Aladdin (2019): ‘Disney Blues’ – A Film Review

 

Introduction

The string of Disney Live Action films reaches a peak this year with the three films Dumbo (released earlier), The Lion King (still yet to come) and Aladdin. The 1992 film Aladdin was ground-breaking in many ways but not least of all due to the Robin Williams iconic performance as the genie. Before its release, Aladdin built up quite a bit of controversy. Not least of all would Will Smith try to take up the reigns of a role, which was essentially built around Robin Williams’ stardom, but the reaction to the CGI blue skin was less than favourable. Despite their best efforts for an all Arabic cast, they also managed to spark controversy when extras were reported to have had made to look more Arabic than they were as they were white. (This was apparently only on extreme circumstances and rare but it still offended) In many ways Aladdin was doomed before it started.

 

The CGI Life

Unfortunately, the film doesn’t do much to actually back this up. From the very start we see similar problems to Beauty and the Beast (2017), where the imitation of the older work for the sake of nostalgia, creates a wooden and un-lifelike image. Many actors struggle with the material, either through direction or not, and pass like cardboard cut-outs. Will Smith passes a performance that wins over eventually but initially works painfully, whilst Mena Massoud works only when he isn’t trying to interact with his setting, working as the subtle bits and not the choreography. Despite the problems inherent in imitating the changes don’t work either. Though the changes to the material doesn’t damage the film as much as with Beauty and the Beast, they are pointless and forced. What we’re left with is a cheap imitation, lifeless and unimaginative.

 

What are we left with?

In costume, the look and in casting there are many times where this work feels more faithful to the source material and gives a stunning world to the audience, although sometimes the casting is completely off. Being the genie can really work for Will Smith, although it, at times, becomes a stock character, and not something with the depth of Robin Williams’ Genie. It sometimes feels a lot more in the vein of that imaginary helper like in films like Drop Dead Fred – far from good. But, Jafar works far less, not being a good villain and not having the presence or story to really develop his opposition to any characters, least of all Aladdin. This feels closer to Kylo Ren in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens it is an unfortunate change that robs the film of its life and tension.

 

Conclusion

Perhaps not being as offensive as what people feared, the film just fails in its lifelessness. Visually impressive and a nostalgic nod to the original, it is entertaining but only as a very dumb and on face value film. Carrying on the mistakes from Beauty and the Beast Disney does not seem to be learning. If anything, they seem to want to insert the tried-and-far-too-done storylines and additions from other films, whilst failing to recreate any of the magic of the original films. Some chemistry is felt between Jasmine (Naomi Scott) and Aladdin and their presence gives something to the story. Although it is a lot more modern to give a lot more strength to Jasmine, it is a superficial change at best, which could have been handled a lot better.

 

Synopsis

Jasmine and Aladdin meet whilst she’s posing as a commoner, Aladdin himself being a thief. Through their encounter Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) discovers him and uses him to find a magical lamp that contains a genie that grants three wishes to whomsoever finds the lamp.

 

Ratings

Entertainment:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Performances:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Predictability:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Technical:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

 

A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.

 

Films Mentioned

Aladdin (d. Ron Clements, John Musker USA 1992)

Aladdin (d. Guy Ritchie USA 2019)

Beauty and the Beast (d. Bill Condon USA/UK 2017)

Drop Dead Fred (d. Ate de Jong USA/UK 1991)

Dumbo (d. Tim Burton USA 2019)

The Lion King (d. Jon Favreau USA 2019)

 

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

metacritic.com

Official Site

Interview with the Cast

Interview with Will Smith

Interview with Guy Ritchie

Behind the Scenes

Songs, Clips & Bloopers

Bloopers

Easter Eggs

Differences

 

If you liked this

Dumbo (2019): ‘Burton Ruins Disney Again’ – A Film Review

Mary Poppins Returns (2018): ‘The Sequel No One Wanted’ – A Film Review

Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) – A Film Review

 

This was an analytical review of….

 

Aladdin (d. Guy Ritchie USA 2019)



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