Aladdin review: Is the Disney remake any good?
It's a whole new world for Disney’s newest live action remake Aladdin that hit theatres this week. But is it any good?
While most of the early reviews slammed the movie, we quite enjoyed the two-hour movie. And not just because our May cover star is Aladdin himself, Mena Massoud.
Both Disney and Guy Ritchie don’t play around much with the 1992 script and keep the new remake as close to the original as possible, but of course giving it a very modern 21st century twist.
It's the same storyline: The poor boy/street robber meets the princess of Agrabah, an evil sorcerer wants to dethrone the Sultan and take over the world, and a genie and his three wishes is the key to defeating him. Not much has changed in the twenty five years since the original.
Disney has famously been remaking its 90’s hits. We’ve seen a Cinderella remake, Beauty and the Beast reboot, and despite a slow start at the box office Aladdin has now smashed records worldover and has reached over $105 million.
So what did we like about the movie?
For one, what none of the trailers convey however, is just how good Mena Massoud is in the movie. He’s charming, likeable and talented in his portrayal of Aladdin and his chemistry with Naomi Scott / Princess Jasmine is totally off the charts. With Scott, we see a 21st century Princess Jasmine who doesn’t want to marry a Sultan but be the Sultan herself and rule her kingdom.
And Will Smith? For all the anger over his Blue-ness in the initial trailers, he's funny as the Genie. His quips almost always get laughs and he is one of the most bankable stars in the flim. But is he better than the original 1992 genie voiced by Robin Williams? Definitely not.
In the original Agrabah’s location was vague, Disney were trying to appeal to both the Indian and the Middle East market with their 1992 original. And they seem to have done the same once again. Disney has in the past said one of the reasons why they decided to incorporate different cultures for the new live-action version was so that the movie would appeal to a wider audience. And considering their record box office earnings, their gamble paid off.
"It very much reflects a mixing or association of different cultures in a broad region that you can consider the Middle East-slash-South Asia, and even to China actually by extension, so really the Silk Road," Julie Ann Crommett, Disney’s Vice President of Multicultural Engagement, told EW in 2018.
Which is why it doesn’t come as a surprise that the movie incorporates different Bollywood-inspired dancing numbers throughout. We can’t help think that this movie, peppered India-inspired dance numbers, may one day be remembered as Disney’s first Bollywood/Hollywood hit – it certainly was for us.