Aladdin is Disney’s best attempt yet to remake their classic animated properties into live action films. My expectations, like many others, were not that high after seeing the initial images and trailer. Instead, the film exceeded my expectations and is instead a flawed, by highly enjoyable movie.
The film follows all the major plot points of the original 1999 animated original. Aladdin (Mena Mousaud) makes his living as a thief on the streets of Agrabah. He soon runs into and falls for the beautiful Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). Jasmine has ambitions to rule her country instead of simply marrying and handing over the throne to her husband. Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) is scheming to claim the throne and turn Agrabah into an empire.
After getting caught by Jafar breaking into the palace, Aladdin is sent into the Cave of Wonders to retrieve an oil lamp. It is here that Aladdin meets a Genie (played enthusiastically by Will Smith) who grants Aladdin three wishes. The rest of the film plays out with Aladdin using his wishes to become a prince and his struggle with deceiving Jasmine.
The friendship between Aladdin and the Genie is the backbone of the movie. The Genie is more concerned for his new friend then he is with being set free. Mena and Will have a believable bond that makes their relationship easy to root for.
The new versions of old songs are well done for the most part. A Friend In Me, in particular, is really well done. The new song “Speechless” sung by Naomi Scott is emotional and a great addition to the classic song list.
The film is directed and co-written by Guy Richie, known more for his stylish action films. His signature slow downs and speed ups make an appearance in the film to varying degrees of success. The film is very colorful with some high energy musical numbers.
The film’s weak point is undoubtedly it’s villain, Jafar. The film tries to flesh him out a bit more than the animation, but the character comes off as flat and underwhelming. His arc feels rather unnecessary and were the least interesting parts of the movie.
Aladdin is highly recommended for newcomers and fans of the original. The music, including the new song, is still extremely catchy. The cast is charismatic and work well together. Disney basically had to take this classic movie and simply not screw it up. While not as enjoyable as the animated version, this Aladdin is still a really good time.