An enchanting remake - although it is still up for debate whether or not it lives up to the original.
Aladdin is Disney’s latest modern day adaptation of one of our favourite fairy tales, although the original casting decisions could have led to a very different movie. With Jade Thirlwall and Dev Patel in initial talks to play the lead two characters, Princess Jasmine and Aladdin, the reviews now would certainly tell a completely different story. As it turns out, the chemistry between relative newcomer Mena Massoud as our favourite street rat, and Naomi Scott as the determined princess, means that this Disney remake is both stunning to watch and magical to listen to.
The film follows the original love story between Aladdin, a charming street urchin, and Princess Jasmine, a royal who is determined to protect her people. With familiar characters and music, this film strikes the perfect balance between a nostalgic look back at one of the classic Disney cartoons and a creative modernisation of what the public wish to see now. The costumes and scenery are bursting with bright colours and Bollywood themes, and the musical performances from the lead characters are exquisite.
No review of this movie could go without a mention of the hilarious Genie, played by the iconic Will Smith. It is no secret to say that Smith had big boots to fill with fan favourite Robin Williams portraying the same role in the original 1992 version; however, with suitable injections of modern jokes and a certain unique quality about him that perhaps only Smith could add, he certainly succeeds in evoking laughter and empathy. On a side note, the main take away for me here is that the Genie, in no uncertain terms, is my spirit animal. With fabulous off-the-cuff remarks and an eccentric personality, the Genie always manages to say what everybody was thinking. In fact, some may say that this was a particularly smart move from the producers, providing an element of the movie that accompanying parents and guardians are easily amused by, as well as the young people who watch as a form of reminiscing about their childhood.
Some argue that remakes can have a tendency to drag out the story. As people are often familiar with how the movie will end, the argument is introduced about whether to adapt the original story to offer something new to keep audiences on their toes, or keep it the same and simply offer modern film production ideas. The latter is in play with Aladdin and, from my point of view, it is okay to leave the plot the same as long as it is supplemented by a fantastic retelling, as is the case here, with beautiful costumes and magically harmonious musical performances.
Whilst it may not have quite the same dazzling charm as the original, it is difficult to truly compare the two when the remake lacks the surprise that original movie offered, whilst the original could not have been made like the remake was, with modern technologies and new perspectives. However, Aladdin is certainly appealing for adults and children alike, and is definitely worth the watch no matter what mood you are in.
Aladdin (2019), directed by Guy Ritchie, is distributed in the UK by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, certificate PG.