A beloved children’s classic gets the live action treatment, but does it hold up to the original? Read on…
Aladdin is the latest in the line of money spinning live action remakes of Disney animated classics that, whilst commercially successful, are perhaps rightly treated with a sense of cynicism in some corners. At least in this case there is an argument for trying to improve the poorly handled racial stereotypes that plague the original version and to some extent (the casting of an Egyptian leading man) Disney takes a step forward here.
Relative unknowns Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott have great chemistry as Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, and it’s their romance that drives the film forward.
Kudos should go to Will Smith’s Genie as he steps into the (not unsubstantial) shoes of Robin Williams and delivers one of his most charismatic performances for some time. The exception though is Marwen Kenzari’s turn as the villainous Jafar. With the excess on offer elsewhere, his performance feels a little flat and a more OTT villain would have added a lot to an already fun film.
Despite some initial concerns with early trailers, Aladdin looks great. Given his back catalogue, Guy Ritchie initially seemed like an unusual choice to direct a Disney adaptation, but his style is well suited to the bustling streets of Agrabah. Refreshingly he also seems to have dialled down the ‘slow mo’ and quick cuts (that often prove irritating within ten minutes of his films starting). When he does let loose though, it works well and the film’s set pieces are mostly entertaining, where his visuals really shine through are the superb song and dance numbers that certainly prove to be the highlight of the film.
High points aside, it’s difficult to argue that this version really does enough different to warrant its existence and outside of money, it remains unlikely to convince any doubters as to the point of Disney remaking their animated back catalogue. That being said it still proves to be a breezy, entertaining film that will prove fun for all the family.
Author: Paul, Bath store