Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Aladdin Review


It’s time to take a look at the remake that came out recently. The original film was one of the weaker Disney classics for me so I was ready to see if the remake could fix that. Fortunately it was up for the challenge. I’d actually put Aladdin as one of the best remakes and holds its own/even beats other heavyweights like the recent Maleficent film which I was impressed with. Aladdin’s a very high energy film and it paid off.

The film starts with a guy telling his kids a story about the olden days. We cut to what is a normal day for Aladdin as he slips through the streets grabbing whatever he can. He’s a thief who needs such things to scare by as his country isn’t exactly one of the more luxurious ones. One day he notices a lady having some trouble so he helps her get out of the jam. Unfortunately due to a misunderstanding with his monkey stealing her pendent she dashes off. Aladdin tried to repair the damage but he is soon captured by the Jafar and forced to enter a dangerous cave. He secures the lamp and will now get 3 wishes, of course Jafar won’t forget about his wishes for power anytime soon. Can Aladdin impress Jasmine and stop the kingdom from being plunged into chaos?

Right away the film got off to a really strong start here. The chase scenes with Aladdin right from the beginning are great. The scenes have a lot of energy and with the song it all flows together nicely. It’s always risky to have the best scene show up this early on in the film, but I think it’s good because first impressions are important. It’s just nice how casually Aladdin is basically taking on a full platoon of troops and singing about it. He also does a good job of directing Jasmine as well and showing how well he has mastered the city and all its alleyways. He’s basically a genius.

Aladdin definitely makes for a really solid lead even if he does weaken a bit towards the end of the film. He gets corrupted awfully quick when he becomes a prince and I feel like there were a lot of ways he could have gotten himself out of the situation earlier. If he was going to lie anyway, why not just admit that he was pretending to be a prince to impress Jasmine later on? I think she probably would have been impressed as to how he could pull that off since he had such a large troop of fighters behind him. I’d also argue that Jafar even deciding to mess with Aladdin is super risky because if those troops were real than Agrabah would have been doomed from the start.

Jasmine’s a fun heroine and definitely a character who has also been very improved from the original. She’s very determined to become the next sultan and also stands up to Jafar and the others. Jasmine gets a fun song towards the end about how she won’t be quiet anymore and gets to quickly exhibit her time stop powers until the song ends and you realize it never really happened. The thought is what counts though. She may not have grown up in the streets like Aladdin, but she’s definitely got that toughness about her.

Then you have Genie who steals the show as expected. It was a tall order to try and top Robin Williams from the original so I think adding in Will Smith was the perfect option. His style of humor is very different, but ultimately very charismatic and fast which works really well. His powers are still impressive although the way that his powers work is still awfully loose. At the end of the day he can still do whatever he wants and is just pretending to have to work on the rules. It seems to me like he just can’t go against his owner, but otherwise he can do what he wants. If I were Aladdin I’d be tempted to ask for a wish back, but at the same time he is still alive so being grateful is more important in this scenario. Genie is definitely here to look out for Aladdin and does a great job of looking after him. Without Genie Aladdin would have been doomed.

The film does a good job of mixing in a lot of good humor to supplement the action and adventure. The jokes land and the film is just written really well. They certainly didn’t phone it in here which is key. It would have been easy for the movie to just try and borrow all the original jokes and such but coming up with a completely new script is always good. The film’s still a direct remake and all, but it brings its own unique flavor to the mix.

Then you’ve got Jafar who is a much better villain than he was in the original. In that film he felt more focused on the marriage to Jasmine than his actual aspirations. Here it is flipped and he really just wants power to capture everyone else. He’s the kind of villain who while not relateable is just very interesting. It makes sense why he would have a bit of a power complex here since he started at the bottom of the social totem pole and now wants to go to the very top. I also thought his character had more layers here since he actually kept his thief skills and is a legitimate threat to the other characters. The scene of him pick pocketing Aladdin was handled very well.

