Sunday, September 15, 2019

Blu-ray Review: Aladdin (2019)

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

Does anyone remember the live-action Aladdin in theatres back in May?

I don't recall seeing one single advertisement for the film but, then again, I hardly pay attention to television spots anymore; though I do recall seeing a very bad trailer for Aladdin on YouTube. Anyway, I guess other people knew about the film being in theatres as it made over $1 billion at the box office, despite the fact it received mixed to negative reviews from critics.

Aladdin (PG; 128 minutes) was released a few days ago on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Multi-Screen Edition, and DVD from Disney Home Entertainment. It's also available on Digital.

Directed by Guy Richie, the film stars Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, and Billy Magnussen.

Based on the 1992 animated classic of the same name, which was inspired by the folklore Aladdin and the Magic Lamp, the film centers around a street urchin named Aladdin (played by Mena Massoud). After rescuing Princess Jasmine (played by Naomi Scott), who he believes is a handmaiden, Aladdin runs into the Grand vizier of Agrabah, Jafar (played by Marwan Kenzari), who forces him to steal a magic lamp from the Cave of Wonders. The lamp is supposed to contain a jinn who will grant whoever rubs the lamp three wishes. Jafar betrays Aladdin but thanks to a sneaky pet monkey, Abu, Aladdin is able to prevent him from getting his hands on the lamp.

Aladdin rubs the magic lamp and Genie (played by Will Smith) appears, granting him three wishes. He wishes to become a prince so he can impress Jasmine. Genie has a bit of fun attempting to make Aladdin look like a prince and in the process the two become friends.

Unknowingly to Aladdin, Jafar is just around the corner with an evil plan of taking the magic lamp so he can become the new ruler of Agrabah.

Special Features include:
  • ALADDIN’S VIDEO JOURNAL: A NEW FANTASTIC POINT OF VIEW – Watch behind-the-scenes moments captured by Mena Massoud (Aladdin) in this fun, fast-paced look at his personal journey.
  • DELETED SONG: “DESERT MOON” – Experience a moving duet performed by Jasmine and Aladdin, fully shot and edited, with an introduction by Alan Menken. 
  • GUY RITCHIE: A CINEMATIC GENIE – Discover why director Guy Ritchie was the perfect filmmaker to tackle this exhilarating reimagining of a beloved classic.
  • A FRIEND LIKE GENIE – Discover how Will Smith brings talent, experience and his own personal magic to the iconic role of Genie.
    • Falling Petals Into OJ
    • Jafar’s Magic Orrery
    • Anders’ Gift o Wrong Wishes
    • Silly Old Fool
    • Post Yam Jam Debrief
  • BLOOPERS – Laugh along with the cast and crew in this lighthearted collection of outtakes from the set.
    • "Speechless" – Music video performed by Naomi Scott
    • “A Whole New World” – Music video performed by ZAYN and Zhavia Ward
    • “ A Whole New World” (“Un Mundo Ideal”) – Music video performed by ZAYN and Becky G. 

Final Thoughts

I've never been a fan of Guy Richie's movies but he doesn't a decent job in the directors chair for Aladdin. However, some of the sets looked like a knockoff of 1999's The Mummy, and, despite having a $183 million budget, at times the film looks cheaply made.

The casting is a mixed bag for me.

The Good: Will Smith gives a fun performances as Genie. Naomi Scott fits the part of Princess Jasmine perfectly, especially with her beautiful voice.

The Bad: Mena Massoud's portrayal of Aladdin comes off as a bit wooden and he has no chemistry with Naomi Scott. Marwan Kenzari was completely miscast as Jafar. For starters, he's too short and his voice is too soft. Jafar should look menacing with a deep voice that should make the audience feel fear when he talks. Instead, we get a weak and laughable villain.

The picture and sound qualities are topnotch on the Blu-ray. The are a few special features but it would have been nice to have a commentary from the director and cast.

Overall, the big-budget remake of Aladdin isn't quite as bad as I had imagined it be; though it's no better or worse than the 1992 animated flick. 

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