Director: Guy Ritchie
Writers: John August (screenplay by), Guy Ritchie (screenplay by)
Stars: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott
Moviie Couple here! We have added an I to how we spell Moviie, that’s not a mistake! Because with the Moviie Couple you always have 2 eyes on one movie! Two distinct perspectives! We went to see Aladdin this weekend! Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies! We’re here to tell you if we liked it. Film experts we are not! Just a quick reminder of our rating system.
Mrs. Moviie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out. we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system. 1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money! 3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent! 5-6 Bills equal Wow! Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter! Please take our money again!
Aladdin is a live action retelling of the animated Disney classic of the same name. Of course even if you grew up in a Tibetan Monastery and have never seen the Disney classic, you probably still know the story of Aladdin and the Lamp, so spoiler protection will not be at it’s highest level. “Street Rat” Aladdin gets involved in Royal politics, after run ins with the Sultan’s beautiful daughter, Jasmine, and his Vizier Jafar. There is a Cave of Wonders, a Magic Lamp just begging to be rubbed, an all powerful Genie, a flying carpet and yes, a monkey sidekick! Since this is based on the Disney feature we also get new interpretations of classic songs as well as a timely new one! Betrayals! Romance! Comedy! Broadway worthy musical numbers! Bollywood-like dance numbers! What else could we ask for? Mena Massoud stars as the title hero Aladdin. Naomi Scott portrays Princess Jasmine, Marwan Kenzari is featured as the villainous Jafar.
Uncredited, we have performances by Carpet and Abu, so don’t worry the gang’s all here. And last, but certainly not least, Will Smith brings the Genie to life! Guy Ritchie, yes THAT Guy Ritchie, directs this adaptation. Ritchie does a good job of puling off a near (I said near not exact) beat for beat live reenactment of the animation classic most love and cherish. He does pull out a surprise or two, not included in the original and manages to change the end of the tale in a very cool and modern way. Since there is very little you won’t know going in, we will not spoil the little changes. Trust us that they are great and wait to enjoy them yourselves. The real pressure is on Mr. Smith. Let’s be honest, anyone chosen to step into the legendary shoes of Robin Williams would be taking on an very unenviable position. Not only have we lost this comic legend far too soon, but his performance as the Genie from Aladdin is near animation perfection.
For many adults that grew up with his interpretation of the Genie it is the quintessential version. Does Wil Smith’s take on the Genie live up to the legacy? Does he drop the ball like a lay up on the courts of Philly? Or does his performance rise to Bell Aire levels? Sorry couldn’t help my self with that one. But the question of just how Smith’s Genie comes across looms over the entirety of this movie? The internet proved that after the first trailer broke. All the classic numbers are here and a particularly good new one. The sets and costuming is impeccable! This really feels like the world of Aladdin. Enough with the basics, let us review our journey to Agrabah! Keep your pet monkeys close, hop on a carpet and fly with us to a Whole New World and let us tell you what the Mr and Mrs thought of Aladdin!
So here we go!
Mr. Moviie Couple: I did not expect much from this film. I am a fan of the original Disney animated features, so Disney live action updates really don’t appeal to me. Beauty and The Beast really set the bar even lower than my already low expectations. But boy was this a pleasant surprise! The acting of Massoud and Scott really grabbed me early! Massoud looks and preforms as if Aladdin leaped to life from the drawn pictures! Scott, despite some internet displeasure, is a wonderful Jasmine! Their chemistry was felt and the two actors sold the attraction. Jafar was far less effeminate than on the animation page and felt like a truly dangerous man due to his past and ambition. As a matter of fact, I may be wrong, but in a few sections of dialogue I learned more of Jafar’s background than I remember being in the classic. Could be wrong though, been a long time since I’ve rewatched it.
Let’s get to the Elephant in the room, Will Smith! Is he Robin Williams? NO! Of course not, but he makes the Genie role his own. This isn’t the same Genie as Robin Williams’ was. Its a different Genie with a different personality and thanks to the charisma and performance of Mr. Smith it works! Smith’s winning personality shines through in subtle lyric adjustments to the songs we all know and love! And this Genie has a plot thread that pays off in a very nice and cool way. The musical numbers as serviceable to very good. Friend Like Me, is decent but doesn’t come close to the original. One Step Ahead and Prince Ali are very good, especially the parade and dancing in Ali. Whole New World is outstanding! Speechless, a new song created for Princess Jasmine is phenomenal! Scott kills it and it is a worthy addition among these beloved songs! I found myself enjoying this even though I was constantly comparing it to the original. If I had to nit pick, I’d say it seemed a bit long in the middle and Abu and Carpet seemed to lose some of the sweetness we all fell in love with in the original, but like Beauty and the Beast before it, this film proves its far easier to add personality to animals and inanimate objects on paper than with special effects. Still with a modern twist to the final scene and outcome and some surprises most didn’t see coming, Aladdin was a pleasant surprise thanks to a fantastic cast and some great tweaks to the end story! Smith and Kenzari seem to be taking lumps on the internet for their portrayals, but I found them both excellent! I left loving it
Mrs. Moviie Couple: She loved it! Understand in advance, Mrs. Moviie Couple is a huge Disney Devotee. She was also so glad to be seeing something not comic book related! No one tell her Aladdin and the Magic Lamp was an early type of comic book (tale told to entertain) she was so happy to go! She enjoyed all the characters and their performances! She loved all the new musical productions and absolutely adored Jasmine’s new song Speechless! She wasn’t expecting a new song and was truly taken by it! Robin Williams will always be Robin Williams, but she really enjoyed Will Smith’s version of the Genie. She liked that he had a character arc in this version beyond that of granter of wishes. She also made me promise to mention that she feels that much like a fine wine, Mr. Smith gets better with age and loved the muscular physique of his Genie (have to ask her more about that later, but a promise is a promise). She approved of the younger Jafar and found him to be a good villain, but missed a certain transformation from the original animated film. In her own words: “I would go see that again in a heartbeat!” Tough to get better than that in a recommendation!
On the way home, we continued to talk about the new song and the actors that played the parts of characters we grew to love. The entire car ride home was filled with praise, so I’d say it was a unanimous positive this week! The drive home always clarifies how we felt about a movie. Silence is not golden, silence is bad. We were never silent about Aladdin. I give it 5 Bills, easy. The Mrs. gives it 6 Bills!, a first for her! So we give Aladdin 5 solid Bills! I say take my money! It was One Step Ahead of the competition! She says Wow! The film took her to whole new world! Take her money! She wants to go again! So we’ll go with an average of Really Good to Wow! Money well spent/Take our money again!.
So until the next date night, which looks like a coin flip between The King of the Monsters or a King of Piano Rock! Check our clue on our website to see which is next! We will see you next time! Moviie Coupe out!