When a thief frees a genie from a lamp, his wishes are granted, but soon finds that the evil has other plans for the lamp – and his love interest, princess Jasmine.
One of the most controversial films of the year has arrived, and fortunately, it’s actually a good time. Aladdin, the modern day live-action remake of Disney’s 1992 hit animation has had our attention since the first graphic release. However, our hopes began to decline after a few “first look” images shattered the web, and fans were not pleased; especially with Will Smith’s rendition of the notorious genie. Nonetheless, the film is here, and I advised all fans of the original to take a crack at it, because you just may enjoy yourself as much as I did.
This film is for sure a live remake. No exactly shot for shot, but pretty close. There are a few additional songs, but it is notable that the director attempted to stay true to the original classic. It was exhilarating to dive into the magic once more on a grander scale and very rewarding to share the experience with the new generation. I commend the creators for adding several modern elements to the film such Bollywood infused hip-hop dance numbers and new character interactions.
At times, the cinematography was astounding. Bright colors all around with sharp visuals from corner to corner, but this aspect was not perfect. It is not difficult to differentiate the scenes that were shot on a sound stage as oppose to a real location. As a result, many portions of the film can come off as cheap and CGI heavy.
Now we cannot have a Disney film without stellar ballads. For the most part, we were given a solid intro number and a passable rendition of the award-winning classic “A Whole New World”, but the bar did not come close to the original. Mena Massoud (Aladdin) in particular, was not vocally strong enough for any of the numbers. Unfortunately, his solos fell flat and were forced. It seemed as if he was cast based off his looks alone because even his acting was cringe worthy. On the contrary, thankfully, Naomi Scott was here to save the day by belting out every song including a standout performance of her new song “Speechless” (a scene-stealer). I have no words for her; she was a beautiful princess Jasmine. On the other hand, the one we were all worried about, turned out to be the true standout in this film. Will Smith was outstanding. Although his vocals were average, he provides massive comedic relief that sets the pace from the beginning and ends with a warm enchanting performance. If any, he brought the magic to this film.
While the film does not have the magic of its predecessor and sadly falls short of 2017’s remake – Beauty and the Beast, it is still one hell of an adventure. The story is timeless, and I am sure that the new generation will appreciate every bit of this film.
Sometimes, that's all that matters.