Aladdin – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Aladdin – A Whole New … But Familiar World

Disney is known for its amusement parks and fairytales.  No matter how old you are, you will always be a Disney Kid at heart.  Being one of them, I have enjoyed seeing my childhood being brought back through live-action adaptations.  With Aladdin, it gets closer to my childhood favorites.  With fond memories, this version is a good representation of characters, fun and magic.  Even with a bumpy journey, this new version provides the spark within a familiar taste. 

The story follows the titular character, Aladdin (Mena Massoud), as he gets whisk away on a journey of forbidden love, the powers of a genie, and the conflict of saving Agrabah from Jafar (Marwan Kenzari).  From the beginning, you are set with the understanding of the general plot.  Having the familiars of the animated film, there is a leveling of expectations.  The first act is all about introducing everything that will lead into the bulk of the story.  Once you get a lot of this out the way, it goes full force into the aspect of Aladdin/Jasmine dynamic, musical quips and genuine detail of world building.  The dialogue is whimsical, but it is safe and predictable.  Nothing ‘feels’ different from the original in the beginning, creating a hollow sense of what is remembered as fun.  This feeling slowly dissipates as the story moves along and Aladdin meets Jafar.  After convenient plot driven circumstances lead them to the Cave of Wonders, the film begins to shine on its own.  This is where you see the safety net of the previous installment allows the director (Guy Richie) to move into a different realm of visuals, character depth and thematic detail.     

The journey of Aladdin, his interactions in the palace and all the musical numbers in-between is leveled with a sense of bright colors, Bollywood styling, hardy dialogue and adventurous overtones.  This allows the film to push enjoyment of the expected with some different stylings of originality within its live-action visuals and deeper characterization.  By giving purpose for secondary characters like Jasmine (Naomi Scott) and Genie (Will Smith) and the villain Jafar, it allows the humanistic detail to rise above their typical fairytale archetypes.  Once Jafar’s plans come to head, it allows (in the third act) for a different spin on the hero’s quest.  The climax is predictable, but it highlights Aladdin’s quest in the greatest sense of personal growth.  Once the epilogue rolls, it ends with the flavor of different but familiar.  This adaptation of Aladdin might take it safe in the beginning, but it does enough in the latter half to mix the familiar with some new things.  If you’re a fan of Disney, the original or like these live-action adaptations, go check this out.  I say it is worth seeing on the big screen for the right price.      

Full Score – 3.5 out of 5 (Matinee)

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