Aladdin is pretty good.
But here’s the thing, the movie isn’t exactly a live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated film, it’s a lot more inline with the Disney stage musical and that’s what makes it good.
Aladdin follows the same plot as its ‘92 counterpart. A down on his luck street kid is tasked with retrieving a magical lamp and uses it himself to summon a genie who grants him three wishes which he uses to win the love of a princess. But the movie does make some choices for the better that help deviate it from the film and the most notable is: the genie.
Robin Williams’ animated performance as the Genie will go down in history as one of the greatest performances of all time, animated or not. It would be a fool’s errand and we’re glad to see that director Guy Ritchie and Will Smith opted to go a different way,which is a lot closer to James Monroe Iglehart’s Tony winning portrayal.
The music as a whole has also taken a step forward for the better with Naomi Scott’s Jasmine getting her own belting ballad that was absent from the animated film. The musical arrangement has also changed with a slight hip hop beat underlying Will Smith’s numbers, turning them into a subtle rap instead of a jazz number which fits with Smith’s repertoire.
The cast turns in solid performances with Mena Massoud’s Aladdin, adding more emotional layers (but clothing layers) all for the better. And the Sultan played by Legion’s Navid Negahban giving the character a bit more gravity than his ‘92 animated counterpart.
Disney is on-track to reboot most of their animated library into live-action films and we just hope that they take the same lead as 2019’s Aladdin. Understanding what makes the original so beloved but also changing enough to make the new film more worthwhile and developed.