With recent years of cinema, it seems that we as an audience are receiving more and more like action remakes, especially from Disney. Between 'Beauty and The Beast' and the upcoming 'Lion King', 2019's 'Aladdin' sits firmly between them and quite frankly does very little to enhance or retell the Disney Renaissance classic.
The film follows the same story as the original, with the titular Aladdin embarking on a journey of self-discovery amongst the streets of Agrabah with a wisecracking genie and a cloistered Princess while a power-hungry advisor seeks to overthrow the Sultan of Agrabah. While the quality of the film remains somewhat mediocre the film does have plenty of positive messages and representations for children to admire and look up to. Such as Aladdin himself learning that there's much more to life and people than wealth and what remains just on the surface. Jasmine learning that love can go beyond classes and societal structure.
Now from the outset of this movie's announcement, it was clear that whoever was to fill the shoes of the Genie character would have to live up to the incredible comedic legacy of the late, great Robin Williams. In the original film, Williams' frantic and wild energy brought charisma and charm to the role while creating raucous laughter with constant comedic riffing. This film has Will Smith in place of Williams and whole Smith delivers a solid and original performance, never trying to ape Williams' own effort, it never feels like he's really settling into the character and is really just portraying a blue Will Smith rather than the Genie, this is especially apparent during his rendition of "Never Had A Friend Like Me"". However, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott are the true stars of this film. Playing Aladdin and Jasmine respectively they both provide great vocal performances and are able to exemplify and embody the charm the original film championed.
The special effects are much more easy on the eyes than in the first few trailers, however, they still leave a lot to be desired with regards to environmental and structural building, only going so far as to create an almost-real Agrabah rather than a living and breathing city. This is especially disappointing when you realize what Disney's studios are capable of creating a là "Jungle Book".
That being said, the live-action remake of 'Aladdin' is not a disappointing film and never feels like it is tarnishing the legacy of the original, however, the film does very little to carve its own place in the minds of audiences and ultimately just results in a very average film.
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