By Sophie Abel
Everyone knows the infamous tale of the young ‘diamond in the rough’ Aladdin. No more than a worthless street rat, he gets kidnapped by a dark figure who promises him the heart of the princess and riches beyond his wildest dreams. All he has to do is seek out a magic lamp in the cave of wonders.
In this live-action remake, Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is out thieving for food when he comes across a beautiful young woman. After a misunderstanding between her and a stall-keeper at the market place, the two escape and share their hopes and dreams with one another. This meeting is cut short when Apu, the monkey, steals the young woman’s bracelet. Aladdin, who believes the young lady is the handmaiden of the princess he dreams of meeting, goes to the Palace to return her golden bracelet. Being caught red-handed by the guards, the Royal Vizier Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) reveals to him that the young lady he met on the streets was, in fact, Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). The only way to win her heart is to journey to the cave of wonders and fetch him a lamp. Upon entering the cave Aladdin tries to resist the temptation of the treasure and finds a magical flying carpet and the lamp Jafar seeks. Despite his many urgings, Abu has other ideas. He seizes a ruby triggering the cave to collapse. Rubbing the lamp Aladdin awakens the genie (Will Smith) who helps him to escape the cave and grants him three wishes as they attempt to win the heart of the princess.
The film was a good remake and kept to the original story while building upon areas that were underdeveloped in the original. This includes Princess Jasmine. The film showcases her as a strong and independent woman as she quests to become the Sultan despite being a woman. The lavish setting and bejewelled costumes showed a more impressive Agrabah and contributed towards making a more distinct world full of colour. Personally, I was having concerns regarding the casting of the genie and whether Will Smith would be able to carry the role without imitating Robin Williams. The film showed Will Smith’s interpretation of the genie to be definitively his own while adding a fresh comedic spin to the role.