This live-action remake of the 1992 hit, Aladdin is a hit, filled with flamboyant musical numbers, and lively performances. Directed by Guy Ritchie, the film had a lot of people nervous. Particularly as some of Ritchie’s previous films have lacked the awe required to leave an audience feeling fulfilled. However, Aladdin is filled with clever special effects, some political debate and enough pizzaz to certainly wet the audiences appetite.
The iconic role of the Genie is played by Will Smith, another element that had fans of the animated role worried, but Smith takes the role with a cocky bravado, and many wisecracks, making the role lovable and truly his own. There are definitely some nods to Smith’s previous role as The Fresh Prince, which is a subtle nod to the 90’s, and keeps the sassy nature of the Genie without cloning Robin Williams’ take on the character.
Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is first introduced whilst picking pockets, and Massoud manages to capture his cheeky personality perfectly, whilst also adding depth and a likeability that is difficult to explain. Naomi Scott stuns throughout in her role as Princess Jasmine, again there is a depth added to the Princess that was difficult to depict in the animated character, and certainly a new air of power to her words. The terrifying Jafar, is brought to life by Marwan Kenzari, and he does not disappoint. There is just the right amount of sneering and scheming, topped with more than a touch cunning malevolence.
Whilst the live-action does feature songs from the original film, such as ‘Prince Ali’, ‘Friend Like Me’ and of course ‘A Whole New World’, it doe put its own revamped spin on the classic tracks. There are also some new tracks, and ‘Speechless’ sang by the Princess herself is musically stunning.
Whilst this is a musical, there are at times, moments where the music simply slows down the telling of the story, particularly ‘Speechless’. It comes in at a key scene, and whilst it gives Scott a chance to display her incredible vocal ability, add to the determination of her character and dedicate a moment to the political elements of the film, it completely stops the flow of the film, and makes the scene confusing.
The iconic ‘A Whole New World’ felt lacking in the Disney magic that flowed through the original, and the same can be said for ‘One Jump Ahead’, but, they were still enjoyable.
Aladdin had the potential, and for many was expected to be, a cynical repackaging of a Disney classic, but it is actually a joyful ride. It is certainly a nice was to introduce the classic to a new generation of Disney fans, or a lovely way to revisit an old favourite.
Overall, this live-action Aladdin deserves 4 stars. It was fun, enjoyable and a fantastic visual but just didn’t capture the magic of the original.
What are your thoughts? Did you love it, or is this review too kind?