It is very natural to draw comparisons between the original and its sequel or reboot/ live action version of a film. Audiences already have a metric to gauge it on. In case of classics like Aladdin one cannot simply compromise on quality. For someone who has grown up watching this movie, is well aware of the importance and sentiments that come along when they see a mediocre execution of such a classy animation. Same is the case of Aladdin that although it is magical, but fails to fully captivate us.
The film makes full use of all the rainbow colors and beautiful visualization. The makers have painted a vivid picture of something similar to the original, however it is the narrative that makes you think something is missing.
We all know the story, but the movie does not tell it very convincingly. The chemistry between Aladdin and Jasmine is the only thing that keeps the film together. However it seems that maybe the film needed more time for the narrative to take roots.
Besides the story telling, one major let down is the casting. While Naomi Scott is the perfect choice for Jasmine, as she looks and owns the part, it is characters like Jafar and Genie that bother us. Meena Massoud has done his part but considering he is playing the titular role, his performance doesn’t leave any impact.
Jafar is an evil sorcerer who plans to take over Agrabah. He should not only look the part but also play it with conviction . But in case of Jafar in the live action flick, he comes off as very weak. It will not be an exaggeration if we say that Jafar reminded us of Robert Pattison in Twilight. Marwan Kenzari comes off as someone who is constipated and has no evil arc in terms of body language and performance. He is the villain but we are not convinced.
Will Smith is such a refined actor and has given great performances. However his version of Genie is neither lovable nor funny. His super hip casual take of Genie comes off as someone trying too hard. The little quirks that animated Genie had were missing and we didn’t even feel his importance to the narrative.
Now that we have lashed out the negatives, there are some positives in the film as well. Firstly Naomi Scott is the heart of the movie. Jasmine is such a strong princess and she has done justice to her. We instantly fall in love with her ambition and kindness.
Secondly, the movie’s music numbers are the main catch. All the songs are recreated, picturized and choreographed very well. We can groove to the music and love every track. There is one dance scene which is heavily inspired by Bollywood the resemblance is uncanny.
The colors and vibrancy is what makes Aladdin entertaining. “A friend like me” and “Prince Ali” are two of the best ones tracks of the movie. There is a scene in “A friend like me” where Aladdin is a puppet and Genie is controlling his strings. That sequence was so brilliantly choreographed. A whole new world on the other hand is a beautiful romantic melody that makes us wish to fly off on the magic carpet with the duo.
The cinematography is an absolute winner, the depiction of Agrabah is very beautiful and detailed. The top shots in the movie give us a very extensive look of the city and it is absolutely mesmerizing. The backdrop of every scene makes its even more visually stunning. If nothing else, the movie stands as a must have cinematic experience . As when we are watching it, the character flaws and poor actors can easily be ignored by the satisfying experience that the film gives on the whole.
The chase and flying sequences instantly make us notice the direction, the film comes from the vision of Guy Ritchie and he does not disappoint. The scenes takes us along and our eyes follow Aladdin as he runs in the narrow streets of Agrabah.
The movie may be technically flawed but there is still something that it offers. Coupled with nostalgia this one deserves to be watched at least once. Having said that, Aladdin’s colorful imagery and fantasy cannot fill in the character flaws and loop holes that are apparent in the film. Expect to be amazed and disappointed at the same time, it is a must have cinematic experience that will leave you unfulfilled.