The quadfecta of Naomi Scott (Princess Jasmine), Will Smith (Genie), Mena Moussad (Aladdin) and Guy Ritchie’s expert direction are what make the live action remake of Aladdin one of the best Disney has produced. Sticking very close to the original, this version again tells the story of Aladdin, an orphaned boy who must steal food to survive and finds a magic lamp which could change everything.
Aladdin Movie Details
RUNNING LENGTH: 2h 8 min
MAIN CAST: Will Smith, Mena Moussad, Naomi Scott
SYNOPSIS: A kindhearted petty thief and a power-hungry Grand Vizier vie for a magic lamp which can grant three wishes to each holder.
Even though the main character in this story is Aladdin, the shining star of this film is Princess Jasmine portrayer, Naomi Scott. She embodies the true essence of the character in every way. Add to that her incredible singing voice, which we first witness in the Disney Channel original movie Lemonade Mouth, and you have perfect casting.
This is not to discount Mena Moussad. He has heart, comic timing and obvious chemistry with both Naomi Scott and Will Smith. This movie requires all that to be a success. Scott can’t shine without Moussad there to play against and Smith (who we will talk about in a bit) can’t shine without Moussad to throw the pitch which he could hit out of the park.
Another superstar in this retelling is director Guy Ritchie. While he never gets any time in front of the camera, his vision is expertly brought to life in an intricate, colorful and bold way. From the epic settings such as the Agrabah marketplace in the Prince Ali scene to the sweeping scenes in the desert to those in the quiet spots of the palace, several times I felt as though I was riding through the landscapes of Walt Disney World’s Soarin’ Around the World attraction.
Similar to the previous Disney live action remakes, this movie also contains slight differences from the source material and Guy Ritchie’s version is no different. Here are some of the differences which, in this case, enhanced the original:
Will Smith as Genie
I’ll be the first to admit when news first broke Will Smith would be portraying Genie, I wasn’t completely sold. Then again, I don’t know if I would have been sold on anyone else because Robin Williams was larger than life as Genie and his interpretation was singular. But I promised myself I would give him a shot and watch the movie with an open mind which is easier said than done. As the movie began I found myself making comparisons to Williams’ performance during the first song, Arabian Nights, and even into Friend Like Me, then all of a sudden, I am not even sure when, like *MAGIC* Will Smith became the Genie and interpretation was his own.
There’s no question, Will Smith is a funny guy. He has unique mannerisms and abilities which gave Genie a fresh spin and a humanity which wasn’t fleshed out in the original.
Speaking of Genie, when we leave Genie in the animated version he has a suitcase, a Goofy hat and he is ready to explore the world. This version switches up the story and nicely bookends the movie with scenes of Genie’s life after being freed from the lamp.
Unlike the original, Jasmine has a handmaid, Dalia, who acts a faithful friend and, more importantly, comic relief. Played by Nasim Pedrad, best known for her recurring spot on Saturday Night Live, Dalia is another bright spot of the film and her scenes often leave the viewer looking forward to the next time she will be on screen.
While this movie treats us to updated versions of our favorite songs from the original such as Arabian Nights, Friend Like Me, Prince Ali and A Whole New World, there is a new song which steals the show. Speechless performed by Naomi Scott is breathtaking. Not only does it perfectly convey Princess Jasmine’s need to be heard, the scenes surrounding it was incredibly choreographed.
Aladdin was a wonderful retelling of this classic tale which MUST be experienced on the big screen. It features astounding visuals and impeccable casting. I highly recommend this movie for all ages.
Great movie. Will see again. The sooner the better.
Good movie. Will see again but can wait until the movie comes out on Amazon which I will buy.
OK movie. Might see again but only if it’s on Netflix or TV and there is nothing else to watch.
Yucky movie. Will not see again.
EDITOR’S NOTE: You won’t be surprised to find out I went to see Aladdin again. Check out my second viewing thoughts HERE.
Sue Nowicki is an alumna of the 2014/15 Disney Parks Moms Panel. She is a team mom extraordinaire who has filled her time serving as secretary, navigator, head cheerleader, treasurer, athletic trainer and team psychologist for her daughter’s travel sports team for over 15 years before becoming a team owner. She is also a travel consultant for Looking Glass Travel specializing in Disney destinations. You can follow her on Twitter at @JazzinDisneyMom.