Published: Wed, May 22, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Will Smith goes from fear to joy as Aladdin's new genie

Will Smith goes from fear to joy as Aladdin's new genie

Will Smith has teamed up with DJ Khaled for "Friend Like Me", a cut off the soundtrack to Disney's live-action Aladdin remake.

"Aladdin" is the latest Disney remake of its animated family film classics.

Massoud and Scott, as Aladdin and Jasmine, are charming on their own, in spite of their characters still not being very interesting. So when he's given the opportunity to enter the Cave of Wonders by Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), he takes it, hoping to find a magical lamp and be rewarded with riches. Jasmine's written somewhat differently in this film - she has mercifully bigger goals than simply marrying for love. Director Guy Ritchie and his team seem to have no idea how to stage and shoot a musical number; instead of establishing a rhythm and letting us focus on the spectacle, they crowd the screen with so much stuff that it all blurs together, and then speed up the dancing to a freaky unnatural pace. The soundtrack to the Aladdin is now out on all streaming services and it of course features Will Smith's version of the iconic song. Aladdin is the bumbling guy who's not confident around the lovely woman, and it takes his beleaguered, smooth-talking wingman to help him out. They could have handled the end sequence with more gusto and passion. Yes, the blue CGI version of the character is an eye-sore. Having to follow-up Robin Williams' animated performance is a tough act, made tougher considering the animated format was a vital component alongside Williams' impressions. But Aladdin seems unwilling to let go of Robin Williams' Genie, and so Smith is stuck singing songs written for someone else's talents and delivering jokes in someone else's cadence, in the body of a character designed for a totally different medium.

The rest of the cast rounds out nicely.

The Aladdin movie premiere is proudly powered by Sky Cinemas, Sky Mall (Farm Bus stop, KM 46 Lekki-Epe Expressway), and sponsored by Coca-Cola, Dominos, Pinkberry, Coldstone, Vida and Amstel Malta. How hip does it need to be and how safe does everyone need to play it?

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The question with this new live-action "Aladdin" is whether action director Guy Ritchie ("Sherlock Holmes", "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword") can excise those outdated elements and replace them with something interesting. "It's inevitable, you have got to take that really seriously".

However, in her signature song Speechless, which wasn't in the original movie, Scott also manages to embody the new breed of Disney female heroes (See: Frozen). The best one-liners are Smith's and his energy is Fresh Prince-ian.

The flipside to that - you have an bad lot to live up to and assembling a live-action cast that can do the roles justice becomes absolutely crucial, and here, it's pretty spot on.

Guy Ritchie directs the live-action remake and the special effects are astounding. Meanwhile, a few understated tweaks suitably updates the original film's gender dynamics while terrifically staged music numbers and a great sense of romance and adventure pay homage to one of animation history's greatest achievements.

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