It’s a weird and grotesque hybrid, belonging to no particular era, style or creative sensibility
So the weekend saw the release of the Live action version of 1992 Disney Classic, Aladdin and considering the names associated with the film including the likes of Naomi Scott and Will Smith with Guy Ritchie handling direction, expectations naturally got hyped up.
However, our experience with expectations and reality has not been sweet this weekend. Let’s review Aladdin and find out why
What’s the Story Morning Glory?
The story remains almost the same as it’s cartoon predecessor. “Street rat” Aladdin (Mena Masoud) wishes to be rich someday. Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) wishes to be independent from her Sultan father.
Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), the evil Vizier wishes to become Sultan, yada yada yada! The magic carpet, the monkey, the parrot, the lamp, the genie, you know the drill!
On the Upside
Although there is not much to take home from this movie, performances are worth praising. While the writers and director left no stone unturned to make Arabic characters look as much caricatured as possible, performances by Masoud, Scott, Kenzari and the like gave the roles at least some grace.
Smith, having perfect comic timing might be able to save this sinking ship. He brings something new to the character and his comparison with Robin Williams would be unfair.
On the Downside
As said earlier, the movie is a mere copy-paste of the animated film without further improvements. Guy Ritchie, who has given us gems like Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Sherlock Holmes, seems way out of Element in this film.
Another disappointment is the film’s lazily reprised music. The hummable originals A Whole New World and Prince Ali had the spark which their remakes don’t and that’s what makes the originals always better.
All in All
Disney has been remorseless with its remakes, regurgitating the animated classics frame for frame and note for note. There’s something off-putting about their confidence in churning out 15, 20, 30-year-old films almost exactly as they first appeared.
Aladdin is the worst kind of studio “product”: $183 million dollars spent without grace or wit or intelligence. With 2 out of 5 stars we recommend to spare yourself and watch one of Guy Ritchie’s earlier works for a dose of the aforementioned wit.