Aladdin has received a lot of backlash prior to its release from fans who thought it would be a debacle. Was the criticism justified?
The movie, directed and written by Guy Ritchie, is almost identical to the 1992 animation as it follows Aladdin, a good-hearted petty thief who meets a girl at a market in Agrabah. Immediately taken with her, he rescues her from the local authority and starts up a friendship, unbeknownst to him that she is Princess Jasmin.
Making a live action version of Aladdin was never going to be a simple task, there were several factors that had to be right when it came to the visual aspect. However, Ritchie and his team have created a live action Agrabah, with all of its mystical elements, that brings a true sense of Disney magic to the screen. Especially with one of the most anticipated moments in the story – the whole new world scene. The visual effects and cinematography are faultless and beautiful, even hardcore purists would struggle to find it anything less than enchanting.
Despite copping most of the backlash after the trailer release, Will Smith’s Genie is one of the highlights of the film. He makes Genie his own, without any attempts to imitate Williams – not many could have pulled off playing such a beloved character made famous by another. Smith incorporates the energetic, sassy, and musical side of his previous role as the Fresh Prince with the original characteristics of the Genie. If you pay close attention, you might notice a little nod to this fact in the movie.
Naomi Scott plays the beautiful Princess Jasmin, who is more empowered in this version and happens to be a great role model for the younger viewers. Mena Massoud is undeniably spot on as Aladdin. The relatively unknown actors were entirely the right casting choices for the main characters. In fact, all the talent involved were well picked.
While Aladdin is incredibly enjoyable to watch, there are a couple of nuisances that are hard to ignore. The plot starts losing its focus in the last quarter as additional scenes are added to make a point, however, it only slows down the pacing. Thankfully, it doesn’t last long before the movie picks up again.
Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) is the big villain but the live action character is less menacing than the animated version. Unfortunately, when your core villain is not strong enough, the threat and their part of the story is less impactful than it should be.
Music has always been a memorable aspect of Aladdin, and with Hollywood’s need to update old classics with newer artists, there tends to be a lot of disappointment and misses. Most of us who grew up on the 1992 version will still prefer the old songs, but the updated versions have been respectfully done without destroying the sentiments of the melodies.
Overall, Aladdin is a beautiful and enjoyable live action film that has the proper Disney magic feel to it. 7.5/10
Aladdin is in cinemas now.