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Aladdin (2019) 4K UHD Review

Aladdin.jpg

“Aladdin” is an admirable live-action remake.

Disney’s quest in remaking animated classics continues here with a live-action take on 1992’s “Aladdin.” For the most part, the story is still the same. There are new additions and different character motivations from Jafar, but the story still revolves around the titular street urchin/thief who is stealing to survive in the city of Agrabah. As we all know, his life is soon turned upside when he meets (and falls for) Princess Jasmine, encounters the villainous Jafar (who is plotting to overthrow Jasmine’s father as the Sultan), and comes into possession of a magic lamp and its Genie which grants him 3 wishes. I don’t need to say much more than that, do I? We should all know the story by now.

Guy Ritchie (who is best known for helming action movies and crime thrillers) seems an unusual choice to direct “Aladdin,” but somehow his unique style works for this extravagant live-action take. Admittedly, this version does not hold a candle to the 1992 animated feature both in terms of quality and with the performance of the songs. Simply put, it’s a near impossible task to recapture the magic of that movie or replace Robin Williams performance as the Genie. Thankfully, Ritchie and company seem to know that they can’t replicate that movie and instead try to accomplish their own take which harkens back to the classic while also adding new content along the way. Truth be told, it is interesting just to see the differences between the two. Speaking of which, viewers can expect to see several new things given that this movie runs 127 minutes compared to the animated film’s runtime of 90. Among the new additions are a Jasmine handmaiden (Dalia), less Iago, different desires from Jafar, a new song titled “Speechless,” and Genie’s post lamp life. Perhaps the most welcome change here is that this film cuts out so many of the pop culture references that never fit the 1992 movie or the time period. Granted, most of that was courtesy of Robin Williams being Robin Williams, but it always kind of annoyed me despite the humor that it brought.

The cast here is mostly strong. Will Smith’s Genie doesn’t try to mimic Robin Williams and he instead wisely just acts like himself. Obviously, your opinion of this Genie will depend on your opinion on Will Smith as an actor and performer. Personally, I thought he did a commendable job. Mena Massoud (Aladdin) seems a little uneasy and wooden at times in his first big role, but he can sing and deliver humor. Naomi Scott (Jasmine) is far and away the best part of the entire film. She is utterly charming and brings the beloved character to life. The one cast member who doesn’t fare too well here is Marwan Kenzari as Jafar. He seems really miscast here and sticks out like a sore thumb. He’s never menacing enough and really pales in comparison to the animated counterpart.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.39:1 2160p. How does it look? Expect a bright and colorful transfer.

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. How does it sound? The music is as lively as ever with this Atmos track.

Extras:
* Blu-ray copy
* Digital copy
* Multi-language options
* Disney trailers
* Music videos for “Speechelss” by Naomi Scott, “A Whole New World” by Zayn and Zhavia Ward, and “A Whole New World” (“Un Mundo Ideal”) by Zayn and Becky G.
* 2 minutes of bloopers.
* 6 deleted scenes
* “A Friend Like Genie”- A featurette on the Genie character.
* “Guy Ritchie: A Cinematic Genie”- The director talks about taking on this project and what he brings to the table. Set footage, interviews, and film clips also included.
* The most notable extra is a deleted Alan Menken song titled “Desert Moon.” It’s easy to see why it was cut but it’s a curiosity nonetheless.
* “Aladdin’s Video Journal: A New Fantastic Point Of View”- Actor Mena Massoud records his filming experiences with a phone.

September 4, 2019 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , , , , , ,

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