Friday, May 24, 2019

Movie Review: Aladdin - New Take on the Classic Tale

We are familiar with the animated version of Disney's Aladdin but this live-action take by Guy Ritchie takes the story you know and gives it a spin in all the right places.

We get a brand new opening that actually has a wonderful payoff in the end. It begins with a family sharing the tale of Aladdin just as it has been passed down for generations. From there the story we know moves into a few new and unexpected places that adds a greater depth to the Disney animated version. Will Smith's take on the Genie makes it his own and the Genie's story moves from being just a sidekick in the animated film to one of the main characters in this live action version. The relationship between Smith and Mena Massoud's Aladdin feels real. Their story moves forward as both characters try to find a way out of their circumstances.

Naomi Scott as Jasmine not only gains a friend, her handmaiden Daila, but this princess wants to be more than someone looking for her prince. Jasmine knows that she is best suited to be the leader of her people. Her song "Speechless" will become the new Disney princess anthem. In many ways this movie could be retitled Jasmine.

Scott and Massoud have amazing chemistry from the start. Their version of "A Whole New World" is simply breathtaking. In fact, Ritchie's style and flair are brought to the other showstopper songs as well.

In the end, Aladdin is a sweeping tale, on par and at times even better than the animated version. A princess should want to be queen and lead her people. This is a narrative that needs to be told.

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