‘Aladdin’

Director: Guy Ritchie. Starring: Mena Massoud, Will Smith, Naomi Scott, Nasim Pedrad Numan Acar, Navid Negahban. Length: 128 minutes

Aladdin, formerly Aladdin, and Abu — his monkey — are a pair of rogues who survive thanks to their wit and nimble fingers in the Agrabah bazaar. One day, Aladdin is captivated by a beautiful girl who turns out to be Princess Jasmine, incognito. To see her again, he risks entering the palace at night, but is caught and locked up. The grand vizier, Jafar, promises him freedom and riches in exchange for a lamp that he must get from a magic cave. Whoever rubs the lamp will have a genie at their service.

From this it is clear that the new “Aladdin” is not a retelling of the original One Thousand and One Nights , but a new version of the animated film of 1992 . In the same way “Beauty and the Beast” two years ago did not go back to the French fable, but to the Disney version of 1991, and the same can be said about the last “The Jungle Book” or “Dumbo”. Disney is committed to the known, and it works. 

This “Aladdin” was a very pleasant surprise. No-one expected much of this film, given the high calibre of the original animation, and because disappointing trailers  presaged, at best, a straight adventure movie. Well, the director Guy Ritchie, who can produce both a hit and a flop, has given us a hit this time. The film is super-dynamic and has a touch of madness that feels great; the protagonist pair — Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud — have the charm of the original cartoons; and Will Smith is great.

The production is poetry. The city of Agrabah lives for real; the choreography, the colours, the music — the same Alan Menken of the first film arranges the themes for the new version and a new song, “Speechless”, Jasmine's song of self-actualisation — is revolutionary. 

That is because “Aladdin” is not limited to copying the old movie: there are some details of the script that have been softly modernized, and a couple of new, hilarious plots, which we will not reveal, but which work and give an excellent surprise at the end.

Fernando Gil-Delgado writes for Aceprensa. Republished with permission from Aceprensa.