IHGB Movie Review: Aladdin
Starring: Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and Will Smith
The Gist: Aladdin gets lamp. Aladdin rubs lamp. Genie grants wishes.
Let’s just get this out of the way right now — GO SEE THIS MOVIE. Get up from your seat, buy a ticket, and go see this movie on the big screen right now.
I know. Some of you are nervous because you saw the clip or heard the Internet kick up a ruckus (ETX word) when Will Smith debuted as Genie.
BALDERDASH. Do not let that squash your decision to see him perform. I believe the character of Genie is smack dab in the middle of Will Smith’s wheelhouse.
- Will Smith is a triple threat. He can sing, he can dance, and he can act. Yes, he plays a big blue magical man with a fabulous top knot, but don’t forget that he was also the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for six years. Which means Will Smith has impeccable comedic timing. And that’s EXACTLY what the Genie needs.
- I’m glad the writers gave several nods to Robin Williams, paying tribute to some of his jokes in the cartoon version. But they also let Will Smith flex his Genie muscles in the best way possible. I think it’s futile to compare the two performances. Instead, I’ll say that Will Smith makes a great live action Genie and Robin Williams will always be THE animated Genie we all know and love.
- Mena Massoud is a name you need to know. He plays Aladdin. Or should I say he is Aladdin? The dude looks exactly like the cartoon, minus the bare chest.
- Just wait until he smiles. You’ll smile back once those dimples appear. And he will endear himself to you when he first meets Jasmine.
- Speaking of Jasmine, I watched the screening in an IMAX theater. You know you are gorgeous when your skin looks flawless on an IMAX screen. Naomi Scott has to be one of the prettiest people I’ve ever seen seventy feet high.
- Both Aladdin and Jasmine can sing in a professional way that you will enjoy. Sometimes Disney chooses actresses to play their live action characters with the hope and trust that a voice coach can teach them to carry a tune. (I’m looking at you, Emma Watson.) Mena and Naomi were performers before they landed the gig.
- Mena is from Egypt. Naomi is British. Tons of people clapped back at Disney for not hiring a Middle Eastern Jasmine. I understand where they are coming from.
- There are two dance scenes that will make you stand up and cheer if you are bold enough to look weird in the theater. I’m not that bold. But I did punch the person beside me and clap with glee.
- If you like parkour, you’ll love the opening scene of this movie.
- If you don’t know what parkour is, you’ll still love the opening scene of this movie.
- Abu the Monkey steals the show.
- The magic carpet steals the show.
- Nasim Pedrad, who plays Jasmine’s hand maiden, steals the show.
- Marwan Kenzari plays Jafar and he did a phenomenal job. He was my least favorite main character. I don’t mean to throw shade, but someone has to rank last place in the roster.
- The beginning feels “ify” but it gets good fast. Just hang in there for a few minutes until the boat scene ends.
- I know. A boat scene? (Trust me.)
- The Cave of Wonders looked E-X-A-C-T-L-Y like the animated movie.
- You’ll need to see this twice, because I’m sure there’s something awesome you missed during “Friend Like Me.” It was magical.
- The Genie prepping Aladdin for his first wish is Will Smith at his finest.
- “Prince Ali” was a punch of technicolor in the desert. You will smile and tap your foot to that rhythmic beat.
- “A Whole New World” is everything you ever wanted it to be. #NailedIt
- Jasmine sings a song that will knock your socks off.
Survey Says: Clearly you know how I feel about this movie. I will own it one day. And I have already listened to the soundtrack three times this morning. If I had one qualm, it would be that it’s a smidge too long. Just a tiny smidge. Otherwise, Aladdin is a delight that will stimulate all the senses, except smell.
Go see it.