HOLLYWOOD—There has been a trend lately in Hollywood: let’s do a live-action version of all of our favorite classics. Some have seen success at the box-office, some have been panned by critics and some have fallen flat compared to the original. You can now add another Disney classic to the list, “Aladdin.” Yes, that classic which starred Robin Williams voicing perhaps one of the most iconic characters in animated cinema has received the live-action treatment.
Well, heads were turning when it was revealed that actor Will Smith would take over the iconic role. Here’s the problem with Smith’s portrayal of the Genie: it is hard to imagine him in the role. Why? Well for starters’ he’s blue. The color blue just doesn’t sit in my opinion in this live-action version. On top of that, the snarky comments that Williams delivered as the fun character, Smith doesn’t deliver as convincing.
It is hard to picture Smith as the Genie, but its cringe-worthy watching Smith in the role. Mena Massoud who portrays Aladdin and Naomi Scott who portrays Princess Jasmine do decent jobs in their roles. They’re not bringing anything to the role that we don’t already know about the characters. Another hiccup is the depiction of the villain Jafar by Marwan Kenzari. I always remember Jafar as being an iconic villain; yes it was an animated character, but he was devious, cruel and a character who posed a vital threat to our hero. Kenzari doesn’t bring that level of villainy that one comes to expect of such a character.
I’m not sure if it was the weak script or perhaps director Guy Ritchie not pulling more from the actor that resonates with the audience. The great thing about this remake is that the songs are just as iconic as they were back in 1992. Fans of the original will love this aspect of the movie, but that is also a weak point of the flick. If you saw the original, you will critique and rip this piece apart comparing it to the classic. Let’s be honest, the 1992 version is phenomenal, this remake not so much.
For people, who have seen the classic, they might find themselves entertained by this version. Is it terrible; no, but it’s forgettable in some aspects. The acting is not out of this world, the plot doesn’t deviate from the original. The only fresh thing we get is a live-version of the flick, that to be honest, we didn’t actually need to begin with. Ritchie does the best he can with the script, but in the end I just found myself wanting so much more.
Considering how “Aladdin” turned out, I am deftly scared out how the 2019 live-action version of the greatest animated flick of all time “The Lion King” will be when it arrives in July. Sometimes it’s best to leave classics alone, unless you’re bringing something totally fresh and new to the table, otherwise the audience gets the same thing, only it’s a mediocre version at best.