REVIEW: Aladdin

Guy Ritchie offers a magical and splendid live action adaptation based on the original 1992 animated film.

It is easy to become cynical about Disney’s current mission to offer live adaptations of their beloved animated classics, but with Aladdin Guy Ritchie proves that when they are done right it can breathe new life in to the story.

This colourful, lively and immensely enjoyable film has plenty to offer visually and in terms of the performances from the cast, all directed with a suitable sense of drama and adventure by Guy Ritchie to make for one of the strongest live action films to come from Disney so far.

Following the journey of Aladdin from being a street rat who falls in love with Princess Jasmine to being granted three wishes by the genie, this new adaptation (screenplay by John August and Guy Ritchie) stays faithful to the original structure of the original film for the most part – a great comfort to those who adore the animated film.

But the film does add a contemporary edge, by emphasising that Jasmine wants to rule Agrabah on her own terms rather than simply getting married and being ruled by her husband. It is pleasing to see how Disney has adapted slightly attitudes towards Disney Princesses with only the slightest tweak to ensure that little girls still want to be like them in a way that is better suited for 2019.

Outside of this, the film retains much of the charm of the original – with Alan Menken’s gorgeous score even getting some lovely new arrangements that add even more drama and emotion such as heard in ‘A Whole New World’ while Princess Jasmine’s song ‘Speechless’ is a great new addition to the score. Meanwhile, Michael Wilkinson’s gorgeous costume designs are exquisite, shown off to best effect during the ‘Prince Ali’ sequence that is suitably spectacular and memorable.

Perhaps it could be said that some of the CGI effects don’t quite have the same appeal as the original animation – such as the cave of wonders scene doesn’t quite dazzle as it should – but there is no denying that at the climax of the film it certainly adds plenty of drama.

Yet it is the performances that stand out the most – with great performances from Mena Massoud who makes for a charming and instantly likeable Aladdin, Naomi Scott as a suitably strong and empowered Jasmine and of course Will Smith who successfully manages to put his own style on the beloved character Genie so memorably portrayed in the animated film by Robin Williams. His interpretations of ‘Prince Ali’ and ‘Friend Like Me’ are really enjoyable as is his partnership with Massoud.

Filled with warmth and great comical scenes, this live action remake of the beloved classic is entertaining from start to finish.

By Emma Clarendon

Aladdin is out in cinemas now.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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