A kind-hearted street urchin and a power-hungry Grand Vizier vie for a magic lamp that has the power to make their deepest wishes come true.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writers: John August (screenplay by), Guy Ritchie (screenplay by)
Stars: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott
A few of my friends and I went and see Aladdin yesterday, decked out like Princess Jasmine. A lot of mixed reactions have been brewing since the beginning of the previews, but we still wanted to see it nonetheless.
WARNING: From here on out there will be SPOILERS. So don't read past this point.
I remember watching the animated movie when I was in grade school and just simply fell in love with everything. The story was just the perfect mix of romance, action and comedy in one story.
Before I move on to my critique, I want to burst everyone's proverbial bubble and just say that this isn't the Aladdin you grew to love. Brand new, different and very Bollywood-esque is what I can describe this new version in a nutshell.
The memorable parts of the movie for me was the costumes, set design, and the feeling of nostalgia as they sang all the songs from the animated movie.
My friends heard me gasp as we watched princess jasmine enter the throne room to meet a new prince suitor - Price Anders, played by Billy Magnussen. All of her outfits, even the one in the market scene with Aladdin, had my eyes going wild over all the details and the flow of the fabric. It definitely inspired me to build a complete Princess Jasmine costume, which I will be doing a blog post about soon. The costumes, went very well with the elaborate set design. It wasn't the desert that we were hoping for, since there was a bit of water along the kingdom, but I loved it nonetheless.
I got goosebumps when they did the Prince Ali song. I see a lot of reviews knocking it down for being "overdone", but how else would you have imagined an over the top introduction of a prince that was magically created into thin air? I enjoyed the scene for how "extra" it was, because that's how it was supposed to be. I would have done the same if I had a genie and wanted to impress a princess. How can you say no to all the golden camels, the great procession... and jams! LOL.
Iago played by Alan Tudyk was absolutely hilarious! Although he didn't have a lot of lines in the movie, each time he was in a scene, he left us laughing quite a bit. The other pets, Abu (the monkey) and Rajah (the Tiger) were CGI, but definitely looked amazing.
Who can forget Robin William's memorable performance as the genie in the Disney animated film? That being said - do not expect Robin William's performance to be revived in this movie. Will Smith takes on the role of the genie for the live action film. Honestly despite people judging the movie before it even came out, I had high hopes for his own version of the genie. Smith puts his own spin to the character, and he did it well. Was it memorable? I still have mixed feelings about it. But a lot of the scenes were really funny, and honestly it wasn't as bad as people thought it would be. Again, keep in mind that although this is the same movie and story line, a lot of the aspects of this has been modernized to appeal to the new generation of Disney fans. This movie had a different spin to the story as well. And although I said I was going to give out spoilers, I'm going to leave out some information about the new take on the genie's story line because I really enjoyed it.
This movie marked a debut of a new solo song for Jasmine called "Speechless" sang by Naomi Scott. Naomi did a fantastic job singing all the songs in the movie. She also did a great job on being the strong female character, but unfortunately "Speechless" falls flat for me, as I was expecting it to have the same feel as Moana's "How Far I'll Go". It just lacks that certain Disney magic when you hear the princess sing for the very first time. I tried listening to the lyrics more - the message IS there, but it left me feeling that it was more of a filler scene than anything.
Jafar, played by Marwan Kenzari, also fell short for me, and I had mixed feeling about his performance. I guess I was really looking forward to love-to-hate this character, but his character just seemed to fall into the background of the story.
And finally Aladdin played by Mena Massoud. Mena was absolutely charming in his version of Aladdin, and I really think that he did the character justice. Staying true to the Bollywood feel of the movie, he presented a lot of great dance moves to woo over Jasmine and the audience. I loved the action sequence in the city where they did a lot of exciting stunts and fight scenes - I absolutely loved to see Aladdin to move around so quick and cunning to evade the palace guards.
Would I recommend to see it? I do, but again don't assume that everything stayed the same from the animated movie!