By Martina Rebecca Inchingolo
Disney’s latest box office success shouldn’t come as a surprise as Aladdin joins the likes of The Jungle Book and soon, The Lion King, into the three dimensions with another live action retelling of a beloved animated classic.
Guy Ritchie adapts the 1992 Aladdin, the story of a poor “street rat” who gets the chance to change his life and win the love of Princess Jasmine, thanks to the magical and powerful Genie. Best known for rough and tumble action movies, Ritchie brings his own directorial flair and fast paced storytelling to the Middle-Eastern Folktale. He also co-writes the screenplay, changing elements such as the goals of the characters and the ending.
The film introduces actors Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott, respectively playing Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, who perfectly portray the characters. But the real star of the film is Will Smith as the Genie. The actor famous for the 90s hit The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as well as blockbuster films, has the audience under his spell due to his charm and funny personality. This was a challenging role for the actor, due to the expectations set by the fans loyal to Robin Williams’ performance in the cartoon. It wouldn’t be fair to compare the two performances as Robin Williams delivered a was legendary and unforgettable performance. Will Smith however makes the role his own, with a hip-hop inspired charisma that changes the character to one more suitable to his acting style without tarnishing the nostalgic element.
The soundtrack plays a big part in recreating a comfortable, familiar feeling for the fans of the original cartoon. Old classics such as Arabian Nights, Friend Like Me and of course A Whole New World, return to take the audience back to their childhoods, while the addition of a new song, Speechless sang by Princess Jasmine, represents the pinnacle of the musical numbers added to the run of live action remakes.
Jasmine goes through a journey of self-empowerment, not previously featured in the cartoon. She becomes the ultimate symbol of feminism by rebelling against misogynistic traditions, reminding herself that her voice deserves to be heard. She is still the princess that falls in love with Aladdin but her love story doesn’t define her, there is so much more to her than just being the love interest.
The use of the CGI, the beautiful choreographed dances and the vibrant colours make this film a fantastic experience that deserves to be watched on the big screen. Whether you are going to like the rest of the film or not, the visual flare is definitely worth admission alone.
Catch Aladdin at Macrobert Arts Centre from June 7.