There’s the Sultan but there’s not much to say about him. He gets mind controlled the whole time as expected. Abu doesn’t get to do a whole lot and mainly just gets Aladdin into trouble. He does save the lad from making a critical mistake in the cave of wonders though so I’ll give him some props, but he basically nullifies this after that by actually falling for the trap.

Iago doesn’t get the witty dialogue that you’ll remember from the original which is unfortunate. I think the film could have gone all the way with him if it really wanted to. At least he did get the super form though so that was neat. Then you’ve got the character made for the film called Dalia. She’s basically Jasmine’s best friend and just like how Genie supports Aladdin she helps Jasmine in this journey. I’m not sure about the random plot with her and Genie though. That romance was a bit weak, but for the character Dalia was definitely a standout. She’s definitely the kind of character that you want to have by your side. Dalia is very loyal and supportive.

Then you’ve got Hakim who also gets a bit of a big role here. He is quick to change sides though and while the characters gets his redemption arc it doesn’t work all that well. It just seems a little too late in the game for him by this point. He’s not really my kind of character but I’ll still give him some credit for making the right call even if it was late.

The first half of the film is definitely more dynamic than the second half, but I wouldn’t say there is any part of the film where it totally loses steam or anything like that. The dance scene with Aladdin being manipulated was also pretty fun. I don’t think that the back flip was overdoing it to be honest, but he definitely did show everyone up. All of the songs are also a blast. It seems like the film is using some kind of auto tune or audio adjustment to give everyone a certain kind of voice though so I wonder if the characters actually sound like that. It’s a sound that works well though so no complaints here.

Aladdin doesn’t hold back on the special effects either. I think part of what makes the film work so well is that it just looks great. The musical numbers feel grand as a result and especially the “You’ve never had a friend like me” song is awesome as a result. The special effects are really akin to that of a big blockbuster movie (Which this film basically is) and I dare say that this may be the best musical out there. I don’t really know how you would go about topping this one.

Overall, Aladdin was definitely a success. It’s a very fun film that has a lot of replay value. I think a good bit of credit here goes to the great script/writing. There are a lot of clever moments and even some callbacks to the songs. One good scene is when Genie points out that Aladdin’s never had a friend like him as opposed to vice versa. The only annoying part here is really how quick Aladdin was to betray Genie. It’s definitely something that will be annoying on a re-watch and all since Genie was so helpful the whole time. Still, if you’re looking for a great film to watch then this is the one to check out.

Overall 8/10

Advertisements
Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Aladdin Review

MV5BNTI4ODQ1MzAzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzU4NzMxMDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_
It’s time for a classic film review. This title is basically the opposite of TMNT in many ways. Aladdin is a heartwarming story about a man who must risk life and limb to stop the evil plots of those who would harm the kingdom and Princess Jasmine. His name is Aladdin and he has become a very iconic figure in Disney history. Does this film deserve to be called a classic? Let’s see!

Whoops, did I already spoil the plot? Well, that was a rather vague version of it anyway. Princess Jasmine is to be married to a rich prince as per the Kingdom rules, but she doesn’t like any of them. One day, she escapes to the outside world and meets up with Aladdin. They are soon separated and now they know that they are meant to team up as they try to get back together. Unfortunately, Jafar intends to stop this since he wants the crown for himself. Whoever gets the magical lamp to summon the Genie may end up having a great advantage over the other!

Aladdin is the main lead of the film, but the title probably gave that away. He’s essentially what you would expect for the main character. He likes to defy the authorities and he steals food from the shop owners whenever he can. He talks a really good game (Like 99% of the current film protagonists) and then proceeds to get crushed by the weakest of minions. “You’re only in trouble if you get caught” is one of his most wince worthy moments since he gets caught immediately after saying this. Haven’t we seen enough characters who talk their way to the finish line only to be defeated instantly in combat? I can’t say that it’s very entertaining. Aladdin is also one of those guys who immediately falls in love at the drop of a hat and it hurts his overall character arc. He tends to hesitate a lot, which makes him fall short when the stakes are at their highest. He also tries to lie his way through situations and the fame of being a prince gets to him. He just fell into so many character holes throughout the film that I can’t say that Aladdin is one of the better main characters. He could have been good, but he was a little too generic and not someone that I could really root for.

