A movie that captured the minds of a generation with wonder and magic, Aladdin has been revered as one of Disney’s greatest animated movies. It has long been my favorite Disney movie and, this past weekend, I was able to see my favorite Disney movie of all time become an amazing live-action adaptation.
Skeptical as I was when the live-action remake was first announced, all my worries were put at ease when the movie started. When Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott met in the bazaar, I got goosebumps. The first meeting of Aladdin and Jasmine was supposed to do just that. The audience knew what was going to happen (to an extent), but the on-screen chemistry was amazing. You can tell that the actor and actress took the roles seriously and didn’t want to disappoint fans of the original animated classic.
The two of them did the original proud, in my opinion. I was completely happy with how they portrayed the characters and how their characters grew throughout the movie Not saying that I was surprised by the acting, but I was taken back by how everyone seemed to grow into their roles. Especially Marwan Kenzari. A lot of people were adamant about Marwan Kenzari not being a good fit for Jafar but, when it came down to it, this man portrayed one of the best villains of all time as though it was second nature. He was truly a force to be reckoned with in this movie and there was no doubt in my mind that he posed a threat from the beginning.
Now, I know a lot of people want to know about the Genie. I am happy to oblige. One of the biggest problems I originally thought I was going to have with the live-action remake was that the Genie wouldn’t live up to that of the late, and great, Robin Williams. People. Put all your predispositions about the Genie aside. Will Smith was masterful.
Will Smith portrayed the Genie in such a way that took nothing away from Robin Williams and made it all his own. Was the Genie fun? YES! Will Smith knows comedy and he does a superb job at bringing the larger than life role to the big screen. There are even a few times where he changes things up from the previous incarnation of the movie and makes the lines his own in a whole new fashion. Yes, he has gone above and beyond and made some of the original dialogue funnier. Not only does Mr. Smith bring down the house with his uproarious stylings, he also shows a dramatic side to the Genie.
Helping provide more of a story for the Genie was Nasim Pedrad. Her role was a new addition to the movie, but it served a wonderful purpose. Playing the thoughtful hand maiden, Dalia, Nasim added a whimsical air to her scenes that proved to steer people’s attention towards her.
Not to be the one to forget to give accolades when they are due, Navid Negahban, Alan Tudyk, and Numan Hakar. I believe these three to be the unsung heroes of the movie. Playing the Sultan, Iago, and Hakim (respectively), this trio added more to the characters than the original film. The Sultan was not a silly, happy man that got delight out of simple things. He was a father that cared for his country but had a sadness to him. Iago wasn’t the annoying pissant that he was in the cartoon either. He was Jafar’s right-hand man, but he was evil without a single redeeming quality. It was genius. And then we have Hakim. Numan Hakar had the most depth out of the secondary characters and has a special place in my heart now. I will always remember, and love, his performance.