Aladdin Director - Guy Ritchie Cast - Will Smith, Mena Massoud,Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari,Nasim Pedrad,Navid Negahban Rating - 2.5/5(***)
There are memories at stake here, and anything less in quality is deemed to be met with both disappointment and anger. Twenty Seven years ago, the original Aladdin became one of the most popular animated films to be ever made.
Like Ranveer Singh’s aspiring rapper from that film, Aladdin has also been bred on the streets, constantly reminded of his place in the world, confronted by the very real possibility that he will never be allowed to escape it. It’s what draws Aladdin to Princess Jasmine, who is – for all intents and purposes – a prisoner inside her own home, held under the age-old patriarchal excuse of protection, ‘seen but not heard’. The desire to climb the social ladder is what motivates the villainous vizier Jafar, who is given a heftier backstory in this film, one that neatly mirrors Aladdin’s.
Aladdin is depending on your familiarity with the original animated film, this may or may not come as a surprise – an outright musical. The Jasmine of Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin is given ambition. This ambition is not restricted to the guilty pleasure of roaming the streets under a veil. The idea behind exploring the city covertly is to acquaint herself with her subjects, whom she wishes to rule in the future.
Unlike Princess Jasmine was a groundbreaking character even at the time of its inception in the 1992 “Aladdin” animated film. Disney had crystallized the notion of a princess as a perpetual damsel in distress, waiting to be rescued by a Prince Charming. Some of these were in the form of Jasmine’s predecessors, Ariel from “The Little Mermaid”(1989) and Belle from “Beauty and The Beast” (1991). But Jasmine was unique for various reasons.
Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott are excellent finds. Had it not been for their effortless chemistry, and their fresh-faced innocence, their scenes together could have been awfully bland – especially with no Genie to elevate them.
Overall I can say the ‘big’ moments just do not feel sweeping and aside from ‘A Whole New World’ on the magic carpet, the musical numbers fall visually flat. The film wants to wow you constantly, but just ends up tripping over itself. Will Smith has been given top billing in the credits as this movie would not have worked without him. It helps that he plays Genie as an exaggerated version of his own public persona.