There are a few Disney story books that hold very nostalgic memories from my childhood, one of those is Aladdin. It’s a story that I have enjoyed reading together with my children too, and one that I couldn’t wait to see depicted on the big screen in the new live-action adaptation from Disney.
Aladdin tells the story of a young boy, forced to grow up on the streets with a monkey as his only friend he becomes a skilled thief in order to survive. A chance encounter one day with a beautiful woman whom Aladdin protects in a crowded market changes the path he is on, and sets him on a new journey that will lead him into danger, towards magic and to discover love.
Aladdin falls in love with the princess of Agrabah, and as the new owner of a magic lamp he is granted three wishes with which he is determined to win her over. The adventure unfolds as the Sultan’s Royal Vizier Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), a cunning and powerful sorcerer, is frustrated with the Sultan (Navid Negahban) and devises a plan to take control of the city.
The new film is a sumptuous feast of dazzling costumes and beautiful dance sequences, all set against the backdrop of a bustling city which has been wonderfully brought to life. The soundtrack is amazing, and definitely one I will be adding to my children’s music collection as soon as it’s released. ‘A Whole New World’ and ‘Friend Like Me’ will become your new favourites!
I loved the street smart charm of Aladdin (Mena Massoud), his acrobatic moves and his clever trickster monkey were a highlight. Will Smith shone as the genie, with strong dance moves and singing as well as his trademark humour making him a worthy successor to the creative genius that Robin Williams had previously brought to the role in the 1992 animated film.
It didn’t take long for Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) to cement herself as one of my favourite female characters that Disney has brought to life on screen in recent years. With a strong message of female empowerment, she delivered an important lesson about the strength of women too. One of the new songs she sang (‘Speechless’) struck a chord with me in particular, and I can foresee it being on repeat in our house as much as Princess Elsa’s ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen was.
Aladdin brings the original Disney story that we all know to life, it’s a fun film to enjoy together as a family that will also give you the tools to discuss the importance of honesty and the value of being yourself. There’s beautiful dancing, incredible singing, and a fantastic magic carpet…there’s even a tiger! Don’t miss the chance to catch Aladdin on the big screen when it opens in cinemas across South Africa on 24 May. The movie does carry a PG rating.