If you’re going out for the Fourth of July holiday, maybe to watch some fireworks, please remember to be careful, stay safe and stay “socially distant” out there. On the other hand, plenty of people will probably choose to stay home and snuggle up with a few good movies on whatever streaming TV service they happen to enjoy.
If you’re looking for a Shaq-fix, that can be had…if you have the right streaming service. Kazaam – the Shaq-plays-giant-sized-genie movie, is available on Disney+. A bit tip o’ the hat to our friends at movie website www.ScreenRant.com for a quick recap of things you never knew about Kazaam. Let’s dig in, shall we?
- Kazaam was written (for the most part) and directed by a man who was already very popular in Hollywood and on the small screen, actor and director Paul Glaser. Yes, the same guy who played Starsky on fast-car cop show Starsky & Hutch. Glaser wrote the story for Kazaam, while Christian Ford and Roger Soffer are credited for writing the screenplay, according to IMDb.
- Along with being the big (really big!) star of the movie, Shaq was involved behind the scenes, too. O’Neal was one of several executive producers for the film. The movie was his second to act in (his first was 1994’s Blue Chips), and Kazaam was his very first to executive produce. As ScreenRant points out, the camera loves Shaq, and he has gone on to many other acting and producing jobs.
The Kazaam soundtrack was pretty well star-studded, too. With a quick trip over to Disney+, you’ll find that the music for this film seems to be intact. In addition to a meaningful film score from Christopher Tyng, this movie is full of popular music. Soundtracks were already a thing by 1996, and this one is chock-full of goodies. Of course there’s Shaq, and also Jason Weaver, the Backstreet Boys, Usher, and other popular artists of the day.
- The movie was – how shall we say this? – not well-liked by critics. Kazaam is intense, goofy, rude, and emotional all at once. On internet movie site IMDb, it scores a 3.0 out of 10, and things weren’t much better over on Rotten Tomatoes. One critic put it this way: “Crafted from a mix of genre clichés, Kazaam doesn’t know what kind of film it wants to be, and Shaq’s larger-than-life charisma is stifled by rote filmmaking and an unimaginative story.”
- Kazaam or Alladin…which came first? If the plot of Kazaam sounds like another kid Disney flick you saw in 1996, you’re right. Less than one month after Kazaam came out, Disney released the animated direct-to-video sequel for Aladdin, called Aladdin and the King of Thieves. Then TV movie critic Roger Ebert points out the similarities: both movies involve a young boy (Maxwell in Kazaam and Aladdin in Aladdin) who never knew his father. In each case, a genie helps the boy find the father, who is bad news. Kazaam has a dad involved in a music pirating scheme, and Aladdin’s sequel has a dad who happens to be the King of Thieves.
- Kazaam…. Shazaam? One of the most fascinating things about Shaq’s genie movie may be the “misremembering” of another genie flick. There’s a belief that comedian Sinbad starred in a similar movie two four years earlier, called Shazaam. But really, there was no such movie. Both Sinbad and Shaq appeared in genie costume for a Nickelodeon TV show called “All That.” Interesting idea, but no… No Sinbad-genie movie.
So maybe you’ll be adding Kazaam to your weekend movie list? For those who can’t get enough of the Big Man on the small screen, this might just be a holiday weekend snack worth adding to the playlist.