Before I get into this review, let it be known, that the Disney Animation of Aladdin (from 1992) is one of my top 5 favourite Disney animations of all time. Based on my passion for the original film I can be upfront and state that my guard was up a little as I was about to watch this live-action remake, but, as always, I tried to keep an open mind as to what this live-action may bring. Plus! This was was directed by Guy Richie after all (best known for films such as Snatch and Rocknrolla).
If you’ve seen the Animation, then you know the plot and premise. A young boy and street ‘rat’, Aladdin lives on the streets of Agrabah where he steals food from the local markets with his loveable sidekick and pet monkey, Abu. Aladdin soon discovers a pretty young girl around the needs and manages to help her out with a sticky situation. He soon finds himself forced to enter a mysterious cave and discovers a magical lamp which will change his destiny forever.
Musical lovers will be thankful to hear the original music scores come back to life in this live-action remake, but as a bonus, there are also some new and unexpected tracks which I hadn’t heard before. Credit also goes out of the film’s visual style, including colour and costume designs.
While the film’s musical numbers are positive, Will Smith’s role here (Genie) is easily the strongest element to this film as he brings so much humour and creativity to this character. Will Smith also manages to bring something new and claims this role as his own without trying to copy the animation version of the genie. Before his arrival, I was starting to worry about this film.
The opening to this film feels incredibly rushed, not mention the movie skips over crucial elements to the film’s plot. Even if you don’t compare this to the Animation, the opening to this film rushes, and it is this element which hurts the film the most.
Besides having a rushed 1st half, I was let down by the portrayal of the villain, Jafar. I found this character flat and emotionless, when in fact he should be one of the biggest strengths of this film. At no point did I feel any concerns or fear regarding this villain.
Overall, this is a live-action remake that leaves me with mixed feelings. I can appreciate some of the additions to the live-action remake such as the new songs, but the film has also missed many vital elements which made the Disney animation so special. The 1st act is also rushed, but thankfully actor Will Smith as The Genie saves the film in my opinion.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden