While many people have been skeptical about how Disney’s live-action Aladdin was shaping up, I’m happy to report that Guy Ritchie delivered. Aladdin is a magical adventure you won’t regret seeing. Fun musical numbers, colorful costumes, lavish sets, and an excellent cast make this film a real crowd pleaser. Just like Disney’s live-action Cinderella and Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin gives us a beautiful looking fairytale that adds more depth and nuances to the original story.
The cast is perfect here and they all look fabulous in their Bollywood inspired costumes, especially jasmine in her many beautiful sparkling gowns. Will Smith as Genie injects exciting, fast-paced energy to the film and Mena Massoud is very charismatic and charming as Aladdin. He’s hilarious, especially when he first meets the Sultan and Jasmine as Prince Ali.
When it comes to the musical numbers, Mena’s singing is good. But he comes across as the weakest singer of the group with his opening song, leaving much to be desired. Naomi Scott is excellent as Princess Jasmine and the changes they made to her character worked perfectly. They made her more involved with the politics of Agrabah, which felt like a necessary update to strengthen her character. I appreciated them deepening the relationship of Aladdin and Jasmine by having them interact more, which helped sell the romance better.
Navid Negahban is an incredibly talented actor, but unfortunately not given anything to work with as the Sultan. The character is more respectful and dignified than in the cartoon, which was an appropriate update. And while Jafar is considerably more entertaining and fun in the animated version, Marwan Kenzari does do a good job in the role and gives the character an appropriate amount of menace. The added details to the character’s backstory were a very smart addition and really fleshed out the character. Nasim Pedrad and Billy Magnussen are very funny as always, and a welcomed addition to the film.
Unfortunately, Iago has all of his personality stripped away and is relegated to a simple parrot. This is a huge waste of Alan Tudyk who was perfectly cast in the role and given nothing to do. The final battle is entertaining, but I felt the changes made lessened the scope and made it feel less exciting than the original. In summary, Aladdin is a lot of fun with gorgeous production values and a talented cast that quite frankly really has me hoping for a sequel.