Aladdin (2019)

“Jafar from great”

Review by Lewis Goodall

Aladdin is the newest to release for the live action remakes of the old Disney classics. The tale starts following Aladdin ( Played by Mena Massoud) on the streets on Agrabah. In many ways he shows off his kind ways by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, the Agrabah Robin hood equivalent. He stumbles upon Jasmine (Played by Naomi Scott) who is in disguise as a poor street urchin too. Relationships build between the two whilst the kings adviser Jafar (played by Marwan Kenzari) asks for Aladdins help in the quest for a magic lamp. Rivalry builds as they fight for the magic lamp that can make both of their wishes come true.

As mentioned earlier this is the live action remake of the Disney 1992 cartoon. I have a very low opinion of the live action remakes anyway, I feel like they are all being made just to keep hold of the property so that nobody can steal it and make a non-Disney version which I can understand. If not that then they have just completely run out of idea’s and will continue to beat this dead horse dry until they’ve run out of classics so they start remaking the remakes. I’m going off topic, the point I’m trying to make is that even though it is a remake, I wont be comparing it to the original, I feel it’s too easy and cheap to compare the two so this is strictly as it’s own film.

And as it’s own film it still pretty bland. This film is surprisingly directed by the great guy Ritchie, I only know that because it comes up at the beginning and end of the film. Something I don’t understand with a lot of films like this is getting a director like Guy Ritchie to do the job because nothing really gave away that it was a Guy Ritchie film. I assume as its Disney it has to be done a certain way, so in a way it means the director has to follow guidelines to do the film to a certain standard, to the point where most the live action films just look the same in terms style. they all could’ve been done by the same person. I know this film is mainly aimed towards children so they aren’t going to take risks in ways of doing the films differently because they know the formula that works. In that case, why get in the same director that did lock stock and two smoking barrels.

In my opinion the aspect of the film that is the most mellow and something that got to me was the characters of Aladdin and Jasmine which are more commonly known as…the main characters. What I assume happened is that they decided to write all the side characters first, putting effort into them and then passing the screenplay to the cleaners to write Aladdin and Jasmine. They were just so bland, they had no character, the inanimate flying rug that didn’t speak had more character than these two. I’m not sure if I can put it to the actors or the script but these two didn’t come across as individuals. They were just kind of there to bring the story along and everyone else around them were bringing the entertainment. One of the more entertaining scenes was when Aladdin was being controlled by the genie (played by Will Smith) which added a smidge of character to Aladdin but he was being controlled by the genie.

As mentioned before I’m not comparing this film to the animated one, it would be unfair to compare Robin William’s performance to Will Smith’s as I know everyone will be doing. As it stands on it’s own, I’d say that Will Smith’s genie was certainly one of the most redeeming parts of the film. He had character, he was funny, he was actually engaging so I have to give it to Will Smith. When I first saw that he was going to be the genie, I like most people were like “………. what?” But I’m pleasantly surprised.
The worst character by a mile was Jafar, if the genie was a chocolate digestive, side characters are digestives, Aladdin and Jasmine were rich teas. Jafar was paper. There was no fear, we didn’t come across as a bad guy. no intimidation, he just didn’t even look evil, he was paper. In fact the parrot that followed Jafar around was portrayed as far more evil than his master, I didn’t care much what happened to Jafar but I wanted to wring that parrots neck.

Even though I felt in general the overall style was flat, as I mentioned earlier the film does follow a structure which works and it does work. In terms of how it was presented I have to say that most of the CGI was great and entertaining, theres one break of the Forth wall which I have to admit was genuinely genius. This film is also a musical, and does feature the hit songs such as ‘a whole new world’ and ‘prince Ali’ from the 1992 animated version, which were arguably the most entertaining parts of the film. The songs were written by Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, the same two that wrote the songs for the Greatest showman and even though the songs in Aladdin aren’t as catchy, they are still greatly entertaining.

In summary this film does work, I did find myself getting invested into the story and the songs which drove the story along. They came with a lot of bumps in the way but this film is a definite crowd pleaser, but I personally feel just the performances were flat and they way the whole story was presented was flat. There was something that really didn’t make sense that I’ll talk about in the spoiler section. Overall a typical film with catchy songs and a few laughs.

5 Indian Joqain Phoenix’s out of 10

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