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The opening 30 minutes of this are horrid. One step ahead is so phoned in it hurts and my heart was dying with every bit that went by. 

 

Then they get out of the cave and it becomes a different film. Aladdin has a charisma transplant and becomes fun to watch, Jasmine is pretty great all the way through. Jafar is ... he doesn't ruin it.

 

And Will Smith as genie kills it. He is so good as genie and was able to bring something different yet genie-esque to an impossible role considering what came before. 

 

The only thing about the genie that annoyed me was Friend Like Me. The version in this is pretty appalling and the only really misstep from Smith in the film. But then the end credits began and there is a Will Smith rap to the backing track of Friend Like Me and both me and my friend stopped leaving the cinema, looked at the screen and pretty much at the same time commented. "Why wasn't that the song used in the film?" It was excellent and brought a Will Smith Vibe to the song.

 

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So is Jafar a bad actor or just miscast?

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23 minutes ago, Frozen said:

So is Jafar a bad actor or just miscast?

 

Miscast. I heard that he'd been excellent in other projects.

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I don't believe this. He is pretty bad - and it shows.

 

BUT - he is quite perfectly cast for the NEW Jafar they have here, that has been changed significantly.

 

So my answer is: not miscast, so being bad doesn't show too much.

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This live action remake of the beloved 1992 animated classic has long been besieged by doubts and questions about the new approach on the source material, and this Aladdin sadly does little to silence that skepticism. I know that the 2017 remake of Beauty and the Beast met a divisive reaction, but at least that film got its source material and delivered an entertaining and engaging experience that worked as a solid homage. This Aladdin, however, never really finds its footing because it neither recaptures what works so well about the enchanting 1992 film nor sticks the landing on any of its numerous changes and expansions. The problems start at the top with disappointingly anonymous direction from Guy Ritchie. This turn of events is especially disheartening in light of Ritchie’s status as a distinctive director; like, say what you will about his takes on Sherlock Holmes and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., but at least those films had a verve and sense of identity that this film lacks. Even the street maneuvering in “One Step Ahead” – something whose animated version looked like it could be a fit for Ritchie in live action – is oddly inert. The storytelling and characterization decisions are also bizarre, and they’re certainly not helped by bland performances. Mena Massoud and and Naomi Scott are plenty pretty to look at as Aladdin and Jasmine, but neither performer ever really connects with their character, and they certainly don’t connect with one another. Scott tries her best to sell Jasmine as a character with greater agency, but the clumsy script does not serve her well and neither does a new musical number that feels like it belongs in an entirely different movie. Massoud and Scott’s rendition of “A Whole New World” also feels very much like an American Idol cover of the original – glossy, but lacking the elegance of the original. (It’s also far less visually dynamic than the original’s despite all the money Disney could shake at talented CGI artists.) Marwan Kenzari is also wooden as Jafar; I get what the filmmakers were trying to do by making Jafar more deceptively meek, but it doesn’t really work because it makes him feel like a much less threatening villain. Will Smith is – quite surprisingly, given the memetic negative hype – the bright spot in the cast because he brings some energy to the part and tries to make it his own; he knows he can’t hold a candle to what Robin Williams did with the part, and he wisely tries a smoother schtick that works more often than not. There are certainly scenes that pop and moments when it seems like the film is going to get on track, but taken as a whole, Aladdin is an odd remake that fails to replicate its predecessor’s magic more often than it succeeds.

 

C

 

Stray Thoughts:

- So... should we take Jafar's cliche "You haven't seen the last of me"-esque line as he enters the lamp as a sequel hook for a live action remake of The Return of Jafar? ;)

 

- I never thought I'd say that Gilbert freaking Gottfried did a better job with a role than Alan freaking Tudyk, but Iago is just a bland non-factor here. Gottfried was wicked over-exposed after Aladdin, yes, but at least his voice work as Iago's still make me laugh; on the other hand, the usually terrific Tudyk has nothing to work with in this one.

 

- This film has a bizarrely homophobic streak between the glaringly foppish prince who asks for Jasmine's hand (and they're not aping the original) and Genie's comment about Aladdin being likelier to woo the sultan than Jasmine.

