Title – Aladdin (2019)
Director – Guy Ritchie (Snatch)
Cast – Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Billy Magnussen, Nasim Pedrad
Plot – Good natured street dweller Aladdin (Massoud) fights for a magical lamp with an enthusiastic genie (Smith) and for the affection of Princess Jasmine (Scott) in a colourful romp through the Arabian landscape.
“Face it, princess, sometimes you just have to take a risk”
Review by Eddie on 27/05/2019
First some context.
My expectations for Aladdin were about as low as they come.
So-so trailers, seemingly zero positive pre-release hype and a director whose sadly been out of form for time, the stars really did not seem to be aligning for Disney’s latest live action treatment of a beloved property.
It’s great to report then that against all the odds, Guy Ritchie’s colourful, often energetic and sometimes brilliantly fun re-imagining of the classic Aladdin tale is more than watchable, certainly not great and not anywhere near as memorable as the classic Disney animation, but absolutely entertaining enough to justify a trip to the cinema.
Made for the whole family in mind, Ritchie’s take on the age old tale sticks relatively close to the formula of the past with a few new additions (including an extra song for Princess Jasmine and some extended last act amendments) and while Ritchie’s renowned visual flourishes and slick camera movements remain sadly mostly restrained, the renowned British filmmaker handles his first musical and family adventure with a typical confidence that ensures the buzzing sets, large-scale set-pieces and musical numbers will bring a smile to even the most hard to please of faces.
Another reason this new Aladdin remains surprisingly watchable is due to the casting of these beloved characters with newcomers Mena Massoud as street dweller turned prince Aladdin and Naomi Scott as Jasmine both doing fine work, even if Scott is the real MVP of the musical numbers over her co-star.
Both young performers share an easy going chemistry and charisma making their time on screen enjoyable, overshadowed however by the much-maligned Will Smith who silences the doubters with a great incarnation of our much loved blue Genie.
Derided thanks to some mediocre pre-release marketing, Smith is as fun as his been in years as the character made famous by the late Robin Williams with the now 50 year old star giving it his all. While not excelling in the singing department, Smith makes the Genie his own as he takes over the film around the half-way mark and his presence in the film goes a long way to making Ritchie’s adventure yarn a simple to enjoy proposition.
While perfectly fun, its undeniable that Aladdin never truly soars and starts to peter out in the somewhat bloated second act that starts to lose the energetic vibe of the first half and the less said about lead villain Jafar (played rather poorly by Marwan Kenzari) the better, with it becoming rather disappointing such a bland and boring big bad was employed in the film when there was the chance for the scheming character to really chew up the scenery had it been done right.
Final Say –
Far from a classic new take on a beloved tale, Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin is still a visual big screen delight that is a lot better than many had thought it possible to be, bought to life by some fun turns from its up and coming leads and an extremely fun Will Smith performance.
3 jars of jam out of 5
I just can’t get excited about this one Eddie, but I’m glad to hear that it beats the worst of worst expectations. Maybe it’ll be one of those date movies for me!
Oh man I was dreading it, not going to lie, but it was decently watchable.
Fairly unmemorable, but a lot better than many thought it would be 🙂
I’ve said it elsewhere and I’ll repeat it here- I really dislike and distrust these remakes of animation classics, it just feels like a cynical cash-grab unless going live-action offers something new to say or a new approach. Which they don’t, it seems to me.
Yeh I totally agree mate, there extremely unneeded. As long as people keep supporting them though Disney won’t stop anytime soon I wouldn’t of thought.
Good review. To me, I thought this movie was okay. It had its moments here and there, but not quite as good as the original one. Surprisingly, Smith’s Genie and Scott’s Jasmine I thought were really good, while Aladdin and Jafar were weak.
Agree completely mate!
Great review! I watched it and enjoyed it very much. I didn’t compare it with the animated classic version since I didn’t watch that one, so maybe that’s why I can appreciate this one way more than some….
I think its a very easy film to enjoy, it doesn’t break any new ground but its a lot of fun and nice for a family film to enjoy all together.
I loved this movie sooo much! Like from all the Disney remakes including Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Puss in Boots and now this – I think Aladdin will win the prize! The chemistry between the actors is SO SPOT ON it’s magical aaaaah I loved it
I must agree with you, I think its their best one yet even though I had many doubts before seeing it.
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I just watched this and for the first half I was sitting there thinking it was pretty poorly done and nothing about it was as good as the cartoon. However it changed gear in the second half and there were a few things done differently that I thought were improvements and ended up really enjoying it!
It’s a very fun film, you can tell everyone in it is having a good time which is a nice bonus. Lots of visually flair to.
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