Dir; Guy Ritchie. Starring; Mens Massoud, Naomi Scott, Will Smith. PG. Color. 128 min.
Let us not waste time on the plot of this latest iteration of “Aladdin”. Genie, lamp, street kid, princess, bad guy with a cobra walking stick. Instead let us focus on a tale as old as time. Wait, darn it that’s “Beauty and the Beast”.
Disney’s newest live action remake of a classic is arguably its worst. Where to begin… Ok the acting.
The billion dollar Disney company decided to go the route of using darker skinned actors as the leads. Fantastic decision. This story takes place in an imaginary upper African area so of course the top performers should be of color. The problem? They cannot act their way out of a paper bag. Mena Massoud plays Aladdin and boy is he pretty, also great at parkour. Naomi Scott plays Jasmine. Beautiful young lady who looks the part. Then she delivers lines and it makes one wish that she had cue cards on the side similar to an SNL sketch. I’m not even going to get into Navid Negahban as the Sultan because that would be too easy. Finally we have the villainous Jafar played by Marwan Kenzari. Oh goodness does he strike fear in the audience. Someone call a barber and cigarette dealer for a buzz cut and a smokers lung because that apparently makes a bad guy.
One controversy was Will Smith cast as the genie. The character was made famous by the late great Robin Williams, leaving Smith with big shoes to fill. To my surprise, he killed it for what a train wreck this picture is. Obviously it is no Williams but his charismatic ‘Big Willie Style’ jumps off the screen. Yes there is plenty of CGI, but watching him around his costars was like watching somebody who has it and others that do not.
Now let us discuss the script. Obviously this is a remake or re-envisioning, whatever you want to call it. But where is the character building? When we first meet princess Jasmine she is instantly on the streets hiding her face and stealing food. What happened to the five or ten minutes of her rebelling against her royal heritage? Is she simply a beautiful princess with no thoughts of her own? Thank goodness they add in a side character in Dalia (Nasim Pedrad), Jasmine’s handmaiden, to make sure the story is ‘woke’.
As far as the production itself. How does, and this is an honest question, how does director Guy Ritchie continue to get money to make these big budget movies? The action scenes alone are a ridiculous mixture of stunt men propping themselves up with lens flares (because it’s the desert so don’t forget about the sun) fighting and jumping aimlessly. It makes no sense until we get a close up of our pretty stars smiling as they say ‘come with me’ or whatever similar phrase.
The musical numbers are horribly done except for one or two. “Prince Ali” is great because of Will Smith’s fresh feel to the character. The new song “Speechless” is an excellent addition about being a free woman but my god is it shot poorly. Let the actress sing instead of dancing around green screens. Finally, the penultimate jam “A Whole New World” comes around. How do you screw that up? Watch the movie and you’ll see. A carpool karaoke with James Cordon shot on GoPro cameras would have been much more enjoyable than that garbage.
The Disney remakes will continue as long as the money rolls in. Some will be more interesting than others, “Maleficent” comes to mind. But “Aladdin” is bottom of the barrel and one hopes the next generation does not remember classic tales being such a bore.
Suck Factor: 5out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)
Written by Byrd
The SUCK FACTOR, how it works. We have flipped the rating system upside down. If a film is classic, it gets a 0. Meaning that movie has 0 SUCKS. If a film is complete trash you must avoid at all costs, it gets a 7, meaning this movie really SUCKS!