A street rat Aladdin, just happens to be the diamond in the rough who can get into the cave and retrieve the magic lamp for Jafar, a power crazed Grand Vizier who wants to overpower the Sultan of Agrabah.
It is a difficult time we have reached with the Disney becoming truly obsessed with these “live action” remakes. This was always going to be toughest one for me personally, as the animated Aladdin film is one of my favourites. It was the first film I ever saw at the cinema, I tried so hard not to compare it (which is near impossible) but I can admit that they did very well with certain scenes bringing them well and truly to life.
Aladdin has a horrible life living on the streets and stealing to survive. Everything will change when he meets a girl one day and saves her, not realising that she is in fact Princess Jasmine. Breaking into the castle thinking she is the maid to the actual Princess. When Jafar thinks he could be the diamond he had been searching for, he is taken to the cave and gets in with his monkey Abu. When getting the lamp, Abu cannot resist touching a jewel and it all comes crashing down. Good thing they have that magic lamp though that just happens to contain a Genie and Aladdin will get three wishes. He’s never had a friend like him before, when we first meet the Genie he is blue, but then the colour change to fit in when they decide on Prince Ali and an attempt to marry Jasmine.
With a few twists and turns in the story everything is pretty spot on to the animated version and that I guess is good in terms of homage. Seeing certain parts been given big and bold musical numbers, yes “Prince Ali” I am talking about you. Not forgetting what Will Smith’s Genie is given for “Friend Like Me” at times it is visually stunning but falls short in my opinion for some of the wooden performances we are given. Especially from the leading role of Aladdin which was just as disappointing as Jafar in my opinion. For the latter I was more prepared though, the differences in accents to a lot of the characters to then Aladdin and Jasmine just sounding America was a little bit confusing.
I guess my overall opinion was that parts were nice, some was funny and then the rest was laughable. Will Smith is back to his comedic best in this role though and it is easily his best performance for many years. Naomi Scott was given a powerful song in “Speechless” which is pretty much delivers with although that is a reminder that it is 2019 and everything must be changed. Mena Massoud was just way too wooden and not likeable enough in the role and lucky to have Smith alongside him, you must get the title character right in a film like this and I feel as though they failed in that sense. Marwan Kenzari seriously miscast as Jafar a character who should be totally terrifying and more like a spoilt child. Billy Magnussen in a small role as Prince Anders was hilarious in his short screen time.
I will therefore remain firmly on the fence about this one, as parts were impressive but other parts were below average. I cannot really say I am disappointed though as I wasn’t expecting anything groundbreaking from the film to begin with.