by M. Handcock
***** 5 Stars
‘No one thought he would be able to live up to the legendary portrayal of Genie by Robin Williams, and who could? The original Genie is iconic, but Will Smith took the role of Genie and made it his own.’
Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Marwan Kanzari, Navid Nagahban and Nasmin Pedrad
Synopsis: Aladdin, a thieving orphan surviving on scraps in the city of Agrabah, falls for the city’s beautiful princess Jasmine. When he comes into the possession of a magical lamp, he uses the Genie’s magic powers to become a prince and win Jasmine’s heart. At the same time, he must stop the evil sorcerer Jafar who is plotting to steal the lamp to make his deepest darkest wishes come true…
Rebooting our childhood memories has become somewhat of a pastime for Disney, I mean, how many ‘live-action adventures’ have been squeezed out of the movie machine in the last couple of years? But, ’we ain’t ever had a uh… reboot like this!’
Each character is casted accurately, each of the main cast (except Will Smith) is of Middle-eastern descent (which makes sense as they live in the Middle East) and perfectly fits the mannerisms and descriptions of each beloved character, something somewhat of a rarity in the film industry. Somehow, even the characterisation of Abu and Iago, who in this adaption are realistic animals who cannot talk, is engaging and adds to the story in a charming way. One character casting struck a chord with the general public however: Genie, arguably one of the most important character in the story, is played by Will Smith. No one thought he would be able to live up to the legendary portrayal of Genie by Robin Williams, and who could? The original Genie is iconic, but Will Smith took the role of Genie and made it his own. The Robin Williams ‘Genie’ and the Will Smith ‘Genie’ are both amazing takes on a classic character, and cannot be compared.
Though the costume and set design is beautifully striking and the special effects are quite stunning, nothing tops the production of Aladdin quite like its terrific soundtrack. Classic tunes such as ‘Arabian Nights’ and ‘One Jump Ahead’ have been revamped with modern technology, and of course the voices of the new cast, to create what I would personally describe as ‘absolute bangers.’ New songs have also been written and included such as the beautiful, emotional ‘Speechless’ sung by Princess Jasmine. The heartfelt track shows a new side to Jasmine and emphasises her defiance against the evil Jafar, as well as subtly adding a little bit more girl power to the movie.
Finally, one of the most impressive parts of this revamp is its structure. [SPOILERS AHEAD] At the end, we see Genie freed and engaged with the handmaiden Dahlia who asks for two children and a boat to travel upon, which now links perfectly back to the beginning of the film. Gone is the strange man and his camel from the animated classic – instead we are met by Genie, now free, with his two children, and his wife Dahlia on a boat. A beautiful and satisfying end to a fantastic movie – that almost begs for sequel…
Aladdin is currently available on Sky and Disney Plus and was rated PG by the BBFC.