A fun but bumpy magic carpet ride
May 31, 2019
Disney keeps their live-action remakes going with the classic “Aladdin,” taking audiences through the streets of Agrabah in a new way.
Despite Disney’s successes with “The Jungle Book” and “Beauty and the Beast” remakes, they recently hit a misstep with the live-action “Dumbo.” Combine this with the mixed reception of the trailers, “Aladdin” set up to be another miss as many wondered how this retelling would match up to the animated film. And for the most part, the film manages to be a flawed, but entertaining, ride.
Director Guy Ritchie helms the live-action retelling of the 1992 animated classic maintaining the plot of the animated film.A street-rat, Aladdin (Mena Massoud), and monkey, Abu, stumbles across Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) who gives Aladdin a chance to become rich in exchange for retrieving a lamp for him in the Cave of Wonders. Aladdin then meets a Genie (Smith) who gives him three wishes by rubbing the magical lamp, which Aladdin then uses to impress Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott).
The look and feel of Agrabah is nailed to the tee. Ritchie achieves the style of the streets of the poorer districts of Agrabah and the palace where Jasmine spends most of her time, showing that he paid attention to the scale of the animated classic.
When Will Smith was casted as the Genie, audiences were immediately worried that he would be able to fill the late Robin Williams’ shoes.
Smith manages to make the role of Genie his own and adds his own charming flair that worked in his favor. Although he is CGI in his Genie form, Smith’s charisma shines through, making the film fun. He even has his own subplot, resulting in an interesting turn at the end of the film.
Scott and Massoud both manage to pull off the roles of Jasmine and Aladdin, making them believable in the role.
The film’s climax plays out like the animated film, with some small differences, but the main flaw is with the portrayal of Jafar. In the animated film, he was menacing and cruel. Here, Jafar comes off as a snarky, seductive playboy who doesn’t get his way, which is off-putting.
But in the end, Disney manages to make a fun, yet flawed, adaptation of “Aladdin” that might not be “The Jungle Book” live-action good, but it definitely isn’t as disastrous as the “Dumbo” remake.