Live-action “Aladdin” satisfies

Adam Logsdon

Following the same basic structure of the animated original, Aladdin delves deeper into the original animated classic and gives new light to the characters originally constructed.

“You look like a prince on the outside. But I didn’t change anything on the inside.”

With these words said by the Genie (Will Smith), a larger sentiment is said about the movie.

“Aladdin” is a live-action remake of the massively successful and even more iconic 1992 animated film of the same name.

Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is a “street rat” boy who steals to survive. But, much like the original, he is shown to have a heart of gold. Giving food that he acquired by through theft to children hungrier than himself shows Aladdin’s true colors to viewers.

Massoud gives a strong portrayal as Aladdin. He shows the yearning that the character goes through to prove that he is better than the “street rat” moniker that he has been given in his life.

The film makes a big change early on in the movie. Director Guy Ritchie brings Jasmine into the plot earlier than the original. Much like the animated film, Jasmine (Naomi Scott) and Aladdin have a meet cute, where she then gets caught giving a vendor’s bread to starving children.

Jasmine is shown to be just as strong-willed in this version as the original. However, the film makes a significant change to her character. Instead of her rebellion against her father’s wish for her to marry a prince, her rebellion is against the fact that she is not allowed to be the new Sultan of Agrabah.

Scott plays the role perfectly as a woman who cares for her people but is refused the opportunity to actually help them. Her new song “Speechless” helps articulate the struggle that the character faces throughout the film.

Eventually, Aladdin must help the nefarious Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) to obtain the lamp.

Jafar is an interesting character in this movie. Unlike the original, where he only wanted to marry Jasmine and rule, Jafar’s motivation is different in the new movie.

While he still wants power, it is for different reasons. His backstory is very similar to Aladdin, being a petty thief until he was able to rise in power to become the Sultan’s advisor. Jafar wants to prove that he is second to no one and believes that by obtaining the lamp he will rule immediately.

In assisting Jafar, Aladdin goes into the Cave of Wonders and meets the all-powerful Genie (Will Smith).

Upon the announcement that Smith was cast as the Genie, many longtime Disney fans were concerned he couldn’t measure up to Robin Williams’ portrayal of the Genie in the animated version.

However, much like Scott, Smith does pretty well with the role. He doesn’t try to do what Williams did, instead taking the character into his own hands. Smith is funny but could have done more.

The Genie is given a subplot with Dalia (Nasim Pedrad), the handmaiden of Jasmine. Pedrad and Smith play the romance and humor of each scene they are in wonderfully.

While this film follows the same basic plot as the original, the ending is much more action packed, with everyone having a role to play. It was good to see Jasmine have a more active role in this version instead of the damsel in distress she played in the original.

While the buildup to the remake had many skeptical, “Aladdin” is sure to give audiences a satisfying enough experience.