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'Aladdin' (2019) Review

Aladdin is a 2019 musical fantasy film directed by Guy Ritchie, who co-wrote the screenplay with John August. Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, it is a live-action adaptation of Disney's 1992 animated film of the same name, which is based on the eponymous Middle-Eastern folktale from One Thousand and One Nights. The film stars Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, and Billy Magnussen.

Aladdin, a street urchin living in the kingdom of Agrabah along with his pet monkey, Abu, rescues and befriends Princess Jasmine of Agrabah, who is upset that the law requires her to marry a prince instead of the one she loves. Meanwhile, Jafar, the Royal Vizier, and his parrot Iago seek a lamp hidden within the Cave of Wonders to become Sultan. They are told that only one person is worthy to enter: "the diamond in the rough", whom Jafar later identifies as Aladdin.

The 2019 live-action remake of the animated classic Aladdin really surprised me by how good it was. I really had a good time, and it really was a fun film. It's not perfect (far from it) and it doesn't quite live up to the animated classic, but it was ten times better than I thought it would be. It was fun and very lively, so much so that I couldn't help but smile throughout.

This remake was about 30 minutes longer than the original, and it for sure had one additional song if not one or two more (haven't seen the original in some time). It also took out some parts of the climax which was very disappointing, but other than that there weren't many changes.

The musical numbers as a whole were good, but some of them could have used some work. Guy Ritchie was always an odd choice for a musical. There are some great numbers when other stuff is happening. When there are multiple dancers and props they were fine, but in those solo and more personal songs, he kinda missed the mark. They weren't terrible or even bad, but the camera just follows the singer around pretty lifelessly. In a film full of life it just stuck out.

I did have a few problems with the film. I really did not like Jafar. His character just did not work for me what so ever. I really liked him in the original, but here he was definitely the worst part of the film. I also didn't necessarily like the third act. It felt a little sloppy and rushed. They also threw a song in there. I actually like the song, but it felt so out of place. Plus they left out some parts from the original. My last problem was a little more personal, but I would have liked if they would would have touched up more on the characters. With the additional time I would have liked to see these characters flushed out, or explored a little more.

It really didn't hinder the film much, but with so much additional time to the film I would have liked them to explore something they hadn't in the original.

Overall I was very surprised and ultimately impressed with the film. It's not perfect and I'm sure there's some people who will hate it, but I really did have a good time. It's a funny lighthearted remake that I really enjoyed.

The biggest fear I had going into the film was definitely Will Smith. It wasn't just because he was blue in the trailer, but because he had huge shoes that were practically impossible to fill. With that being said, Will Smith's performance as the genie was the best part of the film. It was charismatic, fun, and full of life. I just couldn't hate it. He did an amazing job.

Mena Massound and Naomi Scott were also pretty good, and they shared good chemistry. Naomi Scott definitely had the best voice, but overall I really enjoyed both of them.

Marwan Kenzari as Jafar was really the only problem I had acting wise. It wasn't a bad performance, but his character was so stale, lifeless, and one-dimensional. It was a shame because I really liked the character in the original, but here he just didn't work. It seemed like everyone except him was having fun.

Other than that, the acting was good, and everyone seemed to really be having fun.

I really liked the film's story, but I thought the plot could have used some work.

It felt a little top heavy. What I mean by this is that the film really relied on it's third act, but didn't necessarily build it up. The first 2/3 of the film was about 95% Aladdin and the Genie having fun, and Aladdin and Princess Jasmine falling in love. They didn't nearly build Jafar or his plan up. It made the ending feel very sloppy.

They build up the relationship with Aladdin and the Genie nicely, as well as Aladdin and Princess Jasmine. Unfortunately, Jafar just kinda pops up at the end to be the bad guy. It didn't work for me.

I thought the story was fine, but plot wise they could've paced and planned it better. Overall it was fine, but that third act really didn't work.

Overall I really enjoyed and loved the 2019 live-action remake of the animated classic Aladdin. I thought the cast did a wonderful job, I loved most of the musical numbers, and the film was just fun to watch.

I'm sure there will people that won't like this film. If your looking for a great film, or one as good as the animated classic, then you will be disappointed.

I went into this film not knowing what to expect, but I left with a smile on my face and I would love to see it again. The 2019 live-action adaptation of Aladdin was a solid film. It's far from perfect, but it was fun and I really had a good time.

© 2019 Royce Proctor