Movies, Books & Disney+

Live-Action “Aladdin” is an Unexpectedly Enjoyable Film

Hi everyone!

In the months leading up to the live-action version of Aladdin, the movie trailers that were being shown gave me a lot of pause about the film. Disney’s live-action movies are really hit-or-miss – for example, this year’s Dumbo was a pretty big miss. So I went into Aladdin (directed by Guy Ritchie) with modest expectations. And I was happy to find the remake much better and more fun than I would have ever thought – an entertaining film with a Jasmine who has ambition beyond being a princess who still falls in love with street rat Aladdin.

The story of Aladdin follows along similarly to the animated film. The characters are all there – although different. There was a lot of talk about Will Smith as Genie not being able to measure up to Robin Williams. But I don’t think of any of the characters in the same terms as their animated counterparts. For example, Marwan Kenzari as Jafar is a deliciously fantastic villain. Does he remind me of the animated version? No. Does Will Smith remind me of Genie in the animated version? No. The two movies can stand on their own, no comparison is needed and the animated version has stood the test of time for over 25 years. I thought Will Smith as Genie was fun. Disney didn’t need another Robin Williams type because Robin Williams broke the mold after the animated version. His singing voice isn’t on the level of Naomi Scott (Jasmine), but it did the job. And the animals in the film, like Abu – they invoke the original characters but in a much more lifelike way (Abu in particular).

Mena Massoud as Aladdin is a pretty solid choice, and “One Jump Ahead” is a terrific near-beginning to the film where Aladdin and Jasmine meet. That was shown in a preview at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and I found it the strongest part of what was shown. The music in the film is obviously mostly well known except for one new song, the costumes are colorful and some of the performances are done in a Bollywood way.

Our “Aladdin” press conference video

Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine is a good choice for a princess who wants to be more independent and maybe eventually rule a kingdom. She sings and I thought the new song they gave her was fairly powerful. I don’t know if Speechless will stand on its own so much, but it fits into the film well. And Nasim Pedrad as Dalia is charming, the character is new – she assists Princess Jasmine and catches Genie’s eye as well.

Overall, I just really enjoyed the live-action version of Aladdin, probably more than almost any of the other Disney live-action films.

Mousesteps grade: B