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  1. Published on: 11/08/2019 05:33 PMReported by: Film Critic
    Plot: A street-rat uses the power of having possession of a magical lamp to win the heart of a princess.

    Another Disney re-make, and quite possibly the one I have been most fearing.


    My fear was probably due to the fact that this was the one for me that if it went wrong, it could go horribly wrong in many aspects.


    But despite going in with the lowest of expectations, I as usual remained open-minded and hoping this could be up there with the great Disney live-action re-makes like The Jungle Book, Cinderella and Christopher Robin.


    The first act pretty much went as expected. They were hitting the same bits as the animated original, but the execution felt very hollow and I was feeling nothing towards it. Then amazingly, it was the arrival of Will Smith as The Genie that totally changed the beat, and I was really getting into the story. From that moment and through a couple of songs, that whole sequence was brilliant. After that, I felt I was in for the ride, the remainder of the film was good solid fun and I could enough of the magic that I remember experience from the 1992 original.


    Unbelievably from an acting perspective, Will Smith managed to be the best part of the film. He managed to have that perfect mix of keeping the Genie character that we know and love whilst still bringing his own style to it. Me and pretty much everyone else thought that he was doomed from the start. But I love being proved wrong, and Smith certainly did that.
    Mena Massoud as the titular character I thought was fine but not memorable if I was being cruel. Like for the most of the film, it wasn't until after the first act when I started get invested and Massoud was exactly the same.
    Naomi Scott continues to showcase her talent well. After showing great promise in Power Rangers, Scott did a good job as Princess Jasmine. With her character being given plenty of additional content to work with in the re-make, her portrayal made her character more of a role model that was executed rather well. It was great seeing Navid Negahban be cast as the Sultan. After first seeing him in 12 Strong in a pretty memorable performance, I was excited to see more of him. So I was pleased to see him get more roles in wide release films.
    I also have to mention that while the character of Iago did not have a true speaking role, the way he was used was most noticeable.
    Sadly I could not get into Marwan Kenzari's portrayal of Jafar or regretably Billy Magnussen's character. Kenzari never felt threatening or imposing as you would expect for one of Disney's most fearful antagonists. He just felt whiny, wet and weak. As for Magnussen, while I loved his character in Game Night last year, the character that he either felt annoying or massively out-of-place with the tone.
    Also, I was really disappointed with the characters of Abu and Carpet. They missed that personality that made us fall in love with them in the original, and were also massively under-used in this version. It was a shame to see that.


    I really liked the imagery, most of the production design, the striking costumes and of course the songs. The portrayal of most of the songs were well done and re-creating enough magic that reminded why you still love these songs. The added dance sequences enhanced the songs as well as the costumes really well. Also, unlike Beauty And The Beast, the new songs seemed to fit in well and never felt like they were stopping the film to showcase their entry in Best Original Song category for the next Oscars.


    As for the negative from the technical side, along with the entire sub-standard first act, some of the designs of the locations lacked that glamour that the original had.


    So despite the numerous problems I had with it, I thought this was a solid fun time that re-captured some of the magic that was there before.
    With these Disney live-action re-makes, I always end with the question of, 'Did this need to be re-made?' My answer, kind of. I could see the themes they were introducing to this story to make it different and more topical for today's audience and some additions made for certain character felt worthy enough.
    It was good to look at, the performances on the whole were solid, Will Smith proved me wrong and the feel-good adventure vibe does eventually arrive and make it a solid enough pay-off to have you falling in love with the story and songs all over again.


    Rating: 7/10
     

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