When news was announced of an iconic animation and personal childhood favourite being re-done as a live-action film, there was scepticism over what value it could have and Disney’s motivations. With Aladdin, these fears may be forgotten for what is an amazing piece of cinema.
The 1992 Aladdin has been a childhood staple for those born in the 80s and 90s. From its colourful and dreamy city of Agrabah, it’s catching tunes such as “Friend like me”,” Prince Ali” and the Academy Award winning “A Whole New World”, to the very important message of being true to ourselves, it has always kept a magical place in our hearts.
Some of the reasons that most fans of Aladdin would say that the old animation film was so amazing and hard to match was the performance, charisma and humour that the beloved Robin Williams put into his character.
This version of Aladdin certainly delivers in every single way. Guy Ritchie has abilities to work and surrounded himself with the right people to deliver this project. Agrabah feels like a real city; colourful, cheerful, multicultural , a city where you’d want to be a tourist in. The music was perfectly adapted to the fact that it is a live-action film without losing any of its authenticity, and we are even rewarded with a new song “Speechless” which is so powerful and amazingly performed by Naomi Scott (who plays Jasmin) , we’ll have to thank Alan Menken , Howard Ashman and Tim Rice for giving us this song.
As for the cast, Mena Massoud is the living embodiment of Aladdin, Naomi is a perfect and strong willed Jasmin, Marwan Kenzari was a great (and hot) Jafar and Will Smith filled in those big shoes perfectly as the Genie.
Smith’s performance somehow felt an homage to Robin with a bit of Will thrown in and that made that adorable Genie even more funny and loveable. Abu also a lot of fun, and personally I would totally love to have that cheeky, loyal and adorable monkey around.
As controversial as it might be, I have to say that despite of the fact that I do love the animation one, that I liked this version better. It feels more real, modern and relatable to than the animation without losing any of its original magic.