Aladdin is a staggeringly energetic musical, that is ravishingly extravagant and full of life. Adapted from the 1992 Disney classic, this twist takes new steps forward – including an enchanting new song for Jasmine. Naomi Scott is a powerhouse presence from scene to scene and people critising Will Smith before watching will be eating their words, as he is an absolute marvel as the genie.
The anchoring force of the film is Massoud and Scott’s chemistry, that shines vividly as the charm and passion seen, oozes throughout. Aladdin’s trademark charm is irresistible, charming his way with the help of Smith’s Genie and some neat ‘street rat’ tricks. Directed by Guy Ritchie, it’s a completely new step for Ritchie and is one of his best directed films to date.
Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott), is a confident and determined young woman, shackled by the control of The Sultan (Navid Negahban). Young Aladdin (Mena Massoud) embarks on a magical adventure after finding a lamp that releases a wisecracking genie (Will Smith), who turns out to kind and a great friend. Getting the lamp for Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), Aladdin discovers his evil intentions and an adventure ensues, one of romance, desire, magic and killer musical sequences.
Aladdin is a magical musical journey, Ritchie creates a loyal but entirely fresh take on the Disney classic. Ritchie’s film justifies its existence and lives up to audience expectations, with nostalgia brushed upon the spectator, whilst simultaneously presenting fresh new embellishments. It is able to capture that same sense of wonder and awe, heavily relying on Gemma Jackson’s ace production design and Michael Wilkinson’s flamboyant costume design. The colours and attention to detail allows for a world of wonders, as the saying goes: a whole new world.
Naomi Scott’s Jasmine is upgraded from the original, given a brand-new original song and allowed a complete narrative arc, that feels complete and builds upon the empty spaces in the original. Jasmine is a refreshing incarnation. Naomi Scott once-more proves herself a gem of an actor, and a hellishly excellent singer and performer. It is her and Smith that perform to their very core, with “Friend Like Me” and “A Whole New World” taking the top spots. I’d even go as far as saying, a lot of the live-action songs top the original, the musical sequences are an undeniable cinematic and musical marvel. I’d be truly ashamed of the Academy if they were to snub the fantastic original-song, “Speechless”.
The film is bursting with energy, an explosion of enchantment. The energy can be traced back to Will Smith’s Genie, who is pitch-perfect. Delivering a lively and ever-funny performance, going hand in hand with Aladdin’s charm and bolsters Massoud’s presence. The only downside visible is Jafar, who is self-knowingly over-the-top. But isn’t an improvement from the original, unlike all the other characters. He is good for the whole film, just nothing too special. Additionally, the CGI is actually very consistent and convincing throughout. Obviously, there is a little sense of the uncanny valley effect, when initially facing the Genie – but once you’re in, you completely buy it and the CGI only gets better and better.
Aladdin is a wondrous joy, you will ache with happiness. It is a ravishingly beautiful musical extravaganza, teeming with energy and star-making performances. Naomi Scott is a marvelous Jasmine, who sings to the heavens. Will Smith is pitch-perfect, online skeptics will be eating their words.
The ending sequence is perhaps the best scene of the year…