A good generally tame family movie for the kids!
- Aladdin review by CS
Having watched this film twice now, just to make sure, I'm still not quite sure what to make of it! First time around I hated it, thought the songs were awful, that it was way over the top on both special effects and PC'ness, full of Feminist propaganda and that it really dragged on. Having watched it a second time, I warmed to it and now have a bit of a love hate relationship with the film!
Nothing new or original with the plot, script or storyline. Given that the original story, taken from the classic Arabian Nights, is actually very dark and that in Arabia if you stole food, you would have had your hand chopped off or be put to death, being Disney they make light of these little issues, unlike the original 40's to 60's films, which would have portrayed a time and place like this in all it's grim reality. It's quite obvious to see that the film is made to appeal to a wide variety of markets around the world, including the Middle East and China, so any real life historical references are conveniently left out. I remember all the old Chinese and Arabian adventures from my childhood being quite violent and bloody, being a more accurate reflection of cultural values at the time!
Some of the songs are quite upbeat, funky and energetic, but others are downright awful. Why all the male songs, chiefly sung by either Genie or Aladdin (Will Smith or Mena Massed) are uptempo catchy numbers, whilst the female songs, mainly sung by the Princes (Naomi Watts) are all awful warbling screechy power ballads ranting on about female empowerment and self belief, is beyond comprehension. I personally am not a fan of those awful power ballad operatic numbers, of which Frozen was full of them, droning on about feminist agendas, I prefer the classic sing-a-long poppy numbers that Disney used to do back in the 60's, in films like Mary Poppins and Bedknobs & Broomsticks! I could not help wonder if these female empowerment songs in this film, clearly slagging off male power, were directly aimed at the Muslim Community and current issue within those communities, which in itself is not a bad thing!
The costumes and scenery are great, but some of the CGI does get a little blurry and not so impressive or a bit OTT at times, such as when Prince Ali make his grand entrance to the City! But the Jewellery, which should be one of the main features in the film, all looks very cheap and tacky, like cheap costume jewellery, rather than the real thing. The acting is quite good and both leads give strong performances, as does the cheeky little monkey Jafar, but I feel that Mena Massad as Aladdin (Allah-Din), gives the strongest performance, simply because all Naomi does when she sings is warble incessantly! All in a very good family movie, some great highs and lows, not overfly funny, just a good live action film that I can see now being adapted for the stage!
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