Overview: Young urchin Aladdin (Mena Massoud) along with his monkey Apu, steal and slither their way through life. Although Aladdin is a thief, he still has a good heart and puts others needs before his own. Aladdin’s luck seems to change however when he inherits a magic lamp containing a Genie (Will Smith). He must now decide what to wish for, and to ensure that in the end he stays true to himself.
Aladdin is rated PG for action/peril
What Worked: Guy Ritchie is the latest Director to tackle a Disney remake and he passes the test with flying colors. He did a great job of overseeing all components gelling together perfectly.
Animated characters like Abu, Rajah and the Magic Carpet are brought to life right before our eyes. They bring heart and great comedic moments to the film. Aladdin (Massoud) and Jasmine (Naomi Scott) have great chemistry. It is almost as if the cartoon was brought to life with these two. They play off of one another and help the viewers truly immerse themselves in the story. Massoud is funny, witty, and brave just like the character should be. Scott refreshingly has an expanded role in this version, and is much more than just a Sultan’s daughter. It was nice to see Jasmine with expanded songs and overall much more depth. The Genie however is the true star of the show. I originally questioned the casting of Smith, but he proved me wrong and delivers his best role in a decade.
Smith’s Genie was more hip to 2019 and definitely made the role his own. He was heartfelt, cool, and downright hilarious the entire movie. Ultimately, Ritchie follows up his Sherlock Holmes franchise with a daunting film to produce. Ritchie succeeds in the end, because like Aladdin, he decided to be himself. This new reimagining may not top the original, but it succeeds in being extremely fun and entertaining throughout.
What Didn’t Work: I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie and thus don’t have many complaints. However, the movie’s opening act is rushed and executed at a very rampant pace. The producers were clearly expecting that most viewers already know the story of Aladdin. Slowing it down a tad would have made it easier to follow for younger viewers.
My main objection of the movie revolves around the Villain Jafar (Marwan Kenzari). Ritchies’ new version simply isn’t evil enough. He looks just like a normal guy you would see walking down the street. He is missing the beady eyes, crooked face and maniacal laugh of the original. You just don’t get that sour taste you got in your mouth from the cartoon version. My only other complaint about the movie was the use of autotune for Smith and Massoud. Overall they both did a great job, but there are some higher notes in songs that you can tell were digitally enhanced. Naomi Scott on the other hand is a professional singer. Her songs remained untouched and they sound phenomenal. All in all, minor complaints for a very well rounded movie.
Overall: Director Guy Ritchie did a great job with this new live action version of Aladdin. He managed to retain all of the classic aspects of the original cartoon which is comforting. Where Ritchie really succeeded, however, was adding to the original and coming up with new ideas, giving us some fresh features of this story that leaves the audience satisfied. The atmosphere and imagery is done tastefully. The actors do a great job led by the very funny and energetic Will Smith. Lastly, the music is awesome, full of depth and originality.
Although it will be compared to the original, there are plenty of fresh elements all around. If accepted on it’s own, this new version of Aladdin excels across the board and it a spectacular addition to the vast Disney catalog.