 

- I get that the filmmakers are trying to address Jasmine's lack of agency and status as an object for the male hero to win in the original film, but the #smashthepatriarchy approach rings hollow. Jasmine isn't *that* problematic of a character in the original; she wants more control over her life and agrees to marriage with Aladdin on her own terms. The attempts to make her a budding politician in this film feel forced by a man who's trying really hard to be feminist (and doesn't get it), and despite all changes made, she still ultimately just feels like an object for Aladdin to be won because the story is still his, not hers. As such, the filmmakers' intentions to fix something problematic feel almost meaningless when the problems they were trying to fix still drive much of the narrative.

 

- I saw this at a pub cinema that is known to get its fair share of sauced patrons during the weekend, and a couple of those sauced patrons a few rows in front of me lost it at Nasim Pedrad's "wash my cat" lines. I'll confess that I gave this kinda-edgy double entendre a "heh" myself, but these ladies took it to another level.

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Posted (edited)

This can't compare to the original 1992 animated Disney classic, and I didn't expect it to either. But I certainly enjoyed myself and thought this was a technically well-crafted and better than expected update on the story. It's hard to really mess up Aladdin when so many of the same enchanting components are there, especially those songs (definitely got a big nostalgia kick during "A Whole New World"), even if it still seems odd that the live-action remakes can't compare to their originals despite sharing so much of the same DNA. I quite liked both Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott and what they brought to the roles, especially Scott, who gives Jasmine an overall much better characterization than the cartoon did. Marwan Kanzari...eh. I never found his Jafar even remotely threatening, especially compared to his animated counterpart. Enjoyed Nasim Pedrad whenever she was onscreen (wanted more of Billy Magnussen and whatever the hell accent he was attempting in this though lmao). Of course, the real star attraction is Will Smith, stepping into the giant shoes of the role of the Genie made so iconic by Robin Williams' vocal performance in the original. Smith wisely doesn't try to emulate Williams, and that results in him putting his own fun spin on the role (and delivers what is easily his best performance in at least a decade or more in the process). Didn't quite like this as much as Beauty and the Beast two years ago but as a reimagining of one of Disney's most iconic works, it's another mostly satisfying experience. B

Edited by filmlover

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while not a great movie by any means, I had enough fun with it to enjoy it. 

 

The beginning parts are pretty awful and very choppy and uneven,  But it does get going after a while and is at least pretty entertaining, to me.

 

It has many issues but I'd still give it aand still easily the best live action Disney so far (I haven't seen Dumbo yet though)

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On 5/25/2019 at 9:22 AM, chasmmi said:

The opening 30 minutes of this are horrid. One step ahead is so phoned in it hurts and my heart was dying with every bit that went by. 

 

Then they get out of the cave and it becomes a different film. Aladdin has a charisma transplant and becomes fun to watch, Jasmine is pretty great all the way through. Jafar is ... he doesn't ruin it.

 

And Will Smith as genie kills it. He is so good as genie and was able to bring something different yet genie-esque to an impossible role considering what came before. 

 

The only thing about the genie that annoyed me was Friend Like Me. The version in this is pretty appalling and the only really misstep from Smith in the film. But then the end credits began and there is a Will Smith rap to the backing track of Friend Like Me and both me and my friend stopped leaving the cinema, looked at the screen and pretty much at the same time commented. "Why wasn't that the song used in the film?" It was excellent and brought a Will Smith Vibe to the song.

 

 

I agree with all of this except FLM being appalling.  There was something so surreal about it I loved it. Shoehorning in Genie and Dalia as a romance was kind of bleh.

 

I do think Jasmine's weird...segment where they had to force in "Speechless" again was strange, even though I like the song more, even if bits are still pitchy. 

 

I liked this more than I thought I would. Probably my favorite movie of the year so far.

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So, Disney Marketing totally fucked this up.

 

That was... SHOCKINGLY GOOD.

  • Jasmine was wonderful.  The script updates work crazy in her favor.
     
  • Will Smith is so, so fun as the Genie.
     
