value like how old aladin did.
It's not about speed it's about framing. Compare the coterie, in the cartoon they're all shot from low angles and bounce when they move, this give the feeling that it's a larger than life spectacle (and means you can just make the background blue and call it the sky), in the live action version they don't even show the coterie, they just throw confetti at the screen and cut to a slightly different angle they just left.
Yes technically all the people standing around Genie are the coterie but they're just doing stationary dance moves. Mostly shaking their hips.
Yeah, on one hand I'm pleasantly surprised that they didn't go over the top with the CGI, but they still just can't help but show that it's an inferior version of the product. I can sort of get cutting out all the genie transformations and magic just from the aforementioned CGI saturation standpoint, but they slowed down the choreography big time, and the camera work is just downright dull by comparison. I know it's obviously easier to move a camera in animation because it's just drawing as opposed to lugging physical equipment around, but the animation uses much better shots, lot of close in and low angles to increase the grandeur, and repeatedly cutting back to the crowd being impressed. Not only does the live-action look smaller, it feels smaller because they use high and wide angle shots, also the extras in the crowd look almost bored because of course most of what's supposed to be in front of their faces was still edited in, and to make matters worse the cuts that do happen are very badly timed and instead of taking people in to the action pull them out of it since they repeatedly cut off the dancers in favor of completely static shots, whereas in the original the crowd was actually getting into it thanks to genie interacting with them directly (not to mention what genie was doing with the crowd was relevant to the lyrics rather than taking a purely tell-not-show approach).
I do have to wonder if the full version shows Will Smith crossdressing, or includes the reference to slavery though...
All I hear is the Fresh Prince.
The broadway show apparently replaces all the animated hijinx with fantastic choreography and singing. This new movie doesn't even have that. Literally everyone is just standing around like they're watching a Macy's Day parade, and Will Smith is phoning in his singing just as much as his acting.
And watch as it still gets a fresh rating on Rotten tomatoes, just like the abomination that was the Beauty and the Beast remake. (Seriously, when my mom - who loved the original so much that she named one of our cats after the lead character - was literally repeating some of Lindsey Ellis's criticisms word for word without having watched that youtube video, I knew they'd seriously fucked up. Never gonna waste my time with that POS, or this new Aladdin movie.)
It seems like appeal to pedantry is a running theme of these remakes. Both the Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast remakes seemed like they were designed with the goal of making it impossible for CinemaSins to make a video about them, and all other considerations were secondary.
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