Tag Archives: Naomi Scott

Aladdin (2019) Review

Time: 128 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Will Smith as Genie
Mena Massoud as Aladdin
Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine
Marwan Kenzari as Jafar
Navid Negahban as The Sultan
Nasim Pedrad as Dalia
Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders
Director: Guy Ritchie

Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is a lovable street urchin who meets Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott), the beautiful daughter of the sultan of Agrabah (Navid Negahban). While visiting her exotic palace, Aladdin stumbles upon a magic oil lamp that unleashes a powerful, wisecracking, larger-than-life genie (Will Smith). As Aladdin and the genie start to become friends, they must soon embark on a dangerous mission to stop the evil sorcerer Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) from overthrowing young Jasmine’s kingdom.

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I missed 2019’s version of Aladdin in cinemas, and I’ve only recently caught up on. I really didn’t know how I would feel about it leading up to its release. I like Naomi Scott and Will Smith, and I’ve liked most of director Guy Ritchie’s movies I’ve seen. However certain parts of the trailers I weren’t really feeling, not to mention I’m not that hyped for live action Disney remakes in general, even if a couple are decent. It looked like it could be a real mess, but nonetheless I gave it a shot, and hoped that I would somewhat like. I was actually surprised at Aladdin 2019, it’s not anything great but it was quite entertaining.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve watched the original Aladdin, so I can’t remember exactly how similar in plot the new movie is to the animated version. From what I can tell, largely plotwise it’s the same, however certain plot points and moments were handled differently. Having forgotten how the original movie did certain things, I don’t think I have a problem with how they handled the plot in this version of the story (except for maybe Jafar, which I’ll get to in a bit). It is a little long at 2 hours and 10 minutes. Not that it dragged or anything, just feels like it is a little stretched out. I think it’s like 50 minutes into the movie when Aladdin encounters the Genie for the first time. Maybe 5-10 minutes could’ve been shaved off the first act but it’s not a big deal. While it does some different things with the plot, it’s basically just the same plot, so there aren’t any surprises. So as the movie is progressing you’re just waiting for certain plot beats to occur. I’m not quite sure I’d call the movie ‘soulless’ (like most of the other Disney remakes have been called), but that let’s just say I was mostly just watching the movie go through the motions and wasn’t actually invested in the story.

Mena Massoud plays Aladdin and he did a pretty good job in his role. Same goes for Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine, her singing was particularly good (they even give her a new original song for her to sing, that wasn’t in the original movie). Following Robin Williams’s work in the original Aladdin as The Genie is not easy by any means, he’s solidified that as one of the best animated voice performances. Will Smith however managed to have his own take on the iconic character, which was really the only thing that he could’ve done. He’s by far the standout in the whole movie and he improves every scene that he’s in. Even though I like other aspects of the movie as well, I really don’t think I would’ve liked this movie as much without Smith’s Genie. Probably the weakest link of the main cast however is Marwan Kenzari as Jafar. I don’t think it’s necessarily his acting ability that’s the problem. He’s much less over the top in this version, and instead they try to have a much more serious take, which is fair enough, they actually went all in instead of having a half measure of both the original and the new take. With that said it didn’t really work out, he’s not threatening, he’s not interesting, he’s not memorable, he doesn’t even convey any kind of presence at all. Whenever he came on screen, he just seemed like some random guy who I guess was the villain, rather than the powerful and dangerous Jafar. Supposedly there’s going to be an Aladdin sequel based on the sequel to the original animated movie titled Jafar’s Return. If that’s the case, then they are going to need to change a lot with this version of Jafar in order for him to make it work, because after seeing him in this movie, it doesn’t sound appealing at all.

I generally like Guy Ritchie and most of his work here is pretty good, definitely not one of his best movies though. The visuals are bright and overblown, which could be too much for some people, but I’m at least glad that they went all out instead of just replicating exactly what the animated movie did. The CGI mostly worked, but occasionally it had some really fake looking moments. Whenever it came to the Genie however, the CGI actually worked really well, and complemented Smith’s performance nicely. The editing could be a little off at certain points, especially near the beginning. There’s a chase scene that also had some singing and it was really rough. Thankfully the direction of the singing scenes improved later on. The singing itself was mostly fine, though most of it really sounded like it was autotuned and that really took me out of it.

