Next up on the Disney Live Action Remake conveyor belt, we have Guy Ritchie‘s Aladdin.
I’ll be honest, I was pretty skeptical when I heard the choice of Ritchie as director, especially given how I felt after watching his King Arthur film, but I have to give it to Ritchie for this one.
Aladdin is of course based on the classic animated feature about a handsome, poor street urchin who winds up crossing paths with a beautiful princess in disguise. His pickpocketing abilities gets him recruited for mission, where he unintentionally becomes the owner of a magic lamp containing a wish granting genie. Of course he’s going to use a wish to try and get back to the beautiful princess.
With the original Disney movie being such a animated classic, a remake would have to be offering up something really special to earn a place back on the big screen. Luckily the original script for the animated Aladdin is such a fun story, that half the job of this remake is already done.
The thing that I will say this movie gets absolutely correct is the casting. It only took a few minutes before I completely bought into these live action versions. Mena Massoud IS Aladdin and Naomi Scott IS Princess Jasmine, there is no doubt about that to me. They were so good. The casting of Will Smith as the Genie caused some concern when it was announced, but I had faith, mainly because I couldn’t think of anyone else who could fill Robin Williams’ shoes. Luckily the choice was made to cater the role to Will Smith’s charms, and it completely works here, he’s absolutely fantastic.
The story does feel a little extra padded out from the original, and honestly, Aladdin’s own story does feel a bit overshadowed by the other characters, but around halfway through the movie, during one the more famous musical numbers, I realized that I was having an great time watching this film and that Guy Ritchie was actually pulling this off.
I don’t think the film quite earns it’s reason for existing, but if it’s someone’s first time experiencing this story, they might find it very enjoyable. If you’re a fan of the original animated version like me, they did a serviceable job in the translation to live-action. The casting, the familiar story, and the classic songs won me over.
4 out of 5 stars
-“Marquee Mark” Markellus