By Judy Shields
Photo by The Hollywood Times
Hollywood, California (The Hollywood Times) – 5/23/2019 – Guy Ritchie and John August, both co-screenwriters really bring the animated 1992 Aladdin film to a new generation, yes CGI, but well written. The streets of Agrabah with Aladdin, the street rat and his monkey Abu, shows where Guy Ritchie brought some of the varied speed and camera acrobatic, like stop-action of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, which was really awesome to watch.
The film shown tonight at the El Capitan Theatre was in 3D. It was a VIP Fan event. I don’t normally like 3D movies, but I have to say, I feel like that is the best way to watch this colorful film. Us fans received a metal Aladdin bucket and a neat gold magic lamp keychain and small movie poster.
Some fans were able to go step on the historic stage for magical photo op on the Magic Carpet inside the Cave of Wonders!
Fans were also able to participate in another photo op where they can make a wish and try rubbing the Magic Lamp to see if wishes really do come true! There are costumes on display downstairs as well as props and photos from the making of the film.
The Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s tune “Prince Ali” was a colorful highlight of bright colors and garish embellishments with a parade of exotic dancers, elephants and other creatures, delightful.
I have say, I was somewhat disappointed with Will Smith’s performance of “Never Had a Friend Like Me” it was Fresh Prince of Bel Air, not Robin Williams. But who could feel Robin Williams shoes. So if you can just watch it and not think of Robin William’s version of the Genie, you will enjoy that part more.
On a fantastic note, the showstopping “Prince Ali” dance number is worth the price of admission! There were 250 dances, 200 extras and Massoud’s Aladdin making his entrance atop a 30-foot yellow floral camel made up of 37,000 flower heads.
The character of Jafar did not live up to the 1992 version at all. CGI Abu the monkey, Rajah the tiger and the Magic Carpet nailed it.
A new song sung by Jasmine (Naomi Scott) called “Speechless” written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, taking a term that once meant women should be silent, and still does in many places around the world, and insisting that she will not go unheard is powerful indeed.
When Jasmine climbs aboard the Magic Carpet with Aladdin and serenade each other with the timeless duet “A Whole New World,” you will be swept away in nostalgic goose bumps and happy tears that bring you back to 1992.
So grab the kids, grandma and grandpa and go see this colorful and entertaining film this Memorial Weekend.
The Cast (Wikipedia)
- Will Smith as Genie:
A comedically eccentric and kindly genie who has the nigh omnipotent power to grant three wishes to whoever possesses his magic lamp. Smith said that he was “terrified” while playing the character, but that “[he] found a lane that pays homage” to Robin Williams‘ performance in the original film, while still making the role “[his] own thing”. Smith described the character as “both a trickster and a mentor” who tries “to guide Aladdin to the truth of the greatness that’s already within him”. Smith physically portrays the character when he is in the guise of a human, while his blue genie form is CGI, portrayed through motion-capture performanance
- Mena Massoud as Aladdin:
An impoverished Agrabah thief and “street rat” who is smitten with the Sultan’s daughter. Massoud said that Aladdin “sees a future for himself that’s greater than what’s been set out for him at the present moment. He doesn’t know exactly what it is or how he’s going to get there, but he knows it is out there”, and felt the character “[i]s very selfless and usually does things for other people, but as he falls in love he loses himself a little bit and starts to become someone that he’s not. But he’s a good person with good intentions and has good people surrounding him who lead him back to where he’s supposed to be”.
- Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine:
The Sultan’s daughter and the feisty princess of Agrabah who wants to have a say in how she lives her life. Scott said that the character “will be strong and have fun, but also get it wrong and be emotional. She’s a multidimensional woman, and she does not have to just be one thing. So in this movie, you see her go on such a roller coaster, as opposed to her one goal being to fall in love or get married”. She further stated that Jasmine will try to find “the courage to speak out for her people”, and said that “Jasmine wants to know what goes on in her kingdom and reconcile the distance that has been created, and Aladdin gives her the courage to do just that”.
- Marwan Kenzari as Jafar:
A nefarious and deceptive sorcerer, the Grand Vizier of Agrabah and the Sultan’s chief advisor who, frustrated with the Sultan’s ways of ruling, devises a plot to overthrow the Sultan as the ruler of Agrabah by acquiring the Genie’s lamp. Jafar’s backstory will be explored in the film, which producer Jonathan Eirich felt will make the audience “understand why he’s so bad, and [he thinks] that’s what makes him such a good villain”.
- Navid Negahban as The Sultan:
The wise and noble ruler of Agrabah who is eager to find a capable husband for his daughter Jasmine.
- Nasim Pedrad as Dalia:
Jasmine’s loyal handmaiden and confidante. A new character that did not appear in the original film. Pedrad said that Dalia “[has] been by Jasmine’s side for years and really looks out for her”. Smith said that the character was “a nice, delicate addition to the story that more humanized the Genie”.
- Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders:
A suitor and potential husband for Jasmine from the kingdom of Skånland who is a new character that did not appear in the original film.
- Numan Acar as Hakim:
Jafar’s right-hand man and head of the palace guards.
- Robby Haynes as Razoul:
The royal captain of the Guard of Agrabah.
- Jordan A. Nash as Omar
- Taliyah Blair as Lian
- Aubrey Lin as Omi
- Amir Boutrous as Jamal
- Alan Tudyk as Iago:
Jafar’s sardonic scarlet macaw companion. The film marks the first time the character is voiced by somebody besides Gilbert Gottfried.
- Frank Welker reprises his voice roles from the original film as:
- Abu: Aladdin’s kleptomaniac but loyal pet capuchin monkey with a falsetto voice.
- Rajah: Jasmine’s protective pet Bengal tiger and best friend, who communicates through growling, roaring and grunting.
- Cave of Wonders: A sand guardian that resembles a form of a giant head of a tiger who has been tasked to protect the magic lamp from intruders and give it to those who are worthy like a “diamond in the rough.”
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Writers: John August, Guy Ritchie
Produced and Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures