Aladdin Movie Review
Aladdin Movie Review Metadata
I did not not like Aladdin, Disney’s latest live-action remake. If that sounds odd, it’s because that’s the overall feeling I have while digesting this film. Musically and story-wise, Aladdin succeeds, but artistically, Guy Ritchie make some strange wishes…er…decisions.
You’ve probably already seen Disney’s animated version of Aladdin and for the most part, this version doesn’t stray too far from that material. Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) gets a welcoming female empowerment update that not only makes her less “damsel in distress” and the heroine who saves Aladdin’s (Mena Massoud) skin – in a great new original song titled “Speechless” by the way- but also sees her ascend to Sultan, which in the original film was offered to Aladdin. In addition, director Guy Ritchie, makes quite a few tributes to the original film and the late great Robin Williams, that will serve as a fun little Easter Egg Hunt for Disney fanatics.
I read a headline just the other day that questions whether animation in Hollywood films is beginning to regress in quality. I couldn’t help but have that feeling about Aladdin as I watched and felt jaded about the artistic quality of the film. There are moments, like when the film’s trailer released and the Internet melted at the reveal of a big blue Will Smith, where I said to myself, “yeah, Smith really does look bad in this.” Our dread at those promotional reveals was certainly warranted. I can’t say the same about Smith’s portrayal of genie though, as his take on the character really grew on me at about the “Prince Ali” song. And that brings me to my other qualm about the film: the dance sequences. I’m not educated on Bollywood film technique, so feel free to question my criticism, but there are moments in this film where the filmmakers, to jarring effect, slow down and speed up the film, giving the actors a robot-like movement in dance sequences. It was strange and would take me out of the scene.
I wouldn’t call Aladdin a bad film however, because it’s not. It’s certainly not as good as Beauty and the Beast and definitely not as bad as Dumbo. It sits in the middle for me. This remake celebrates not only Williams, but also the musical aspects that made the original movie so special for me as a kid. I was definitely singing along and could tell my 10yo son was having a fun time too. Aladdin is a remake you can enjoy as a family, but the original is still king.