Due to a birthday weekend with my daughter this one’s a couple days late. In all honesty there's not really much left to say though after my first thoughts video. Which if you haven't seen you can watch here. Anyway, I still think the best way to sum up this movie is, in a world without the original animated film, I’d be coming to you saying this was a really good movie. However, that said in that world it wouldn't have reached the prestige & greatness of its predecessor. Story wise this thing is pretty much a carbon copy of the classic. Just devoid of anything you wouldn't see out of actual animals. Think the hula scene with Timon. Leading me to the craziest part about this film for me. Dealing with the realistic aspect of the whole thing. Its biggest achievement seemed to also he its biggest flaw. The amazing CGI that led to everything looking so real, that the animals couldn't really seem to keep up emotionally with the material to do it justice. I’m still not sure if that had anything to do with the voice work not really standing out. Mediocre all around with the exception of Oliver, Rogen, & Eichner. Those three were the only ones that kept me entertained throughout all of this, & if no one is getting them together for a film, a big mistake is being made. Wasn’t really impressed with Ejiofor's Scar, & same goes for the whole depiction of the hyenas. This Scar is a pale comparison to the original. While the hyenas, while very frightening, lost their entertainment value it seemed. The main three were my favorite characters from the original. They seemed to adept here. Almost as if they wouldn’t even need Scar in the first place. Cast aside, even the songs fell just short. My favorite going to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight". That whole scene was great. The rest was an alright remake of “Hakuna Matata” & “Just Can’t Wait To Be King”, an absolutely horrible “Be Prepared”, & a “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” duet where one party over powered the other completely. The bad thing is a lot of this could be derived from the fact that I do have a greater version to compare to that's almost a facsimile of. I did enjoy myself still. All in all you have a technological wonder of beautiful CGI on display with a great story. That while it dosen't knock it out of the park, does mange to round at least base. This will be on the list of these remakes that unlike Aladdin & Beauty & the Beast, I’ll most likely grab the animated classic the next time I want to watch Lion King. Curious what others think though. So as you see it please let me know on the comments what you think.
As usual I've took a couple days from my first thoughts review video (here), and now it's time to get into my full thoughts on the live-action remake of the Disney Animated Classic, Aladdin after getting some time to let it sink in. I can't believe how excited I still am about this film. It totally lives up to its own phrase, "diamond in the rough". That said, there will be some layers to this review. First, I want to get into how this film stands up to its animated predecessor. This is the part I couldn't believe the more I thought about it. As great as Robin Williams is, I think I now actually prefer this out of the two. Probably because it hits every single beat of the original. With only slight changes & additions. Changes that seem only there to compliment the realistic nature of live-action, & additions that go on to further the mythology of the tale without changing it any way. It being live-action also gives it room to draw on so much more emotion. In today's context, animated Aladdin is a smartphone, the live-action Aladdin is the upgraded version. Speaking of upgrades. Sees like a good time to get into the music. With the addition of Jasmine's new two part song, along with some amazing dance numbers, this film seem more a musical than the original. All the original songs got a new remix if you will. However, they stayed so true their original counterparts if I played the right snippets, you'd think only the artist performing had changed. Basically there was a very subtle hip hop influence injected into each. Like a 80-20 mix, 80% original, 20% hip hop. It blended perfectly at that rate. One of the things that worried me going in. Jasmine's new song I mentioned earlier was an amazing piece of music performed beautifully. It seemed a strange place to add it, but by the time she was halfway done the hair on my neck was standing up, & I didn't care about its placement anymore. I also mentioned the dance numbers earlier. These were amazing! Also a mix, this time Hip Hop meets Bollywood, & I never wanted to learn a dance in my life until I saw this. This blew me away! I loved the dance choreography in this film. Never really seen anything like this in my life. Now, before I sign off I want to break down the standout acting performances contained in this film. I have to start that by mentioning the overall chemistry between the cast as a whole. The chemistry displayed made it look as if these people had been really good friends for years that just decided to make a movie. I couldn't believe how tight knit they all seemed. I'll break 'em down first with the one everyone was most worried about, Will Smith as the Genie. When he first was cast, I told a lot of nay sayers if we could get old Fresh Prince, Bad Boys Will Smith, he could pull it off. If anyone has the charisma to even attempt to fill those big shoes Robin William's left behind he could, but only if he could tap back into something we haven't seen for a long time. That's exactly what we got. I haven't thought Smith was having a good time making a film in a long time. It was so refreshing to see this return for someone who at one time was one of my favorite acting personalities. He took full ownership of this role & totally made it his own, & the addition of keeping him around throughout to be Aladdin's advisor was a perfect addition. Definitely one of the additions that puts this over the top. Mena Mossoud was also just cast perfect as Aladdin, as was Naomi Scott as Jasmine. You believed every minute of their love story. Not just that though, every other aspect of their characters as well. From his thief with a heart of gold, to her frustrated Princess who's beauty hides her mind. These three carried this film to the heights it reached, but they did definitely have some back up in that feat. Nassim Pedrad was great as the new character & best friend to Jasmine, Dahlia. Even if I did immediately realize why she was there, i loved her role. The biggest one i was worried about going in though was Marwan Kenzari as Jafar. Jafar always came off as downright sinister even in just his look, where this guy didn't to me. What he lacked in sinister look though, he made up for in performance. This guy oozed evilness from the start. They added some extra layer to the character too that worked very well. I noticed at the end af my first thoughts vid that I didn't mention the digital characters of Abu, Jago, & the Magic Carpet. I at least have to mention how real these characters came off. You would totally have thought that they not only trained these animals, they also went out & got an enchantment put on a rug. Beautiful effects abound, & set pieces for that matter. Every place form the alleys of Agrabah to the Cave of Wonders seemed so real. Last but definitely not least though, Guy Ritchie. I think the craziest part of all this is how this stays so true to the animated original, but at the same time is totally a Guy Ritchie film. The chase scenes are absolutely amazing. The storytelling is fluid, with virtually no downtime. Totally Guy Ritchie. Anyway, all in all I completely loved this film. Definitely my favorite out of all the live action remakes Disney has done so far. If they can keep them to this level, I can't wait to see what's next.