Jasmine is a pretty decent character and it’s easy to sympathize with her plight. An arranged marriage is like a surprise dinner from your worst nightmares. Nothing will turn out as you’ve always pictured and things will just keep going downhill forever. I don’t know why the Sultan won’t just rewrite the rule, but maybe he doesn’t know that he can actually do that. Jasmine’s pet tiger is pretty intense as well and we can thank him for all of the assistance that he gave Jasmine. Unfortunately, Jasmine goes too far with her plan to distract Jafar and she just should have tackled him or grabbed the staff. It would have been a better way to stop him without degrading herself. It’s no exaggeration to say that the scene did hurt the film’s overall rating. Jasmine was a decent character, but the onslaught of romance scenes threw her down a few pegs.

Jafar is definitely a pretty weak villain. He’s just another guy who wants power and romance as he ascends to the top of the food chain. He wants to become the Sultan as quickly as powerful and he sends in his underlings to do the dirty work for him. When it comes down to a fight, Jafar must rely on his staff since he’s really not a fighter. He does get a big moment at the end of the film, but he spoils it since he didn’t think it through. He should have just protected the lamp from being touched..but he was not yet fast enough. Even without the romance, I wasn’t a fan of Jafar, but it certainly didn’t help his case. Iago was a better villain!

Iago is one of the more sinister creatures in the film since he’ll do anything for money and power. He definitely talks big and he doesn’t really back down from anyone. He’s one of those character’s who’s literally all bark and no bite, but that’s just how his character is. His personality may not be as enjoyable if he was a tough fighter, but that’s up for debate I suppose. It’s hard to see how he could turn over a new leaf, but he does know where the money and power now reside….

Abu is Aladdin’s pet monkey and he’s not one of the biggest supporting characters in the film. He has his moments though and he is probably a decent character for some. I don’t really care for him myself, but he keeps things real. He’s a decent fighter and he always goes all out although he is not quite as nice as Aladdin. He reluctantly parts with his piece of bread and he is pretty sad about the whole thing. I may like him more in the sequel…maybe.

The Sultan is one of the main sources of comic relief for the film. He only wants what’s best for Jasmine, but his thirst for fame and glory blind him to this and he tries for her to get married as quickly as possible. He lacks strength of character so he is easily manipulated by Jafar. It’s too bad for him because the Sultan is still a decent character…or he has the potential to be decent. He plays with his toys during his free time and he can talk a pretty good game. Unfortunately, it is often too little too late and I can’t really forget how he was tricked so many times. He’s charismatic, but you begin to dislike him when you realize how bad some of his decisions are.

Genie is one of the most popular characters of the Aladdin franchise and he’s definitely unforgettable. He basically has unlimited power so he doesn’t need to fear anyone. He gets tricked a few times by Aladdin, but he learns as he goes. Genie doesn’t like to be double crossed and he doesn’t really care too much for being a genie, but he puts on a tough face and endures it. He’s definitely one of the most likable characters in the film and he’s always ready with some good advice for Aladdin. He doesn’t possess a lot of “strength of character” since the lamp is always able to override what he really wants to do. Luckily, that shouldn’t be a problem for him in future appearances.

The animation isn’t bad for this film. I definitely miss the good ole hand drawn days of Disney and this one reminds you why it can be so special. It reminds me of those computer games that were all the rage back in the day. The animation is rather similar. I do think that America was significantly behind Japan at the time in animation, which explains why Transformers and Gundam look better than Aladdin. For what it is, Aladdin still looks good though and you can easily follow what is happening. There aren’t any obvious animation errors. (Although his bread almost appeared to have chocolate in it at some points) All of the character designs quickly became iconic after this film.

