Beginning a film with the catchy song of Arabian Nights is enough to get anyone's attention. Fans would be instantly hooked to the live action created by Guy Ritchie to commemorate the fabulousness of Disney's classic, Aladdin. Sure, we've grown up watching movies and even TV series of the street rat who became one of Disney's princes (after marrying Jasmine, of course). But nothing compares to how amazingly well the first 1992 film was wherein an animated Genie played by Robin Williams stole the limelight. But was Will Smith able to do justice to the role? Was Guy Ritchie able to bring back the magic of Agrabah into a real-life sequence? Were Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott able to recreate romance in a whole new world? Read our review to know more!
For the uninitiated, the plot of Aladdin is exactly the same as Walt Disney's animated crew creates, except that it has been brought to life instead. Aladdin (Mena Massoud), a riff-raff, street rat accompanied by his monkey with not the best parentage, dreams big. Unbeknownst to himself, the poor lad falls for the beautiful Princess Jasmine. Their love story is doomed as Aladdin is too ashamed of his background. Besides, Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) has his eyes set on him, who qualifies to be the next diamond in the rough candidate. After a tumultuous journey, Aladdin manages to get hold of the magic lamp which brings him the blue Genie (Will Smith) who can do almost everything, except for setting himself free from slavery. The quest to win Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) and save the city of Agrabah from the tyranny of the evil Vizier, Jafar, is the rest of the story.
Firstly, I would just like all the Will Smith haters to calm themselves and give the man a chance! He is not as bad as the netizens claim him to be. In fact, he steps into the shoes of Robin Williams and does justice as the new age Genie with a hipster swag and a slang that would make anyone chuckle. Sadly though, the magnanimous character is reduced to just a small-time magician wooing the princess' handmaiden as the film takes its course. Whatever happened to him being the yappity chatterbox who could literally not shut up but keep entertaining fans with his quirks. Guy Ritchie puts all his focus on bringing forth the romance and the love prevailing between Princess Jasmine and Aladdin that he forgets about the entertaining bond of friendship and brotherhood that makes Aladdin and Genie so special.
Ritchie bases the film's premise beautiful as he lays the map for how things go further in this journey of the main characters residing in the city of Agrabah. But as he continues to work around his characters, he seems to forget about Genie and only puts his energy towards bringing out the romance between Princess Jasmine and Aladdin. We get it. They are smitten. Could it be the lack of chemistry that makes Ritchie put more effort into blossoming the romance between the leads? Well, he wasted far too much time in that arena as he was unable to give it a befitting end. As the second half begins, things just happen within a blink of an eye. Every scene just flits off without much conflict. In fact, haphazard is the right word to describe how Ritchie handled the second half.
I am especially disappointed with the sequence wherein Aladdin was supposed to convince Jafar to become stronger than the Genie. The impact literally died somewhere between the cluttered chase sequence between Iago and Aladdin. Oh, that reminds me, why was Iago only given monosyllables for dialogues? He's supposed to be one of the funniest things to look forward in Aladdin. And yet the makers have simply made him Jafar's, pet parrot. Raja had more spunk to offer than Iago! Jafar, who is supposedly the most feared after turning into a sorcerer is not one but intimidating. Perhaps you can blame it on his extra good looks or his not-so-menacing eyes. They could have handled the end sequence with more gusto and passion. Instead, they went for a quick end.
- Will Smith as Genie
- Mena Massoud's portrayal as the Prince of Ababwa
- The phenomenal background score
- Outstanding visuals
- Lack of entertainment from the Genie
- Marwan Kenzari's lack of intimidating persona as Jafar
- Cluttered and haphazard second half
- Unconvincing chemistry between Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott
Honestly, this live-action meets with a very Bollywood conclusion. Not that it's a bad thing but it does stray away from whatever the Genie honed. But it is worth a watch. Especially for the gorgeous colours and the impeccable storytelling which does not lack any momentum.