A kind-hearted street urchin and a power-hungry Grand Vizier vie for a magic lamp that has the power to make their deepest wishes come true. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “Aladdin is bolstered by its great direction and acting talent, but ultimately it doesn’t quite break the Disney fatigue in remakes. Still, its grandiose production overcomes its lack of originality. Fans of Disney movies, especially the cartoon classic Aladdin, must check this out.” Benjamin P. adds, “Aladdin keeps the best parts of the original, while adding a few really awesome new things. None of these tweaks to the story feel like filler, but necessary changes that bring this story to life for a new audience. I really like that characters Genie and Jasmine get more to do. Jasmine, in particular, takes on a much more active role in this version.” Katherine S. wraps it up with, “This action filled movie is incredible. The acting is remarkable and the music is excellent. It will truly touch your heart.” See their full reviews below.
By Arjun Nair, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Aladdin is bolstered by its great direction and acting talent, but ultimately it doesn’t quite break the Disney fatigue in remakes. Still, its grandiose production overcomes its lack of originality. Fans of Disney movies, especially the cartoon classic Aladdin, must check this out
The film centers upon the beloved classic story, taking a few liberties. The adventure roams as “street rat” Aladdin (Mena Massoud) frees a genie (Will Smith) from a lamp, granting all his wishes and transforming himself into a charming prince so that he can please beautiful Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). But, every hero has his villain as evil sorcerer Jaffar (Marwan Kenzari) is determined to secure the lamp for his own sinister purposes. He threatens to do this at any cost necessary, and only Aladdin can outsmart him.
First off, Mena Massoud, as Aladdin, is fantastic with his charisma and kind heart, while also proving his physical prowess in the adventurous parkour scenes. His chemistry with Jasmine is well realized and moves forward their iconic romance. However, his singing does not fare well, with most of it appearing like a mediocre lip dub. This appears to be more of an error on the production side, than that of Massoud’s. Will Smith, as Genie, is my favorite character because it’s really just a medley of charm and swagger. I was worried that he would just try to imitate Robin William’s signature fast talk. Thankfully, he really does his own thing, and it works. Naomi Scott, as Jasmine, is stellar with her overall strength, and a few liberties are taken to establish her as more independent than her predecessors. Her aspirations to become a ruler among Abragah are well-fleshed, and her singing fares the best, despite some choppy editing. Unfortunately, Marwan Kenzari, as Jaffar, gives his best, but fails to leave an impression. His character is terribly one-note with his nefarious intentions. The script fails to develop his motive, but then again, he was never the classic cartoon’s strength. He always was a moustache-twirling villain.
Guy Ritchie elegantly writes and directs with many dazzling musical numbers and soaring perilous adventures. His movies always contain a unique style, but at times, style outweighs substance. Here, it’s mostly not the case as the brilliant acting talent carries emotional and humorous scenes relating the story. The pace moves fast from one Saharan setting to the next. The production value and costume design are always wondrous. My favorite scene is the “Friend Like Me” number which doubles down on the craziness of the original. It’s a familiar, but faithful take that highlights Will Smith’s ability to helm the iconic musical number. New numbers such as “Speechless” are welcome additions that highlight the changes in Jasmine’s overall character in this version. They also showcase Naomi Scott’s range as a singer, and that musical number also stands among my favorites.
The message of this film is that love conquers all. It is not just in Aladdin and Jasmine’s love for each other, but also in the brotherly fulfillment of promise on the Genie’s side. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18 due to some action and peril. The movie released in theaters on May 24, 2019, so check it out.
By Benjamin Price, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Aladdin is an enchanting retelling of the classic Disney animated film.
Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is a streetwise thief living in Agrabah, stealing to survive with his monkey Abu. He has a chance encounter with the Princess of Agrabah, Jasmine (Naomi Scott), disguised as a handmaid and romance blossoms. While sneaking into the palace one day, he is seized by the nefarious Jafar (Narwan Kenzari), an advisor to the Sultan, who sends him to retrieve a powerful lamp in the magical Cave of Wonders. Once he gets the lamp, he is granted three wishes by mystical Genie (Will Smith). Aladdin wishes to look like a prince in order to get closer to the Princess, but has to prove to her and to himself that he is worthy without truly being a prince.
Aladdin keeps the best parts of the original, while adding a few really awesome new things. None of these tweaks to the story feel like filler, but necessary changes that bring this story to life for a new audience. I really like that characters Genie and Jasmine get more to do. Jasmine, in particular, takes on a much more active role in this version.
I love the performances in this film. Will Smith is measuring up against the pretty iconic voice performance of Robin Williams as Genie in the previous film. He makes the role his own and really gives a unique, colorful flair to it. Smith’s performance is charismatic, energetic and, above all – fun. Naomi Scott is very powerful as Princess Jasmine. She does a lot of this film’s emotionally heavy lifting and has amazing vocals. Mena Massoud is likable and relatable as Aladdin and has a strong, comedic rapport with the Genie.
Jafar is a weak antagonist in this film. I think the character’s motivations are well-executed, but Marwan Kenzari’s overdone performance lacks the qualities that make the character compelling.
This is one of those films made to be seen on the big screen. From the sprawling landscape of Agrabah, to the magical, magnificent Cave of Wonders, the visuals in the land are excellent. Director Guy Ritchie mixes in some of his familiar trademarks with a lot of really colorful set pieces. Every musical number feels huge and well-made. From costumes to sets to cinematography, on a visual level, Aladdin is astonishing.
I recommend Aladdin for ages 8 to 16, for some implied violence and scenes of peril and give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Aladdin is a feel-good summer movie and a magical ride well worth taking. I highly recommend you check it out when it swoops into theaters May 24, 2019.
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
This action filled movie is incredible. The acting is remarkable and the music is excellent. It will truly touch your heart.
The story is about a poor boy named Aladdin (Mena Massoud) who lives in Agrabah and falls in love with the Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). At the beginning of the movie Aladdin faces challenges when he is kidnapped by an evil sorcerer named Jafar (Marwan Kenzari). The sorcerer sends him into a dangerous, but treasure filled cave to retrieve a magical golden lamp. After getting trapped in the cave, Aladdin accidentally rubs the lamp and, voila – the Genie (Will Smith) appears. Soon after, Aladdin sets out to impress Princess Jasmine and their adventure begins.
Disney has make so many spectacular movies from Snow White to Moana, and now this live action movie Aladdin, which is by far one of the best. Of course this is no surprise, because it has many wonderful actors like Will Smith, Mina Massoud and Naomi Scott. The costumes are dazzling. Not one detail is missed. I absolutely love all the costumes. My favorite scene is when the Genie describes how he lives inside of the itty-bitty golden lamp for 1,000 years. It’s very cramped. My favorite characters are Dalia and the Genie. Dalia is innocent, giddy and funny. The Genie is magical, entertaining and charismatic.
The message of Aladdin is to be yourself and don’t do anything to change that. It has some negative behavior and some risky things that kids might imitate, but that’s unlikely.
I give this movie a 5 out of 5 stars I recommend this for ages 6 to 15. Adults might like watching this with their kids. This movie is in theaters on May 22, 2019.
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