Nostalgia is an odd topic, isn’t it. The folks over at the Mouse House -as many media buffs like me know – Love to exploit nostalgia in their audience to make them multi-billionares. One case out of many is their live-action incarnation of Aladdin, which is adapting the 1992 ‘toon classic by the same name (which itself is based on the folk tale from One Thousand and One Nights). However, audiences are seemingly starstruck with this remake, and I want to find out why.
The film follows Mena Massoud as our protagonist Aladdin, a “street rat”, who falls for Princess Jasmine( played by Naomi Scott) as well as befriending a wisecracking, wish-granting Genie (played by Will Smith). This leads Aladdin on a power trip utilizing the Genie to impress Jasmine, while also duking it out with the dastardly Jafar.
Probably the movie’s best trait are the actors and their stellar performances. It would be quite a feat to fill the shoes of the late and great Robin Williams, so I respect the decision of taking the risk of replacing William’s shtick with Smith’s. And thankfully, Will Smith does an excellent job at bringing a lighthearted energy to the film (despite the substandard CGI animation). Naomi Scott actually does…well…give the character of Jasmine a personality which is one nitpick of the original I and others had. While Massoud isn’t anything special, his chemistry with Smith is delightful so I’ll give him that. The only real sore thumb in the cast is the baddie Jafar, who lacks his counterparts sort of hyperbole (his eye-rolling puns during the cartoons farcial climax) that made him an entertaining villain.
The musical numbers are also dull, except “Friend Like Me” which is the only one in the batch that captures the originals fun. Another thing, ( It’s really a small quibble so take with a pinch of salt) the film is extremely bleak in it’s colors compared to 92’s eye-popping backgrounds and colors, but it is because CGI looks better in darker shades so I guess it makes sense. I am comparing the two films a lot so I thought that I should look at this movie without acknowledging the classic to see what my new perspective would be. And with that, I would say it is a high-budget CGI Hollywood blockbuster that is an overall fun time at the movies, even if it is incredibly over the top.
I am awarding Aladdin(2019) a 7/10! Thank you for reading and remember to tune in weekly for new reviews and all things film.