Aladdin is a heartwarming and hilarious remake (movie review)

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Disney has been pumping out live-action remakes of its animated classics like Luke Skywalker milking a creature in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We’ve had live-action remakes like Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, and Cinderella. These films have been making a lot of money for the studio, and it would be insane for Disney to stop now. Next up is the live-action Aladdin that stars Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine, and Will Smith as Genie. The trailers and clips from the film have turned off some fans, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the film.

Aladdin is a live-action remake that takes place in the fictional city of Agrabah. It follows a street rat named Aladdin who meets a Genie who is able to grant him three wishes. Aladdin will use his wishes to try to impress Jasmine, the princess of Agrabah; however, the sinister Jafar is plotting to take over the city.

Alright, let’s focus first on the Genie. Will Smith pretty much plays himself as the blue servant, and it actually works. Sure, the CGI Genie can be off-putting thanks to the uncanny valley, but when he disguises himself as a human, the creepy factor quickly fades away. But when he is the blue Genie, it works best when he’s moving around a lot and performing all types of magic. Will Smith is absolutely having a ball with playing the character, and he brings in a lot of humor to the film.

Mena Massoud is a great fit to play the character of Aladdin, who is known to be compassionate and charming. He also gets to show off his comedic side, especially as Prince Ali. Since this is Aladdin we’re talking about, how is his singing for “A Whole New World” and “One Jump Ahead”? It’s great that we get to hear Mena’s voice instead of someone else singing for him. But it certainly shows that singing isn’t his strong suit, mostly when he’s singing along with Naomi Scott. (The actor admits that he really had to train for singing and dancing.)

Naomi Scott plays Princess Jasmine, and she gets more to do when compared to her animated counterpart. This is a slightly different take on the character where she has ambitions of wanting to do what’s best for Agrabah. It’s a modern take that will inspire a lot of girls out there who feel like they don’t have a voice. Scott truly shines in the film when she’s singing, particularly when she’s feeling very emotional and vulnerable. And she gets an original song to boot titled “Speechless” from composer Alan Menken and songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paull (The Greatest Showman, La La Land).

Marwan Kenzari as the villain Jafar leaves a lot to be desired, and gone is the intimidation factor. What we do get is a villain who reveals more about why he does what he does. Plotwise, it’s interesting to see that there’s more urgency in why he’s acting a certain way. This subplot gives him a little bit more to do other than just scheming behind the Sultan’s back.

Final Reaction

Aladdin is heartwarming and hilarious, and even though it’s a remake of the animated classic, it still feels very refreshing. The film surprisingly entertains. Will Smith is actually fun to watch on the big screen despite his CGI looking off. Naomi Scott as Jasmine is beautiful and strong, and her singing truly stands out. Mena Massoud is a fitting choice to play the charming Aladdin who has to balance insecurity and confidence. The movie is definitely recommended for fans of Aladdin and Disney, and there’s plenty of adventure and humor to please the moviegoers.

Score: 4/5 Atoms

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John 'Spartan' Nguyen
John 'Spartan' Nguyen 9867 posts

Assassin, scoundrel, head honcho.