For this weekend’s movie talk, I actually went to see three movies, so I’ll be pairing up Aladdin 2019 & Brightburn, then a solo review for Booksmart. Let’s check them out!
Aladdin 2019 (Directed By Guy Richie)
The story about a young lower-class thief in the city of Agrabah, falling in-love with a princess, who is forced to marry a prince by law, told in a live-action spin, or at least the Disney version.
Now, I’ve grown up with Aladdin, loving it of course, but I was willing to put the original aside to see how this remake turns out. I don’t have that level of nostalgia in me that I want things to be exactly like they were in live-action. In fact, I don’t want the same exact movie in live-action, because I know what was created in animation cannot be masterfully replicated by a different crew and cast. What I got from this Aladdin was a fun, but flawed ride.
I have to start with Will Smith as Genie, since he’s the reason that’s dividing people about this film. You all saw that sneak peak clip and I read two comments calling this a “TV-movie”:
I think the “TV-movie” comparison is a high exaggeration because not one part of this film looked cheap and that’s coming from someone who has seen a ton of bad movies with cheap production. I’ll say though, yes, the “Prince Ali” and “Never Had A Friend Like Me” musical numbers are probably the least inspiring parts of the film. That’s not to say I dreaded them, but compared to all the other songs, including the one Will starts out with, they felt notably weak.
Again, I put the old one aside, but I don’t think Will Smith’s signature rapping meshes well with Robin Williams’s fast, character-driven style. It just comes off as embarrassing since most of the film’s songs are packed with energy in their performance, plus that none of them fall in the hip-hop realm. I envy a remake doing things differently or adding to what has already been built and I’ll give the film credit, I really enjoyed Will’s portrayal of Genie outside of those two moments.
This is Aladdin’s story though (who is played by Mena Massoud) and the extra time that was added here as opposed to the original, went into giving more chemistry between Aladdin & Jasmine (played by Naomi Scott) or Aladdin & Genie, which turns into a “Hitch”-type relationship, as opposed to the original. For the most part though, this film just plays out pretty much the same as the original Aladdin, which I get it, but it’s very unfortunate.
The problem with Beauty and the Beast 2017 is that it was just a beat-by-beast redo of an old classic, done to lessor quality, simply because that cast and crew could not successfully re-create something that perfectly executed in animation along with those voice actors. Here, most of the film is exactly like the original, and the stuff that’s there varies. While Aladdin & Jasmine are great, including their song numbers and Genie is pretty good here if you can forgive the rap remixes, Jafar (played by Marwan Kenzari) is insufferable.
This Jafar feels like he came out of a DCEU movie, just dead by performance and the generic definition of evil. While the old Jafar was also a straight-up villain, he at least had this fashion-guy attitude that was charming. There is no life in this Jafar, or much to his parrot, Iago (voiced by Alan Tudyk). There’s also some gags they try to re-create, like the rejected prince that got his pants torn up by Jasmine’s pet tiger, that again, aren’t done as well in live-action.
Then we get to the last act, where Guy Richie gets to go crazy with CG and tear up a city with a giant Iago, and then we get more of the new song, “Speechless”, which for as decent as the song may be, it’s an obvious attempt to make another “Let It Go” and feels out of place with the film, or at least where its positioned.
At the end of the day, despite the issues I may of had here, Aladdin 2019 is a low-“Good” time. If you can separate the old classic, you’ll have fun with this, knowing its not as good as the 1992 animated masterpiece.
Brightburn (Directed By David Yarovesky)
You would think that such an excellent idea as Brightburn’s could lead to a creative take on superheros. This is basically a “what-if” on Superman, had the caped superhero been evil this whole time. Already, I am intrigued and excited, especially when you’ve got the Gunn family working on this.
So its with unfortunate disappointment that they do jack squat with this idea as Brightburn turns into every slasher horror film you’ve seen, just with a kid who has superpowers. First of all, this kid named Brandon (played by Jackson A. Dunn) is an unsympathetic brat who is killing these people for dumb reasons. He’s not some bullied kid who goes insane from his mental state.
When that girl says he’s a creep, she is being serious. This kid sexually harasses that girl, talks back to his parents and is just this ungrateful piece of crap. No, him listening to an alien pod doesn’t justify any of this behavior, nor that the film doesn’t spend time developing its cast nearly as much as selling the horror elements, which are formulaic as heck.
Each victim, one-by-one, lurks around that creepy corridor, only to get jumped by the killer for being too curious. This film is doing nothing you haven’t seen dozens of times already, for having such a creative idea and nothing it does speaks of being memorable. If you just want to see gory kills and spooky jumpscares, Brightburn will definitely treat you right as it does deliver in its graphic horror violence.
However, if you are someone like me who does not look for just that in movies, you’ll feel very underwhelmed by how mediocre the script is and how traditional the film is for taking on something so different. The acting is at least great for how average the writing might be. You’ve got Elizabeth Banks as the mom and David Denman as the dad, both work as caring parents, even when the dialogue isn’t doing much to make them interesting characters.
As it wrapped up, I felt unsatisfied, because everything I was sick of in most horror films was this in a nutshell and only some solid filmmaking, along with some good performances, prevent Brightburn from being anything lower than “Decent”, but its that type of movie I will not remember in passing and gained almost nothing from seeing.
Booksmart Review: https://pondspress.wordpress.com/2019/05/25/booksmart-review/