Disney’s Aladdin (2019) – A Magic Carpet Thrill Ride

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writers: John August and Guy Ritchie

Producers: Ivan Atkinson, Kevin De La Noy, Jonathan Eirich, Max Keene, Dan Lin, Karl McMillan, Mark Mostyn, and Marc Platt

Starring: Mena Massoud, Will Smith, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban,  and Nasim Pedrad

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Despite some narrative bloat, one too many climaxes, and a slightly inconsistent character arc from our protagonist, “Aladdin” manages to make up for these issues with outrageous entertainment, amusement, charm, and enchantment.

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The original score (Alan Menken), musical numbers (both adapted and original), and dance choreography are splendidly enjoyable. The editing (James Herbert) is superb, as one would expect with Guy Ritchie’s signature style. The art direction and VFX, use of color and lighting, costume design (Michael Wilkinson), hair and makeup, and production design (Gemma Jackson) are gorgeously crafted. Finally, the cinematography (Alan Stewart) is intricately developed, with expertly handled long takes, sweeping, grandiose scene-setting shots, and dazzling uses of symmetrical angles.

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Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and Will Smith are all charismatic as Aladdin, Jasmine, and The Genie, respectively. Jasmine’s character arc in particular is immensely satisfying, as she overcomes the restrictive patriarchal society to display her true strength, dignity, independence, and tenacity as a female lead that will undoubtedly inspire and empower female audience members (young and old alike) all over the world.

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The supporting cast of Marwan Kenzari (Jafar), Navid Negahban (The Sultan), and Nasim Pedrad (Dalia, Jasmine’s maiden) all produce respectable complementary performances as well, with the latter providing wonderful comedic appeal and magnetism.

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Having very little familiarity with the source material, I went in with an open mind and heart, and left with a stupid smile on my face. “Aladdin” is certainly worth a watch for anybody on the market for a captivating movie-watching experience for the whole family.

Grade: B+

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