Chance Gibbs

Is it just me, or is every movie released lately excellent?

Maybe I’m just picking good ones? Or maybe Hollywood is nailing it? I don’t know, but what I do know is that last weekend I saw Disney’s newest live-action remake, “Aladdin,” and I was blown away.

We’ve all seen the cartoon. A “street rat” peasant boy steals his way through life, finds a lamp, gets three wishes, and BAM – falls in love with a princess and lives happily ever after.

“Aladdin” is without a doubt one of the greatest Disney cartoons of all time and, along with classics like “The Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast,” took Disney to the top in the 1990’s and defined an entire generation.

I grew up with “Aladdin.” I even had it on VHS, along with its sequels. It’s my third favorite Disney cartoon of all time, right behind the two I mentioned previously, so a lot was riding on this one for me.

When I saw they cast Will Smith to fill Robin Williams’ shoes and play Genie, I was skeptical.

When I saw Jafar, the villain, in the previews – I was wanting to throw the entire film away and start over.

They didn’t look exactly like they did in my childhood memories, so I almost didn’t go see this one at all.

I hardcore judged this book by it’s cover, and I will admit right here and now that I was very, very wrong.

“Aladdin” was excellent.

The film did everything these live-action remakes should do, and Disney sets the bar even higher time after time after time.

The sets, the costumes, the cast – all of it hits the marks and really wows the audience.

Old familiar songs like “A Whole New World” had movie-goers singing out loud, and some new additions were a nice touch to the direction they took the film.

I don’t want to spoil too much for you, but female empowerment, being true to your word, and doing what’s right are big themes in this one.

It’s not an exact replica of the cartoon, but it’s a well-executed and updated live-action remake that truly is a must-see.

It’s cool to see these remakes hit the big screen because my generation, who sat in those sa­me seats 20 something years ago to watch the originals, are now returning for the live-actions and bringing their own small children.

I know this was Disney’s game plan all along, as they know how to make a buck, but it’s still a cool experience for parents and children, alike.

Take the trip to Agrabah.

Behold the Cave of Wonders.

Say “Hello” to Aladdin, and Jasmine, and even Jasmine’s pet tiger, Rajah, if you’re so inclined.

It’s a trip you won’t soon forget.


Chance Gibbs is an actor and writer living in the Dallas area. He’s appeared in numerous television shows, films, professional and community theater, and TV commercials, and has been a contributor to news publications since 2007.