Let’s address the elephant on the page. Will Smith has had a history of tackling roles that have been met with some sort of opposition. Remember back in the day when Smith tackled the role that Courtney B. Vance created on Broadway in Six Degrees of Separation? Folks were feeling some sort of way about the Fresh Prince pretending be the son of Sidney Poitier. Yet, he prevailed. Folks felt some sort of way about him tackling the beloved television hit Wild, Wild West on the big screen. Yet, he prevailed.
I’m a ginormous Will Smith fan and I’m not gonna lie. When I heard Disney was doing a live action version of Aladdin with my brotha’ as the Genie, I was like “whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatttttt????????” Not for nothing, but Robin Williams shredded that role. I want go on record right here and now saying that the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air did his thang, his way, with his own unique stamp infusing humor, charm, hip-hop, singing, dancing as only Will Smith could do. It’s almost as if he were born specifically to do this role at this particular time. It’s like Hitch hit the Middle East!!!
Now, that we have that out of the way, Aladdin boasts a diverse and uber talented cast featuring Smith, Nasim Pedrad, Navid Negahban, Marwan Kenzari, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott that flips the script on Aladdin for a whole new generation. Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine is a star and when she busts out the new Alan Menken song ‘Speechless’ you just know it is about to become the new anthem for young girls all over the world. Sorry Let It Go…lol. Scott is regal, gorgeous and a dancing machine along with her leading man Mena Massoud, who is perfect as Aladdin. He possesses all the charm, naiveté and gullible qualities that make Aladdin so lovable.
The production design by Game of Thrones’ Gemma Jackson will transport you visually and cinematically into the world of Agabar boasting a view that is not limited to three walls. It’s spectacular to behold.
With a slightly reimagined, updated script by director Guy Ritchie and John August, the magical, fairytale feeling is left intact and the Princess has a hand maiden who is just as headstrong, beautiful and witty. Let’s not forget about the ridiculously, insane choreography by Royston. Those scenes are truly some of the film’s many highlights.
Aladdin is a deliciously, delightful fairytale that will have you skipping out of the theatre with several songs running through your head for days on end. It’s family friendly, funny and for some generations will take them all the way to Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves from back in the day.
So, I’ll begin as I started. There is only one Robin Williams, but Will Smith and the cast of Aladdin proves that when you are embrace what is uniquely you it will pay off every time. Produced by Disney, get ready for an entertaining family flight when Aladdin glides into theatre THIS FRIDAY May 24.