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THE REEL: Alladin

Friday June 21 2019

Actor Will Smith stars in 'Alladin'. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP

Actor Will Smith stars in 'Alladin'. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SONIA GAKURU
By SONIA GAKURU
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So much nostalgia packed in a movie is how I would describe my interaction with the enchanting live action animated film remake of the original 1992 Disney classic Alladin, directed by Guy Ritchie.

It certainly lived up to its billing. Starring Will Smith (Genie/Mariner), Mena Massoud (Aladdin) and Naomi Scott (Jasmine), it’s 2h 8min and is classified as an adventure, comedy movie that the whole family can comfortably enjoy together.

Straightaway when the trailer was shared, people bashed Will Smith as the genie, they opined that his portrayal was not authentic and the blue colour made him look ridiculous and many predicted that the movie would be a flop.

But surprise, surprise, the genie did his magic and the movie opened to strong box office success and brought in the big bucks, grossing well over $100M and it is still going strong.

The story is well known; a street urchin Aladdin an orphan boy and his monkey Abu, fends for his keep in the streets of Agrabah, a seaside town by pick pocketing.

MAGIC LAMP

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He falls victim to the diabolical plans of the Grand Vizier Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) who has been searching for a boy who according to prophesy, is a diamond in the rough and is the only one able to enter the cave of wonders and retrieve the magic lamp.

Alladin outwits Jafar and gets to keep the lamp, and he soon finds out that he can get three wishes from the genie.

However, the genie cautions him that he isn’t able to wish people to fall in love.

Earlier on, in his daily escapades from angry traders in the town, Alladin met with Princess Jasmine and fell for her, but he knows that she can only marry a Prince and therefore, he asks the genie to make him one.

Jafar isn’t easily fooled and recognises the boy and goes after the prized possession using his black magic powers but, truth prevails and in the end, Alladin uses his final wish to set the genie free from his chains and Jafar ends up making his home trapped in the lamp much to his chagrin.

The movie was partly shot in studio in England and in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan and the cinematography is breathtaking.

The sand dunes are beautiful and the town picturesque. There is a lot of colour in the costumes worn by the actors and the singing and dancing is quite entertaining.

Of course, where would a movie starring Will Smith be without some rapping ala Fresh Prince of Bel Air?

There are also many comedic moments in the movie.

It was also refreshing to see the introduction of additional fresh storylines in the movie.

The character of the handmaiden Dalia (Nasim Pedrad) was made more robust and Princess Jasmine fights for her beloved kingdom and her right to be seen as much more than a trophy princess.

The score for the movie was written by Alan Menken who also composed for the original movie and he wrote two new songs for this one.

‘A Whole New World’ is easily the most recognisable song, a duet originally sang by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle and in the new movie, it is sung by Massoud and Scott.

I didn’t enjoy the singing to be honest, I found it too stilted and it didn’t flow as well as the original version.

MEMORABLE SONGS

Other memorable songs are ‘Friend Like Me’, Arabian Nights and ‘Street Urchins’.

The movie has many teachable moments and the greatest being that greed never pays and that a person should always believe in themselves and not be ashamed to be their true self.

It was also great to see cosmopolitan cast members which gives the movie more authenticity and adds more vibrancy to it.

The star power of Will Smith is not to be underestimated, everything he touches, turns to gold.

His versatility has him playing any kind of character authentically and he is able to switch from one genre to another.

He has a goofy playful character which found the perfect home in the depiction of the genie.

Treat your children, or if you don’t have any of your own, treat someone else’s children. They will love it.

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