On Aladdin

Saw the new Disney offering on Friday. Aladdin’s live-action film, directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and Will Smith, was received with mixed reviews. Myself? I’ll give it a three-star rating.

The movie musical was strong in cinematic ambience, but musically it felt stunted. I often have problems with movie musicals in contemporary cinema. Classics seemed to fare much better – Singing in the Rain, Guys and Dolls, or Oklahoma, for example.

One musical element of the film I did greatly enjoy was the Bollywood-style choreography in several of the songs. The adaptation gives a more authentic Arabian style, even if it is still lives entirely in the fantasy realm.

Some revisions to the script also gave more body to Aladdin and Jasmine, and both Massoud and Scott performed well. Smith also added flair to the performance, though competing with the voice talents of Robin Williams would be a challenge for just about anyone.

Individual performances varied from meh to good. No character was a breakout, however the cgi-renderings of Abu, Iago, and Raja very nearly stole the show.


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