'Aladdin' review: Will Smith shines in a fitting remake of a timeless classic

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India May 24, 2019, 03.22 PM(IST) Written By: Shomini Sen

The official poster of 'Aladdin'. Photograph:( Twitter )

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For those who have grown up on Disney's animated series and film, Ricthie's 'Aladdin' serves as a beautiful walk down the memory lane and also talks about class divides that exist in the society. 

Filmmaker Guy Ritchie is best known for his work in sleek actioners. So naturally, when Disney announced that Ritchie would be remaking the classic Aladdin in live-action, most were surprised by the usual choice. But Ritchie moves away from his comfort zone and presents a visually fascinating tale of an underdog in the fictional city of Agrabah. 

For those who have grown up on Disney's animated series and film, Ricthie's 'Aladdin' serves as a beautiful walk down the memory lane and also talks about class divides that exist in the society. 

Aladdin(Mena Massoud), known as a 'street rat', steals to survive in the busy city of Agrabah. He lives with his pet monkey, Abu who also serves as his accomplice. A chance meeting with Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) changes his world and makes him fall head over heels in love with her. While the attraction is mutual, Aladdin is no prince and according to the law Jasmine can only marry a Prince thereby providing the kingdom it next king. Meanwhile, Jafar, the king's minister has his evil intention to stage a coup and for that, he needs the magical lamp which can give him superpowers.

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Of course, instead of Jafar, Aladdin gets hold of the lamp and becomes the master of the genie (Will Smith) and how with the help of his faithful friend, Aladdin manages to win over the Princess and put Jafar in place forms the rest of the story. 

Cinematographer Alan Stewart weaves a visually stunning canvas on the screen which is rich in colours. Each of the sets are well imagined, from the stunning interiors of the palace to the bustling streets of the city outside- the production design is superlative making the fictional city come alive.

Not only does the film have technical finesse but it also has great performances by its three central characters. Scott and Massoud are relatively new faces but they are worthy finds and make Aladdin and Jasmine's story endearing. The two share crackling chemistry and play their parts very well. Smith's character is introduced almost after the film is nearing its interval but its quite timely as he infuses a different sort of energy into the narrative. Smith gets to play the fun Genie complete with one-liners and swag and the actor doesn't disappoint. While Smith's stardom looms large over the film, much like his character, it never overpowers the story. Credit should be given to Massoud who, despite being a relative newcomer, holds his own and is his charming best as Aladdin. 

The backbone of the film is also the music which much like the 1992 animated classic, is soulful. Composer Alan Menken infuses few beatbox, hip-hop beats (that suit Smith well) into the music and the result is an interesting fusion of classic tunes with a few contemporary sounds. Menken keeps the hit 'A Whole New World' untouched and thank god for that! Sung by Scott and Massoud, the song remains just as magical as it was two decades back. 

The film becomes a bit sluggish post interval, but thankfully picks up pace near the climax and delivers a fitting finale. 

Many feel that its not always a good idea to remake a classic but not in this case. Guy Ritchie's 'Aladdin' not only work for adults for its nostalgia but also among kids, as it opens up a magical tale of love, friendship, and loyalty.