Don’t get me wrong, although I was never a loud doubting voice, I did have my doubts about this adaptation. Such as why? I’ve enjoyed some of the other remakes (Pete’s Dragon and Cinderella are stand-outs for me) but the question needs to be asked, do we need it? The answer is a fairly obvious “of course not”, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it.
Guy Ritchie was always an interesting choice. A distinct style that has a vocal fanbase but typically made films that never really made money. Excluding the Sherlock Holmes films, he directed which together grossed a bit over a billion worldwide. His last film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword flopped. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. also did, even though it made more than King Arthur. It’s got a very local fanbase on film Twitter who keep begging for a sequel. They are at least flops by comparing to the numbers that Disney typically pulls.
Speaking of comparison, let’s discuss the biggest elephant in the room, and no, not Abu. Will Smith as the genie. With the announcement of Will Smith as the genie, the internet went one of two ways. Either super approving or not even remotely. At first, I was part of the latter. It’s easy and rewarding to say that I was wrong to not have faith in Will Smith. He gave a wonderful and charming performance. He, like Robin Williams before him, brought honest humanity into the role. Also worth noting, if you’re a fan of Hitch like I am, you’ll have a soft spot for this film.
Mena Massoud who plays Aladdin is also super charming and his voice will make you remember the previous singer Brad Kane who both sing loud and wonderfully. While Naomi Scott will blow you away with her performance, and even further back when she sings. Dalia is a new character to the story played by Nasim Pedrad (who I previously loved as Alyson in New Girl). She is Jasmine’s handmaiden, confidente and most importantly, friend. The sequences she’s apart of elevates and makes the film shine a bit brighter, whether it’s her with Genie or her and Jasmine.
Jafar is super cartoony and slows down the movie a whole bunch. He’s easily overlooked by the rest of the film by all the charm and the parkour that can be found in the film.