Friday, September 17, 2021

Weekend Watch: ‘Aladdin’ Revisited and Reinvented

The larger than life Genie (Will Smith) gets his point across to Aladdin (Mena Massoud)  Photo Credit: Daniel Smith

Aladdin” pulls out all the stops when it revisits the classic animated Disney tale with a live-action adaptation of the thief, the princess, and the Genie.

But the magic is gone. To be truly invested in any story, you must be invested in the characters, especially the two that carry the narrative.

This is not the case with Aladdin (Mena Massoud) and the princess (Naomi Scott). There is no chemistry and they do not light up the screen. Then, there is a blue Genie (Will Smith) in human form with a knot on top his head. Add to this the minus effect of the unrealistic animal comrades, with the exception of the tiger. It was awesome.

“Aladdin” 2019 should get credit, however, for its take on female emancipation. Not that previous female characters who were subjected to rules and whims of men in the past wanted to stay in a menial position, but Princess Jasmine constantly complained about the fact she could not be considered to hold the position of Sultan.

She was steadfast in convincing her father the Sultan (Navid Negahban) that she, too, could be a Sultan. The Sultan’s adversary Marwan Kenzari was cast perfectly as the villain Jafar. He worked that menacing look and haunting voice.

Mena Massoud (Aladdin) and Naomi Scott (Jasmine) .

Keeping to the original script, the pickpocket Aladdin uses his monkey Abu to help him steal. His questionable ways cease when he is able to help Princess Jasmine and recognize there is more to life than stealing. When forced to steal by the wicked wizard Jafar, Aladdin gets possession of a magic lamp. After that, there is a whole new world for Aladdin after the Genie pops out and turns his world upside down.

Directed by Guy Ritchie, “Aladdin” also stars Billy Magnussen, Nasim Pedrad, and Numan Acar.       Twitter: @thefilmstrip

Marie Moore
Veteran syndicated journalist who covers film and television.



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