Aladdin is probably my favorite of all the Disney Classics. So, I like many others was very excited when it was announced Disney was making a live-action version of the classic Aladdin story. Of course, like everyone else I was also asking, who the heck is going to be the Genie?
How to Stream or Download Aladdin (2019)
You will be able to stream or to download this 2019 movie from iTunes once it becomes available. And if you like movies with Will Smith, check out also our review of Suicide Squad.
The Movie Review
Aladdin is directed by Guy Ritchie and at first, I thought that was an odd fit. It worked out very well though as Aladdin is a very well-written, acted and fun movie. The start of the movie is not what you expect as you actually see the Genie as a human and it is him telling the tale to his children.
Much of the story is the same as the animated classic. You have Aladdin who wants to win the heart of Princess Jasmine. You have Princess Jasmine who wants to be a fair and just ruler. You have Jafar who wants the kingdom for himself and of course the lamp and you also have the Genie who, well is the Genie!
This version of Agrabah looks great. The first song with Aladdin running through the streets is great. It manages to be like the animated movie, but they put a few twists here and there to keep it fresh and fun. That is really the best way to describe the whole movie. It is like Guy Ritchie and his team took the animated movie and just slapped it up onto the big screen.
I do not mean that as an insult at all as there are a few changes. The Genie, for example, has a bit more humanity to him and actually has a love interest. Jafar seems a bit less manic and I think all the better for it. I really do not think there is a bad performance in this movie.
Mena Massoud is great as Aladdin. He is likable, and mischievous, but he has a heart of gold. Princess Jasmine is played by Naomi Scott and I think she has way more personality than she does in the animated version. She even gets her own song in this, she feels more independent and powerful and she really does a wonderful job.
Marwan Kenzari is great as Jafar as he just oozes power and eventually insanity! I do wish there was a bit more banter with Jafar and Iago like in the animated movie, but I am not 100 percent sure that would have worked in this jump to live action.
Now let’s talk about the big blue elephant in the room, Will Smith as the Genie. Following Robin Williams was always a big and impossible task. However, I think Will Smith is awesome as the Genie and he puts enough of his own personality on the role to make it stand out. The fact that he is not blue the whole movie makes sense and you get over it pretty quickly.
I was entertained by Aladdin from start to finish. They did not change a ton in the transition to live action, but they sprinkled enough new things to make it all work. Aladdin has action, drama, romance, and some great musical numbers too. As of right now, I would say that this is one of the most fun animated to live-action adaptions Disney has done.
Where Was Aladdin Shot?
It might come as a surprise to you but many of the scenes in Aladdin were filmed in virtual locations in England. Sets were built inside two English studios – Longcross Studios in Longcross (Surrey) and Arborfield Studios in Wokingham (Berkshire). However, the desert scenes were shot in Valley of the Moon in southern Jordan.
This is why Jordan was one of the locations of the four red-carpet events for this movie (the others were France, England, and Germany). It’s interesting to note that the regional premiere in Jordan was attended by the third son of King Hussein of Jordan – Prince Ali bin Hussein with his wife Princess Rym Ali.