Review: ALADDIN – Will Smith Leads The Charge In This Charming Reboot

FIRST IMPRESSION

ALADDIN is Disney's best, most charming live-action reboot to date. Will Smith makes the Genie his own while respecting the character's history.
Writing/Story
Acting
Direction
Music
- Advertisement -

Aladdin is out this weekend, and Disney fans can breath a sigh of relief, because it’s perhaps the best live-action reboot the studio has done yet.

Directed by Guy Ritchie, the film stars Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine, and Will Smith as the Genie.

Admittedly, the movie starts on shaky ground. The opening “Arabian Nights” number will give you goosebumps, but the rest of the first act falls flat. It feels like the actors are just “playing Aladdin” and going through the motions. The writing is stiff and the acting is wooden. There are flickers of goodness, but the film doesn’t really take off until we hit the Cave of Wonders.

There’s a lot of pressure on Will Smith’s Genie. The whole story hinges on this character, and Robin Williams set such a high bar in the original role. Luckily, Smith delivers the goods. His Genie isn’t as “in your face” and boisterous as Williams’, but he’s charming and charismatic, he’s full of energy, and he builds a real connection with the audience. Smith makes the Genie his own while still respecting the history of the character. His entrance signals a shift in the movie. It’s as if he lifts the story and his fellow actors up on his massive blue shoulders, because everything and everyone takes a step up.

- Advertisement -

From the Cave of Wonders straight through to the end, Aladdin is a fun, charming ride that sucks you in. (Author’s sidebar: I’ve used the word “charming” twice now, and it’s in the review title, which kills me BUT it’s also the best word to describe this whole experience. Take that for what you will.)

Ritchie and co-writer John August do a lot to make this movie its own thing. It doesn’t feel like a bland rehash of old material like some Disney live-action reboots have. Ritchie and August change story beats, add new material, and – for the most part – it works really well. It gives new depth and context to the story while retaining the original themes and morals.

The best example of this is Princess Jasmine’s story arc. The writers give Jasmine a lot more to do in this film, including a new musical number, and the new material solidifies her as a strong, independent role model for young girls.

Another great example is the addition of Nasim Pedrad’s character. Pedrad is funny in the role, and she gives Smith’s Genie a character besides Aladdin to play off of in brilliant fashion. If Pedrad is on screen, you can expect to laugh.

Aladdin is still a musical, and the soundtrack well lives up to the original. Massoud, Scott, and Smith all prove their vocal chops and deliver great numbers worth relistening to once the album drops. And the visuals surrounding the songs are fun to watch, for the most part, with the dance choreography being the high point.

The Disney live-action reboots have been a mixed bag so far, but Aladdin may be the start of a new era. Let’s hope Lion King keeps the ball rolling.

- Advertisement -

TRENDING THIS WEEK

The Lie – Official Trailer

#WelcomeToTheBlumhouse #TheLieMovie The Lie is written and directed by Veena Sud, and stars Mireille Enos (The Killing), Peter Sarsgaard (An Education) and Joey King (The Kissing Booth 2, The Act). When their teenaged daughter confesses to impulsively killing her best friend, two desperate parents attempt to cover up the horrific crime, leading them into a…

Lovecraft Country Radio: Strange Case | Episode 5 | HBO

In this episode of Lovecraft Country Radio, hosts Ashley C. Ford and Shannon Houston discuss Episode 5: "Strange Case." Eric Eddings, host of The Nod Show and For Colored Nerds, joins the conversation to discuss how black male anger is portrayed in the episode. The hosts also discuss the different forms that code-switching can take…

New This Month: September • Now Streaming on Hulu

Check out the biggest titles dropping in September on Hulu. Originals - 0:31 Movies - 0:55 Television - 1:17 SUBSCRIBE TO HULU’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL Click the link to subscribe to our channel for the latest shows & updates: http://www.youtube.com/hulu?sub_confi START YOUR FREE TRIAL http://hulu.com/start FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hulu/ Hulu on Twitter: https://twitter.com/hulu Facebook:…

‘Oath’ Ep. 2 Clip | Power Book II: Ghost | STARZ

Davis has no idea what he’s gotten into. Catch up on the latest episode of #PowerGhost only on the #STARZ App! #PowerGhost #PowerBook2 #PowerNeverEnds #STARZ Subscribe to the STARZ YouTube Channel for more Power: http://bit.ly/1kalhP0 Get your special offer of the STARZ app: https://starz.tv/32s4aGT Like Power Book II: Ghost on Facebook: https://bit.ly/2Zfs6gw Follow Power Book…

Niko Gutiérrez-Kovner | The Latinx List • All Accents Welcome

Niko Gutiérrez-Kovner sits down with his parents for a conversation about Latin Heritage Month and representation in TV and film. ABOUT THE LATINX LIST The Black List has teamed with Hulu for the 2020 Latinx List, which focuses one-hour and half-hour original pilots written by at least one Latinx writer and featuring a Latinx or…

Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 – Announcement I Prime Video

There has never been a lineup like this. Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 arrives exclusively to Prime Video on October 2. https://www.amazon.com/savagexfenty Rihanna’s annual Savage X Fenty Show returns to Amazon Prime Video, exclusively streaming on October 2nd. Fashion Show to Feature Performances from Travis Scott, Rosalia, Bad Bunny, Ella Mai, Miguel, Mustard and…

Nocturne – Official Trailer

#WelcomeToTheBlumhouse #Nocturne Movie Nocturne is written and directed by Zu Quirke in her breakout feature debut. Starring Sydney Sweeney (Euphoria, The Handmaid’s Tale, Player’s Table), Madison Iseman (Jumanji: The Next Level, Annabelle Comes Home), Jacques Colimon (The Society) and Ivan Shaw (Insecure, Casual). Inside the halls of an elite arts academy, a timid music student…
Avatar
Anthony Composto
Editor-in-Chief for Monkeys Fighting Robots. A lifelong fan of Spider-Man and the Mets, Anthony loves an underdog story. He earned his B.A. in English because of his love for words, and his MBA because of his need for cash. He considers comics to be The Great American Art Form, and loves horror movies, indie dramas, action/thrillers, and everything in between.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here