“You look like a prince on the outside, but I didn't change anything on the inside.”
The second live action Disney remake of the year, “Aladdin,” is here. With early trailers and images of Will Smith as Genie made the general audience more than skeptical of the film, does “Aladdin” prove to be more than a grab at nostalgia?
“Aladdin” follows street rat, riffraff and scoundrel Aladdin. After becoming smitten with the princess of Agrabah, Jasmine, he is taken by the evil Jafar to the Cave of Wonders to retrieve a lamp containing a powerful genie. Instead of bringing the lamp back to Jafar, Aladdin decides to use the wishes he is granted by Genie to try and win the heart of Jasmine.
A plot synopsis really seems pointless here because, let's face it, you’ve almost certainly seen the original animated classic from 1992. It’s best to go into this film with an open mind. There was never any chance of this film surpassing the original, so its best to simply enjoy it for what it’s worth.
Sadly, even with this approach, I struggled to find much about the new “Aladdin” that I enjoyed.
While the main concern of the internet seemed to be the appearance of Will Smith’s Genie, I really didn’t mind it. In fact, Smith is without a doubt the best part of “Aladdin”; While he is still no Robin Williams, he makes the character his own.
Mena Massoud is passable as the titular character. He doesn’t particularly stand out in any way or have any great scenes, but he isn’t as bad as he could be.
Naomi Scott is great as Princess Jasmine. She commands the screen every scene she is in and is a joy to watch and is without a doubt the best singer in the film. It’s a shame that she has very little to work with.
Every other performance in “Aladdin” is pretty bad. Marwan Kenzari is terrible as Jafar, with each line and delivery being worse than the last.
Most of the musical numbers in “Aladdin” just don’t do justice to the originals from 1992. “One Jump Ahead” is particularly bad, with director Guy Ritchie choosing to speed up some of the actors movements making the scene feel off.
All the musical numbers with Will Smith’s Genie are a super fun to watch. It feels as if most of the CGI budget for the film went into these numbers, as they look fantastic.
While the only new song in the film, “Speechless”, is a beautifully written song, its use in the story feels stilted and out of place.
2019’s “Aladdin” is about 40 minutes longer than the original film and it shows. While it tries to add more scenes that flesh out characters, they tend to drag, and I was definitely ready for the film to end towards the third act.
Overall, “Aladdin” simply feels like a pointless remake. It doesn’t improve on the original nor does it do enough to stand on its own. If you feel like watching a version of this film, stick with the animated original.