There are several songs in this film, but it’s not overdone like in High School Musical. My main complaint would be the fact that it’s really hard to follow the lyrics. The sound effects are too loud during the chase scene so some of Aladdin’s lines can’t really be heard and you’ll get lost midway through the song. The voices were pretty good and the songs were decent, but this isn’t the next “Everything is Awesome” or “Let it Go.” (Although I already forgot the latter one. I need to give that song a listen too….someday) So, the songs didn’t really bother me in this film since the villains didn’t play a major part in it. Nothing’s worse than seeing the villain get a few songs to himself to remind us just how sinister he is!

Unfortunately, there was one extremely wince worthy romance scene that derailed the film faster than a dog will snatch away your bacon from the table. It’s the kind of scene that can really shave a few points off of anything even if it is fairly brief. It’s just something that I don’t want to see in my entertainment and I was surprised that this was in a Disney film. Jasmine decides to distract Jafar with her fake words while Aladdin went for the Lamp. That’s already pretty terrible in itself, but I didn’t expect it to get worse. Unfortunately, words are not enough so Jasmine takes the next step, but it’s a step that should never be taken. There were a lot of other alternatives for Jasmine at the moment and she should have just tackled the villain.

This makes Aladdin look bad as well for two reasons. One, he kept on hesitating and stopping, which made things worse for Jasmine. He ultimately fails in his quest to grab the lamp as well so it was basically all for nothing. The second reason would be the fact that Aladdin allowed this to happen as well. I’d expect some “Brooklyn Rage” (Abridged term) from him and a solid punch. Aladdin could likely beat Jafar in a fist fight and he would just need to prevent Jafar from ordering the Genie to help. That really wouldn’t be too hard for him and then Jasmine could grab the lamp. So, what I’m saying is that drastic measures, which involve degrading yourself to stall the villain is basically a no no. The scene shouldn’t have happened and the fact that Aladdin still failed was pretty awful.

Aside from that scene, the film also does have a lot of romance stuff in it. That’s not typically a good thing and I wouldn’t say that it’s handled all that well here either. The flirting can be pretty irritating after a while and it’s even worse if you don’t care for the two main characters that much. Romance typically doesn’t have a place in any film and this one overdoes it.

At least Aladdin has no trouble with its pacing. A lot of events happen in the short runtime of the film and the plot changes from one scene to the next. Most of the characters got their necessary development and the villain had time for two different plans! Unfortunately, I still didn’t end up liking the characters all that much, but Disney tried. At least I did like (some of) the animal characters in this film. The tiger was hardcore and the birds were also cool. There aren’t many action scenes in the film, but they’re fairly good and the danger scenes inside of the cave of wonders are also well done. The film definitely had a lot of potential.

Overall, Aladdin is definitely one of Disney’s most well known films, but it’s definitely no all star. Frozen would wipe the floor with this film and Aladdin just hasn’t aged all that well. It should be noted that I’ve never been a fan of desert films as it is. (Although that wasn’t really a negative in this film) Aladdin can be a fun watch for the family, but there are just too many scenes that aren’t funny or enjoyable. The critical scene that I mentioned earlier is ultimately what destroyed the film for me. Of course, there were also several other romance scenes that were pretty bad. If you really don’t mind romance and are just happy to see the heroes come out on top no matter how they got there…then you may enjoy this film. Still, if you want to watch a fun animated film, I’d recommend checking out Megaman NT Warrior The Program of Light and Darkness! You won’t be disappointed as that one features the greatest character of all time and some epic action!

Overall 4/10

Battles, Jasmine Battles, Javitz Battles

Jasmine vs Javitz


28
126923-36101-javitz_large
Jasmine has her netnavi at the ready and it gives her a big advantage over any opponent that may want to take a win. Javitz has some decent abilities of his own, but they just won’t be enough to take Jasmine down for the count. She’s fought some pretty tough customers back in her day and she’ll continue to take wins on the blog! Jasmine wins.