This week sees the release of Disney’s latest live-action adaptation. Aladdin.
Street rat Aladdin and mischievous monkey Abu battle to save free-spirited Princess Jasmine and the people of Agrabah from the clutches of evil sorcerer Jafar. After discovering a magic lamp Aladdin’s life is turned upside down, releasing a powerful Genie who grants him three wishes that will change his life forever.
This is pretty much scene for scene the same as the animated film from 1992 so there is no need for me to go on about the story. Guy Ritchie directs in what may seem an unusual choice for a musical, but he doesn’t do a bad job.
Will Smith has the unenviable task of playing the Genie which I’m sure will constantly be compared to Robin Williams but he does manage to bring his own unique style to the film and to some extent carries the movie.
Most of the films charm comes from the Genie, the monkey and the of course the amazing flying carpet. (It still amazes me how you can make an inanimate object so animated)
Aladdin (Mena Massoud) and Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) are okay, they don’t set the screen on fire but dare I say are quite sweet and very watchable.
The same can’t be said for Jafar (Marwan Kenzari). I’ve seen scarier villians at the Christmas pantomime his performance is terrible and so wooden that Pinocchio would be proud.
The songs are still as good but Friend Like Me and a Whole New World seem slightly understated next to the big theatrical number of Prince Ali.
Princess Jasmine gets a new song to sing, Speechless, which although performed extremely well by Naomi Scott didn’t really sit well in the story for me. I felt it was put in to make an unnecessary point which had already been made. No the sentiment was not lost on me with Jasmine basically telling all the men “I won’t be pushed around and you can’t tell me what to do”
There are enough jokes to pull the story along but maybe it could have done with slightly more adventure.
All in all it was enjoyable and would certainly be a recommendation for families with children under 10 or Disney fans. But to say it’ll be a classic may be pushing it and the hip hop reprise of Friend like Me at the end will stay with me, unfortunately for the wrong reasons.