Movie ReviewsDisney’s Aladdin – A Magical Nostalgia Trip (Early Review)

Wannabe Movie CriticMay 22, 201982/100
Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott
John August, Guy Ritchie
Guy Ritchie
Running Time
128 minutes
Release Date
May 24th, 2019
Overall Score
Rating Summary
Everyone's favorite big blue Genie is back, while Mena Massoud shines as the street rat turned Prince in the fantastic live-action Aladdin.

Folks. The marketing team behind the classic Disney property should be ashamed of themselves because they did a terrible job promoting this film. Every single image, clip, and trailer that came out didn’t paint this to be a very pretty picture. Making a live action adaptation of a well-known animated entity is difficult, but what this film managed to do hits you right in the heart. Co-written and directed by Guy Ritchie, he clearly had some awfully big shoes to fill, not to mention a certain A-list celebrity in this film, but both somewhat knock it out of the park. There are some strong aspects here such as the nostalgia factor, some all-around terrific casting, wonderful musical numbers, capturing the spirit and essence of Agrabah.

Everything in Agrabah is so bright and colorful, it truly feels like a land of magic. There we meet Aladdin (Massoud) and his trusty monkey Abu. We all know the story, Aladdin sees Princess Jasmine (Scott) in the market, saves her and they begin their quest for love. If these two characters don’t work, the movie is going to fall flat on its face. Well, luckily that wasn’t the case at all. In fact, Massoud is the best part of this film, he encapsulates everything good and pure about Aladdin’s character, and it honestly felt like the animated version had sprung to life. Between is wise-cracking jokes, and sarcasm, to his undeniable chemistry with both Smith as the genie and Scott’s Jasmine, Disney crushed it with the casting.

A certain encounter with the Royal Vizier Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), was when the story began to take form. Jafar would play a large part of this tale which was a shame as he happened to be the weakest aspect of the film, relegated to a mere joke. As a character, he takes so much away from the film as he was not a strong villain. On the other hand, Smith pops out of that thing and he’s actually a pretty satisfying Genie. While no one in the history of mankind will ever be able to replace Robin Williams, that wasn’t the point. What Disney needed to do was give us some of the old, but reinvent the Genie in a way that best suited Smith and his abilities and that’s exactly what we get and it’s entertaining.

In all honestly, Smith’s interpretation of the Genie is essentially his character in Hitch with the obvious exception that he’s blue and can grant you three wishes. Aladdin at its core is a love story, so who better to set these two kids up than Hitch himself. While the original 1992 version was only 90 minutes long, this is a little longer, clocking in at over 2 hours thanks to this film’s expansion of the familiar story. Disney’s Aladdin isn’t ripped scene for scene with the animated version, as certain parts would be too difficult to translate into live action, including its ending. The ending here was satisfying, but it just needed a little more action.

For the most part, there isn’t much to complain about Disney’s Aladdin. No matter how hard you resist, you become a child and smile whenever one of those classic songs start up, try to resist it, fight it, but it’s impossible. So not only are you taken on a magical carpet ride of nostalgia but because the movie is so entertaining you can’t help but have fun. Aladdin may have looked to be one of the biggest bombs of the year, but in fact, Disney did a fantastic job bringing this story to life.

If this is any indication of what’s to come from The Lion King, we are all in for a serious treat come July.

*still courtesy of Disney*

If you liked this, please read our other reviews here and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter or Instagram or like us on Facebook.


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