Guy Ritchie (?!) directs Disney’s live action adaption of one of its most successful animated features, which sees some new lyrics added to familiar songs (as well as some new songs), and a bright young cast brings the classic tale of a diamond in the rough to life in a colorful, not entirely new, but nonetheless enjoyable way.
The film includes a large percentage of the original’s dialogue, with some flourishes to fill out the live action version of beloved characters. Will Smith headlines and takes on the unenviable task of following in the late Robin Williams’ footsteps as he takes on the role of the Genie, who helps Aladdin (Mena Massoud) win the heart of the lovely Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) as he poses as a prince, which only causes the young ruffian problems even as he falls in love with her.
I won’t lie, I was unsure going into this one. I’m still not sure how I feel about Disney taking some of their most classic animated tales and adapting them for live action. I mean the films were meant to be animated and magical, and that’s how they work. And while I can easily say that not all of the live action adaptations have worked, this one proves to be fun, colorful and entertaining.
So I will not open the debate on that subject, but instead just say that the film ends up being a real joy, and suitable family fun for all, and honestly, I loved seeing such a diverse cast bringing the characters to life. They all looked great.
The extras include a blooper reel, music videos, deleted scenes and song, a look back at the original take on the Genie and what Will Smith brought to the role as it was reimagined. There’s a small profile on Guy Ritchie, and why he wanted to be involved with a family film, which may seem like a bit of a departure for some of his fans, while keeping the cinematic flair and style that has been his signature since his first film. And most enjoyable is a fun look behind the scenes with Massoud as he was asked to document work on the set.
If you’ve never seen the animated version, I would suggest starting with that one. It also sees release on blu-ray and DVD today, but if you know it backwards and forwards like I do (we played it a lot in my video store) then this version makes for a different kind of take on it, with some empowering messages, and a talented ensemble.
Disney’s Aladdin starring Will Smith, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott is available today on blu and DVD, and it opens up a whole new world for you and Disney.