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Why Disney's live-action 'Aladdin' wants to leave you speechless



CLEVELAND, Ohio – Awole New World, The Genie's Introduction to "Friend Like Me" remake of "Aladdin" "Prince Ali," which incidentally, elicited spontaneous applause at the screening I attended.

Do you trust me?

The fact that it's actually "Speechless," a new, Original song written for Princess Jasmine, Written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (1965) Naomi Scott in a star. "La," "Dear Evan Hansen,") "Speechless," performed at the moment when Jafar seizes control of the kingdom, is a radio-ready female empowerment pop with Naomi Scott in a star -making performance. Guy Ritchie is more moving and re-watchable than anything in "A Star Is Born" or "The Greatest Showman."

In many ways, this new "Aladdin "Is Jasmine's movie. In the end in which she dreams of leaving Agrabah to make her mark in the world and, in the end, asks her father to change the law so she can marry Aladdin, she is much stronger and decidedly more feminist here, taking charge of her own life, standing up for what she believes, spoiler alert, becoming sultan.

Jasmine's arc is at the top of the list why live action "Aladdin" is better than animated "Aladdin," but it is not the only reason.

Coming in a close second is Ritchie ("Sherlock Holmes," "Snatch,") who brings his signature style of constantly moving cameras, frenetic editing and hyper-realistic action, and with the look and feel

The film thus fares better in its portrayal of the Middle East. Jafar, as played by Marwan Kenzari, is no longer a racist caricature. The offensive lyrics of "Arabian Nights" have been changed. Aladdin (Mena Massoud) and Jasmine (Scott) are playing their characters.

That brings us to the elephant in the room: Will Smith's genius. Robin Williams' legendary performance is not fair. Nobody could ever recreate the high-energy improv and random stream of knowledge.

Smith does just fine, reminding us of the guy who got his start in comedies before becoming a serious actor. His singing voice is somewhat suspect, but he has the charisma to pull off Genie's rapid-fire jokes and meta references.

IRL on the big screen, do not be. The CGI is no worse than the Hulk in all those "Avengers" movies and that's all that's bought.

Another thing you do not have to worry about: the movie ignores the Broadway version, so there are no superfluous characters or time

"Aladdin" arrives at theaters Friday with sneak.

"Beauty and the Beast," you get the best Disney remake yet previews Thursday.


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