Will Disney’s Aladdin 2 Ruin A Cartoon Classic?

There’s been plenty of hype and hope behind the May 24th release of Disney’s live-action Aladdin. The movie will be based on the cartoon classic, telling the story of a young Aladdin, who goes on a journey after finding a lamp that releases a genie.

When it comes to sequels, while there have been a number of remakes better than the original, they seem to be few-and-far-between, especially when pitted against a cartoon classic like this one. We’ve seen plenty of commercials and trailers for this live-action recreation popping up practically everywhere from Facebook to YouTube and more.

Were ‘Aladdin’ cartoon sequels good?

Will Smith
Will Smith plays Genie in the ‘Aladdin’ reboot. | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Following the enormous success of Disney’s Aladdin back in 1992, some may recall the first sequel The Return of Jafar but most won’t because it was a real stinker. One of the biggest complaints with the sequel was the absence of Robin Williams as the voice of the Genie, and a lackluster imitation by his replacement, Dan Castellaneta.

However, in the case of the upcoming Aladdin, the Disney casting coach didn’t disappoint when they brought in Will Smith to fill Williams’ memorable shoes to rival his quick wit and distinctive voice. Instead of trying to mimic the legendary late comedian, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air actor will be putting his own unique spin on this iconic role. Other than a striking resemblance to the original character with similar song-and-dance sequences we should see some “freshness” from Smith’s portrayal.

Will ‘Aladdin’ be as good as ‘The Jungle Book’?

In comparing a recent live-action Disney remake to the original cartoon, the 2016 sequel to The Jungle Book was a smashing success at the box office. Together with foreign and domestic sales, viewers purchased almost a billion dollars worth of tickets to watch Mogli interact with his animal friends and family in theaters. As we’re already seeing from trailers of Aladdin, some of the success behind these live-action movies is the fact they’re visually stunning and the dazzling special effects practically jump off the screen.

Also when comparing the two, the second Jungle Book in the Disney series took the plot line to a “whole new world” sticking closer to the book rather than the animated version. Again, for those who have seen Aladdin trailers, it would appear as though this sequel will be more like the cartoon and less like the novel similar to the Beauty And The Beast reboot starring Emma Watson.

The cast of ‘Aladdin’

When Disney signed Tim Burton to film Alice In Wonderland in a live-action mode, many were surprised this dark director chose a relatively unknown actress to play the title role and the story remains the same for most of the cast in Aladdin. However, Burton’s gamble paid off for both Disney and the rising young actress since the movie was another smashing success and catapulted Mia Wasikowska with her stunning portrayal of Alice to celebrity status practically overnight.

So popular were the imagery and wardrobe choices made in this film, there were plenty of children, teenagers, and adults dressing as characters from the movie for Halloween following its release. But similar to Disney’s attempt to revive Aladdin with The Return of Jafar, the sequel of Alice Through The Looking Glass paled in comparison and tanked at the box office.

Will ‘Aladdin’ be a success?

So until the closing credits roll on Aladdin, there’s no way to tell with 100% certainty whether or not this version will soar or stink when it unfolds on the big screen. But there are probably enough fans of the original release for Disney to see rewards for their investment in making the transaction from animation to live-action for this beloved cartoon classic.