Aladdin 2019 was pretty decent, although it’s got its issues, it’s entertaining, and Smith, Massoud and Scott worked well in their roles. I’m still not on board with these Disney Animated remakes, and just the very idea of them still feels like soulless cash grabs to me. I will say though, at least with Aladdin, they attempted at changing some aspects to have an ‘updated’ take on the story, even if it doesn’t completely work. If you’re the least bit curious, check it out, but if you’ve hated all of Disney’s live action remakes, then Aladdin isn’t going to change your mind.

Power Rangers (2017) Review

Time: 124 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Dacre Montgomery as Jason Scott/Red Ranger
Naomi Scott as Kimberly Hart/Pink Ranger
RJ Cyler as Billy Cranston/Blue Ranger
Becky G as Trini/Yellow Ranger
Ludi Lin as Zack/Black Ranger
Bill Hader as the voice of Alpha 5
Bryan Cranston as the voice of Zordon
Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa
Director: Dean Israelite

Five ordinary teens must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove – and the world – is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it’s too late, band together as the Power Rangers.

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I never grew up with the Power Rangers, I definitely heard about it and knew it existed but I didn’t know that much about it. Honestly I wasn’t looking forward to watching the 2017 live action movie, it just didn’t look that good at all. It looked like a generic kids film riding on the popularity of a known kids series. However, Power Rangers actually surprised me, it wasn’t great by any means but for a kids movie its actually reasonably okay.

For a Power Rangers movie, you don’t actually see the main characters in the suits that often, and you’d think that this would really make the movie bad. However, surprisingly that segment (by segment I mean most of the movie) was actually the best part of the movie. We get to explore and learn about these characters and their lives and problems and the movie really focusses on them working together as a team. That part surprisingly worked quite well, which is helped by the chemistry of the actors (which I’ll get into later). Towards the end when the characters are full on Power Rangers and wearing the suits, I actually really started to lose interest plotwise, you might be entertaining by the ridiculous over the topness, but as a story it really felt flat in comparison to the first two acts. This movie is very cheesy and silly but from what I can tell its more serious than other versions of Power Rangers, so credit to the filmmakers for making it somewhat watchable for adults. You have to really keep in mind that this is a kids movie, I went in knowing this and I had a good time. But I can see someone going in expecting something a little more serious or mature and end up finding the whole movie to be incredibly obnoxious. If you’re going to watch Power Rangers, know that you’re going to watch a really cheesy kids movie.

What makes this movie work is the main actors and their chemistry. The leads, Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G and Ludi Lin, on top of being a diverse cast are good and work great together, they share great chemistry. Some of their line deliveries at time don’t work so well, and they do have their fair share of occasional not-so-great acting moments, but for the most part it works. Elizabeth Banks plays the villain and to be perfectly fair to her, the character she is playing, Rita Repulsa, isn’t that good, she’s radically over the top, cartoonish and one dimensional, there’s really not much to her. To Banks’s credit though, she is having a ton of fun in this role and is going all out crazy here, which is honestly the only way that anyone could play his role. Bryan Cranston is in it but doesn’t really do much, he served his purpose fine enough, though there really wasn’t any point casting him in the role.

The direction by Dean Israelite was fine overall, nothing spectacular but it worked well enough for a Power Rangers movie. The action is reasonably entertaining but the special effects range from being okay to being really fake looking. They looked particularly goofy and basic in the climax, and with a reasonably large enough budget I’m not sure how the effects looked that bad. Then again the worst of the effects was in the climax, which as I said already was the least interesting part of the movie anyway.

Although it’s not a really that good of movie, Power Rangers surprised me and was far better than what I thought it would be like. The cast and their chemistry really worked. It’s just the cheesiness and the noticeably weak last act which does bring the movie down a bit. With that said, I wouldn’t mind if a sequel ended up happening. If it does happen, I hope the filmmakers can learn from the first movie and make the Power Rangers as interesting and entertaining in the suits as they are without them.