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(Delightful Disney classic)
It has been 27 years since Disney Studios delighted us with a cartoon version of “Aladdin.” Turning the story into a live-action, special effects movie was no simple task, but director Guy Ritchie has succeeded splendidly, gathering an outstanding cast and some special effects folks who make the story come to life.
The tale of the young street-smart Aladdin who falls in love with the princess Jasmine is portrayed with humor, excitement and positive messages about caring for others, believing in yourself and doing the right thing. The messages give equal power to both young women and young men.
Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott are delightful and convincing, as they meet, believing each other to be somebody else and, of course, fall in love. Will Smith plays the overpowering blue genie who emerges from the lamp when it is rubbed by Aladdin. While Robin Williams’ voice defined the character in the cartoon version, Smith makes it his own.
Disney is at its best when it comes to portraying animals, and Aladdin’s monkey, with a little special effects enhancement at times, leads the pack. There’s a nasty parrot and a threatening Bengal tiger that play important roles. Even the Magic Carpet has a personality.
The movie has high energy, including terrific chase scenes (partly filmed in Jordan) and characters that young people can relate to and root for. And the music is there, including the award-winning “A Whole New World” and a funny “You Never Had a Friend Like Me.”
This is truly a film for all ages and one that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Stick around for a Bollywood ending during the credits.
Rated PG, with nothing to worry about with the kids.