Aladdin is a family friendly musical ride which Disney fans will enjoy.
This live-action remake of the 1992 animated classic, pretty much follows the original story with just a few modern changes. Aladdin (played by Mena Massoud) is easy to like as the charismatic orphan thief with the heart of gold. He only steals because he has to, and is generous with what he gets. He has a great relationship with pet monkey Abu and we get to see his friendship with Genie and the Magic Carpet develop through the movie. He meets beautiful Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) who has escaped from the castle for a day under disguise and a romance begins. However she must marry a prince according to her father, the Sultan of Agrabah (Navid Negahban). The Sultan’s scheming vizier Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) blackmails Aladdin into getting the magic lamp, but Aladdin uses it himself to gain three wishes. Will Smith as the Genie enters and then adventure, love stories, near death events and good vs evil plots ensue.
When you think of a Disney movie, you don’t immediately think of Guy Ritchie as a Director (Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword). He manages to give Aladdin a modern edge in a chase scene with epic parkouring through the streets of Agrabah, and brings scenes from the animated film alive in a breathtaking way when seen in live action. The Kingdom of Agrabah and The Cave of Wonders are spectacularly designed and dazzle with incredible detail. Big musical numbers (yes, this is a musical where people break out in song at any given time), like ‘Prince Ali’ gives the opportunity to showcase a parade in true elaborate Disney style – full of colour, amazing costumes and dancing. It resembles the kind of parade you’ll see at a Disneyland Park, but bigger on screen. In ‘Friend Like Me’ and other numbers we are treated with a really fun Bollywood style theme. We had kind of forgotten that Will Smith can actually sing and dance so it’s not surprising that he covers this number with charm and ease, bringing back his ‘Fresh Prince’ vibe.
There’s been a lot of talk about whether Will Smith is able to fill the shoes of the larger-than-life Robin William’s animated genie. While Robin Williams made the genie in the animated classic the star of the show, Will Smith brings a human warmth to this role that doesn’t compete, it’s just, well, different. When he appears in his giant blue form, the genie is completely computer generated – Will Smith says in an interview that not once does he have any blue painted on him. Although he’s been given a lot of attention, it’s actually Aladdin and Jasmine who really shine. Their characters are more developed in this movie compared to the 1992 animation, and the broadway musical production (currently showing in Adelaide). In the theatre production the genie steals the show and Aladdin and Jasmine, apart from a couple of songs, are like bystanders most of the time. Here Aladdin is charming and loveable, and Jasmine is no wallflower.
All the favourite songs are there, including the classic “A Whole New World”, plus one new song “Speechless”. It’s no ‘’Let it Go’’, but it shows us that Jasmine is not just a pretty face, and wants to do more in life than just marry a prince. Her desire to go against tradition and lead her people as the next Sultan is a great change to the story, and it’s wonderful to see this feminist trend in many Disney movies these days. It gives her character far more depth and appeal. This new movie also gives her a female confidante in handmaiden Dalia, played by Saturday Night Live’s Nasim Pedrad who is quite funny and also a romantic interest for Genie. It’s nice to see a Disney Princess with an actual friend instead of being a complete loner like most of the other Princesses.
The cast is one of the most ethnically diverse in any Disney movie (unlike the animation with an all white cast). Mena Massoud is Egyptian-Canadian, Naomi Scott is of Indian descent, Marwan Kenzari as the villain Jafar is Dutch-Tunisian. As far as villains go, he will not scare many little kids – he seems a bit young and doesn’t really look or sound particularly scary at all – and that’s probably one of the appeals of this movie for families with little ones.
Is it suitable for little kids?
It’s rather long at 2 hours and 8 minutes so not for little ones who may find it hard to sit still for that long.
There’s no profanity, ‘’Street Rat’’ is as bad as it gets.
Scary bits: during the Cave of Wonders scene, the cave crumbles and lava spills; towards the end when Jafar wants all the power the movie turns dark. Jafar also pushes a man down a dark well and causes people to vanish (Avengers style). Lago, the parrot, at one point turns into a giant predatory parrot too. There’s nothing overtly sexual and only a few short kisses.
There are great positive messages about friendship, courage, honesty and integrity; learning self-worth; doing the right thing by your friends; and standing up for what you believe in.
Does Aladdin transport you to a whole new world, on a magic carpet ride? It’s two lively hours of enchanting, colourful, musical fun and you certainly feel like you are transported to a different world. If you’ve ever been to Tokyo DisneySea, the kingdom of Agrabah will take you back to the amazing Arabian world there. Disney fans will be sure to enjoy this fun ride.
In Cinemas 23 May 2019
View the trailer here:
For more information about the movie see our post here.
What: Disney Aladdin (2019) Movie Review
When: In Cinemas 23 May 2019
Where: Check cinemas near you
Who: PG rating
At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.
Image Source: Disney Aladdin
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