Certificate – PG
Directed By – Guy Ritchie
Starring – Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenazi, Alan Tudyk (voice).
Running Time – 128 Minutes (2 Hours 8 Minutes)
When news first came out that Disney was going to do a live action Aladdin, it made sense and I was excited. I, like a lot of people, grew up loving the animated film and Robin Williams’ Genie, it’s still in my top three Disney animated films, behind the GOAT Lion King and ahead of Mulan.
Even when casting was announced I was still somewhat excited, sure I had some worries about Smith taking on the role but I saw why. However, the first official images were released and the multiple trailers and honestly going into the screening I was worried.
What’s Aladdin About?
For those who didn’t watch the animated classic. Young Aladdin (Massoud) embarks on a magical adventure after finding a lamp that releases a wisecracking genie (Smith).
Is It Any Good?
My original worries left the minute we met Massoud’s Aladdin and the film transformed into a highly entertaining, enjoyable movie.
A big chunk is because of the breakout star Massoud as he brings the charm, humanity and vulnerability of our hero. The 27-year-old has a brilliant singing voice and does a top-notch job with One Jump and A Whole New World.
If this is a sigh of things then the Canadian actor is going to have a strong career.
What was important to see was the relationship between Massoud and Smith’s Genie. Lucky for them they had Ritchie on hand (like all of his films) the filmmaker was easily able to bring the bromance and friendship between the characters to life. What also helped was the fact Massoud and Smith had fantastic chemistry.
Meanwhile, Smith is fantastic has Genie and he made the role his own. It was important for him to do because he was never going to replace Williams iconic performance. Instead, Genie was basically Will Smith and in this movie, it worked brilliantly.
While the clip Disney released of Prince Ali was bad (like all the trailers and clips they’ve released), I can tell you watching in full the song didn’t have any tempo issues and it brought a wonderful big grin on my face. The same goes for Friend Like Me because there’s something fun hearing Smith adding his signature “Aha” to these songs.
Elsewhere, it’s not just the blokes that have great chemistry. Scott’s Princess Jasmine and Pedrad’s Dalia as equally entertaining whenever they’re on screen together.
It’ll come to no surprise that Scott is utterly breathtaking as Jasmine, but she’s also the strongest written and does the character proud and she’ll be a hero to a lot of little girls.
The British actress shows why she was the strongest singer while belting out A Whole New World and especially with the new song that’s Jasmine anthem song, Speechless.
Once again, the chemistry between Scott and Massoud worked fantastically.
However, while all of those stars are great the films MVP is Pedrad.
As the new character Dalia, she brings tonnes of humour and joy to the film. To the point, it makes sense for Jasmine to have a close friend and it’s a welcome addition to the film.
There are also some great comedic moments involving Billy Magnussen.
The film itself follows closely to the animated film and Ritchie does a fantastic job bringing some of it to life, especially the world of Agrabah with beautiful bright colours, and includes a slow-mo or two.
The filmmaker does add some new things to the story and takes some other things away, but what I randomly liked is that there are two scenes in the movie a nod towards other past films.
One of those being A Knights Tale and the other was 2012’s Mirror Mirror.
Anything Bad About This Film?
While Ritchie does some good things on screen the technical stuff is bad.
The CGI is some of the worst I’ve seen in a while, from Smith’s blue Genie (which won’t be as big of an issue as the film goes on) and the stars riding on the magic carpet.
Acting wise, Kenzari’s Jafar never once felt threating or intimidating. A lot of it comes down to the voice as he was never able to match Jonathan Freeman’s voice that was menacing as hell.
While Tudyk does a reasonable job, Iago should’ve been a talking parrot voiced by Gilbert Gottfried.
While it has its issues, Aladdin is a wonderful, enjoyable, fun film with fantastic performances from Massoud, Smith, Scott and Pedrad.