Disney’s Aladdin (2019)

Disney’s Aladdin is one of my favourites from the ‘House Of The Mouse’. There’s something incredibly charming about the wonderful art style, the exotic period, roguish hero, strong female heroine and the irrepressible Robin Williams as the Genie. Not to mention, probably the best score from any Disney film – every single song is terrific!

After watching the recent remake of The Jungle Book– looked great but missed the mark on narrative and the songs were awful, butchered versions of the iconic originals. Beauty and the Beast was sterile with poor acting and a characterless art style. I was pessimistic to say the least. Why remake these classic animations into inferior films? Sure, there’s the profit for Disney but not much to enjoy for true film fans.

Imagine my genuine surprise when the titles rolled and Guy Ritchie’s name was smattered in a few places? Not only did he direct, but he also helped to write the screenplay. An unusual choice, considering his previous work. I felt maybe he would go for a grittier approach but that isn’t the case, thankfully!

The opening titles set the tone of the film with swooping camerawork that reveals the gorgeous vistas of the Arabian coast. We are introduced to the city of Agrabah and our hero Aladdin (played by the wonderfully cast Mena Massoud), with cheeky CGI monkey Abu in tow. The casting is brilliant and the central role of Aladdin being cast as a genuine middle-eastern actor is refreshing but should be the norm. Mena did some stellar work in Amazon’s Jack Ryan (which if you haven’t seen it yet, is a surprisingly dark yet brilliant take on the Tom Clancy character).

Not long into the film, our hero bumps into an incognito Princess Jasmine. Again, a perfectly cast, Naomi Scott, who brings the dusky beauty of Jasmine to life. Having lived a sheltered existence behind the palace walls, Jasmine is naive to the cynical city and it’s not long before Aladdin rescues her from a bind and the story plays out as the original did from there.

The biggest infraction for fans of the original film is the casting of Will Smith as the Genie. The late, great, Robin Williams stole the show in the animated version with his wise-cracking, quick-witted Genie. For me the Genie in the animated version was literally Robin Williams doing one of his breakneck stand-up routines and I imagine much of the original script was ad-libbed and made funnier by his input and energetic performance. Fear not fans of the original, though Will Smith’s version is different, he is just as entertaining as he channels his own smart-alec creation ‘The Fresh Prince’ from the classic sitcom of the same name. The Genie is larger than life and the spell-binding animation and effects that bring him bang up to date in the live action version are some of the film’s finest moments. You will still feel those fun, pulsating moments when the Genie is on-screen and the contrast between the other scenes.

 

This remake of Aladdin is gorgeous to look at. The art direction, photography and the sets are all superb. To make an early awards prediction, I think this will get a few gongs for costumes, photography, sets and sound. It really is a true artistic achievement. I’ll even go so far to say this is as good as the animated version. There are a few little surprises but if you’ve seen the animated version, I would still urge you to go and see this one. It’s a spectacle and an epic film that delivers. Lots of fun, lots of beauty and one of the most entertaining films of the year – watch it on a big screen or that fancy 4K TV you bought and make a family event out of it.

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9.5

Story

9.5 /10

Looks

9.5 /10

Sound

9.5 /10

Value

9.5 /10

Pros

  • Gorgeous to look at
  • Amazing soundtrack
  • Very entertaining

Cons

  • Unnecessary remake?

About Imran Behlim

I'm a mature kid into all things 80's, video games, movies, comics, books, music, trainers and anything that distracts me from the fear-mongering and paranoia of the mainstream media.

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