Masterfully directed by Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, who co-wrote the film with John August (Big Fish and Corpse Bride), 2019's Aladdin is a true diamond in the rough of family films which have been released lately.
Starring the ever talented Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Men in Black) as the Genie, who is a slave to every master who comes into possession of his tiny prison lamp, forever doomed to grant them each 3 wishes.
While many fans of the original animated classic have scoffed at the idea of anyone but the late, great Robin Williams portraying the character, I am very happy to inform you that Smith has done an incredible job in taking on the role and in a lovingly touching way. He has even paid tribute to the original Genie through the subtle way in which he pronounces some of the words in the songs in a similar way as Williams, whose animated Genie character's look makes a cameo appearance. It is also so lovely to hear Smith sing; he has such a brilliant voice and it is utilised perfectly throughout this feature.
Jafar and his beautiful sidekick Iago
The film also stars Mena Massoud (Open Heart and Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan) as the one and only Aladdin himself, known to most as a common street rat. But unbeknownst to many, he has a heart of gold and soon meets the beautiful princess in disguise; Jasmine, played by Naomi Scott (2017's Power Rangers and Terra Nova), when he rescues her from the trouble she accidentally finds herself in. The two are instantly infatuated with each other.
Unfortunately for the two young lovers, there are many obstacles in their way. Aladdin and his adorable, cleptomaniac capuchin monkey sidekick named Abu are whisked away in the night by the evil sorcerer Jafar, played by Marwan Kenzari (2017's Murder on the Orient Express and 2016's Ben-Hur) and his cheeky sidekick, a scarlet macaw parrot named Iago, voiced by Alan Tudyk (Firefly and Rick and Morty) who try to use Aladdin to get hold of the magic lamp, deep within the Cave of Wonders, but when everything goes very wrong, he and Abu meet their new friends Genie and a magic carpet, simply named carpet and that's where the fun really begins!
2019's Aladdin is a spectacular film, with a very large and spectacular cast and crew, everything from the dancers, to the costumes, to the story and soundtrack we all know and love. It is enough to bring wonder and magic into the eyes of all who watch it, plus there is a brand new and beautiful song by Princess Jasmine called Speechless, which is a new anthem for women and girls the world over.
Just some of the massive cast of this incredible film!
There are so many unforgettable characters in the story, with too many to mention here, however, the standouts for me were definitely Jasmine's father the Sultan, played by Navid Negahban (Charlie Wilson's War and 12 Strong) whose character is a very different, yet refreshing take, compared to the original 1992 feature; Jasmine's best friend Rajah, is a beautifully created CGI tiger; the royal guard Hakim, played by Numan Acar (Prison Break and Homeland) who has to make some very difficult choices and learns the importance of standing up for what is right; and Jasmine's handmaiden Dalia, played by Nasim Pedrad (Despicable Me 2 and Big Mouth), who is surprisingly an absolutely favourite for many viewers - she is smart, funny and steals the show in all of her scenes. I honestly hope that she will get her own spin-off sequel someday!