Aladdin - A Whole World of Fun
The story - we all know Aladdin, and while there will be a few surprises along the way, this story stays true to the original. What it does best is expand on the original in regards to Jasmine. Already one of the strongest Disney princesses with a defiance toward being treated as a side-character, Jasmine has long been a feminist icon. Disney charges forward, giving Jasmine (played by the incredible Naomi Scott) more screen time, more music, and more chances to rebel against the man.
Jasmine is the best part of this movie, but she isn't alone. Aladdin, Genie, Carpet, Abu, and all the rest are along for the ride, and the story had a few minor twists and turns to keep things fresh.
The acting - Naomi Scott is queen of the screen, but Mena Massoud is another up-and-comer who cannot be ignored. His turn as Aladdin is charming, delightful, and has just enough of a rough edge to make him real. Together, Massoud and Scott are dazzling on the screen as the young couple.
Will Smith may have seemed controversial to some as Guy Richie's choice for The Genie, but he does a fantastic job honoring Robin Williams and creating something all his own.
Marwan Kenzari has been called "Hot Jafar," and I wondered how he'd work on the screen as the maniacal, unhinged, evil Jafar. After all, can someone so lovely really play someone so dark?
The answer is yes. Yes he can. Kenzari brings a craziness to Jafar that defies his good looks and brings the same squirm-ish sense of "no" that we got from the original.
The feels - this movie isn't perfect. It isn't the greatest movie ever made. But it DID make me feel great. It gave me childhood and adulthood rolled in one, and I think it's perfect for everyone in the family.
The directing - the music, dancing, color and life were fantastic. Choosing to use a cast of people of color who fit the world Agrabah lives in was brilliant. I loved the casting choices and shots Richie chose to use...for the most part.
No movie is perfect (though plenty come close).
The acting - I really wasn't sure what to do with the handmaiden Dahlia, played by the hilarious Nasim Pedrad. When she was on point, it was hilarious, but getting used to her strange way of talking took me a few scenes.
The story - I love they they honored the original so well in all ways except one: the second wish. I'm fine with how it was done - it was even updated and improved upon. Yet I wish they'd gone a different way. I wish (hah) that they'd made a different choice simply to freshen up the plot. There are so many wishes that can be made, but that one, I think, could have changed.
The directing - I have a love/hate relationship with Guy Richie. He's done some incredible things (Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and some boring things (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword). Unfortunately, there are a few scenes in Aladdin that aren't quite there, and it's because of a choice Richie made in filming these scenes. These scenes, I'd bet my hat, were sped up in post, and it feels just a *smidgen* forced. It's the little movements we make in real time that make these moments glaring for the trained eye, but, in the end, I don't think most will notice.
4 solid, strong feathers (4.5 even).
Don't you know? Go see Aladdin! In fact, take me with you.
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