  • Script did an excellent job building the relationships between Aladdin and Genie, and Aladdin and Jasmine.  Totally made the film work.  Cause,
     
  • Wow, okay.  Guy Richie clearly has no idea how to stage a musical number.  I turned to my aunt after 'Prince Ali' and said, "That's gonna be SO FUN to watch on Main Street at Disneyland/Disney World" since it looks, and was shot, like it's meant to be transported directly into their parades. As @chasmmi so precisely nails, One Jump Ahead was BAAAAD.  The Parkour and action was fun!  But, yeah.  Didn't work.
     
  • No Prince Ali (Reprise) = pathetic the little mermaid GIF
     
  • Also Pathetic?  Not traveling a 'whole new world' during that number! Where were my nods to Hercules, Mulan, and Frozen? Why won't you give me a Princess Cinematic Universe, Disney?  When Aladdin went to the 'Ends of the Earth' I was so sad Elsa didn't show up.

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I dont remember Aladdin having so many songs, I only knew it had A Whole New World. but the songs here (i know some are new, not sure which ones) work great and the dance routines are fab. 

This was really fun and Guy Ritchie's style makes the film shine. Way better than other disney remakes.

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Coasts by on the strength of the original songs. Not as empty as BatB but still a checklist of a movie.

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Not as bad as I thought but still very much a movie that feels kind of soulless to me.

 

Scott was fantastic.

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Billy Magnussen cracked me the fuck up for the whole minute he was in this film.

 

C-

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Posted (edited)

I didn't expect to like it that much, but I did. Easily the best of Disney's live action remakes even if it sounds like faint praise.

 

The original is the movie I've watched more times than any other in my life and by a wide margin. I love it from start to finish but the least interesting thing about it was Aladdin and Jasmine. They are the definition of stock lead couple that the main cool thing about them is their sidekicks (and THE song of course).

So I really like it that this remake gives Aladdin and Jasmine almost all the spotlight. The CGI sidekicks aren't as cute and loveable as the animated ones to have much screentime and Will Smith while great could never turn this into his own stand up show like Robin Williams, so that shift in focus might have been a necessity but it absolutely works. Both Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud are really good and the way the movie give them more time together makes their chemistry shine onscreen. Not to mention Will Smith playing Hitch in the rom com hijinks scenes is a joy even when he's blue.

Ofc the movie remakes shot for shot the animation classic just like BatB did, but where BatB felt like a rote ugly imitation this has a charm that's independent from the original. Maybe it's the young leads and the rom com angle or maybe it's Will Smith being fun onscreen after so many years of dour performances. Probably a bit of both.

 

B+.

 

-I don't think Jafar was that terrible, he was kinda just there. My biggest gripe is that boring old dude playing Sultan. Where was my fat jolly Sultan?

 

-The Jasmine new song was ok, nothing to write home about but the staging of that musical number was lol worthy.

Edited by Joel M

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I’m going to preface this with the fact that I have a five-year-old daughter. Disney’s princess stuff isn’t really my cup of tea. Still, I’ve seen the original cartoon dozens of times, the musical production in London, and now the live action film.

The film was fairly successful if uneven. Obviously, it is the same as the original cartoon with the additions of a few characters and requisite storylines (crime and punishment manga on yomanga) added for them. There were no great departures from the original, but it isn’t a frame-by-frame live imagining of it either.

In general, it was energetic without being frenetic, sporting decent special effects, and some great visuals. The acting was acceptable though not always believable.

I have two criticisms. First, though Will Smith did a fairly good job in reprising Robin William’s genie, he is a surprisingly lackluster singer. He couldn’t seem to pack any power and doesn’t have much of a range. I found this odd since he started out as a musician. Second, Marwan Kenzari didn’t have as much presence in his role as Jafar as Andreas Deja did in the original. He didn’t look terribly unique to me.

Beyond that, my family found it more than adequate.

 

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Will Smith was the best part of the movie! The acting is wooden, and acts like a Hallmark movie. The effects such as the Jafar becoming a evil genie or his mind control looked very cheap, like effects from a PS2 game look more realistic now than this. Another plus for this movie some of the musical numbers were decent as well. Overall I’m glad this film is doing well at the box office. But in comparison to some of the other live-action Disney films, like Beauty & The Beast for example(which I liked) this is a disappointment but it didn’t upset me too much.

 

grade: D+

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