It’s a whole new world with the new ‘Aladdin’

In the fall of 1992, Walt Disney Pictures released the animated feature film “Aladdin.” Based on the Arabic folk tale “One Thousand and One Nights,” the film went on to become the highest-grossing film of the year, as well as have an animated series, two direct to video sequels, and a Broadway adaptation. And like everything in this world, it’s time that to remake the classic Disney film that made an estimated $504 million in the box office because of money.

A Whole New World

“Aladdin” was directed in Guy Ritchie (“Snatch,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “One of Madonna’s ex-husbands”). Guy also wrote the screenplay with John August (“Charlie’s Angels,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”). Like stated and mocked above, this is a remake. While I wouldn’t call it a modern retelling, it is a different version of the movie that we have gotten. There’s a lot of what we loved about the original film, as well as some updated elements that help add more depth to the story.

Mena Massoud (“Jake Ryan”) stars as the title character Aladdin, a young thief from the right side of the tracks that end up falling for Princess Jasmine, played by Namoi Scott (“Saban’s Power Rangers,” upcoming reboot of “Charlie’s Angels”). Aladdin gets trapped in the cave of wonder after Jafar, Marwan Kenzari (“Ben-Hur,” “The Mummy,” the remake king), send him in after Aladdin meets the Genie, Will Smith (“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Men In Black”), and the Genie helps him try to win over Princess Jasmine’s heart before Jafar’s master plan comes into light.

Honestly, this movie isn’t horrible. It’s not the most magnificent remake in the world, especially went it’s compared to the source material. “Aladdin” is overall little over two hours and ten minutes or 128 minutes. 1992 “Aladdin” is about an hour and a half, or 90 minutes. That’s about 38 minutes longer than it needs to be. I get that it’s different when it comes to live-action vs. animated. If they could have chopped off 10-15 minutes, then it wouldn’t have dragged toward the end. Most of that is more depth in parts to add to the plot. Some of that does work, but a lot of it doesn’t work. It just feels out of place and drags the movie.

The acting in the movie is excellent. Everyone in the film does an excellent job as portraying the characters. I’m not a big fan of Will Smith as the Genie, but that was always going to be a hard act to follow. I’m also sad that Gilbert Gottfried didn’t reprise his role as Iago, but it works as Iago didn’t have that big of a function like in the animated works. The music in the film is also well done. It’s all the songs from the original movie, plus one new song that honesty is everything. Mena, Naomi, and Marwan are the ones that shine the most in their roles.

Production-wise, this is a beautifully shot and produced film. Some of the directing is a little wonky at times, but you can look past it at how they brought this film to life. Parts of it was produced in Jordan, and those deserts scenes are what really make it feel like “Aladdin.” The CGI is okay but for a Disney film in 2019, it could have and should have been better.

Verdict

“Aladdin” isn’t a bad movie; if you didn’t know it was a remake, it would be a fun Disney movie. As a remake, “Aladdin” doesn’t stack up to what we got with the “Beauty and the Beast” remake. While I appreciate them trying to add to the overall plot and story of “Aladdin,” the changes don’t do anything for the movie. I do recommend checking out the film, because like I said, it’s a good movie on its own merits. But as a remake of a beloved classic, it falls short of being in the same class.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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‘Charlie’s Angels’ goes uncover and kicks some butt

With the release of the “Charlie’s Angels” reboot trailer, I thought that It would be fun to relieve the movie duology that started it all. Many don’t know or frankly tuned it out, that “Charlie’s Angels” was a television series from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. But let’s talk about the first movie because frankly, it’s a movie you should watch.

The most iconic scene

Good morning, Charlie!

“Charlie’s Angels” was a movie in the franchise. Released in the fall of 2000, McG directed the film. He has given the world both “Charlie’s Angels” movies as well as “Terminator Salvation” and “This Means War.” An all-star cast rounded out the film. Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu made up the Angels while Bill Murray played John Bosley, a private detective that connected the Angels to the never seen but heard Charlie. The acting is probably the best part of the movie.

When you look at the actress, you would think that they wouldn’t work well together. One is strictly known for comedy, one strictly for action, and one purely comedic and dramatic roles. But the chemistry with them is just so good. They work well together and compliment each other. Their chemistry shows off the talents and the skills of everyone wonderfully. The acting is believable and you actually like the girls as a team as well as individually.

Iconic and hilarious

The premise of the franchise is that it follows three women who are private detectives who use their highly trained skill and different backgrounds to solve crimes that the police can’t handle. The movie follows the Angels as they have to track down a genius who created software that created a voice recognition software. Things go wrong when the person they need to find wants to use the software to find and kill Charlie.

This movie gets a bad rap due to films like “Mission: Impossible 2” coming out. “Charlie’s Angels” doesn’t take itself seriously and it doesn’t want the movie goers to take it too seriously either. The plot is simple and easy to follow. The action sequences are well done and exciting to watch. It was never going to win an Oscar, and the director and everyone that worked on it was okay with that. This film is probably the best adaptation of the “Charlie’s Angels” series, including 2011 reboot series, so far.

I highly recommend checking out “Charlie’s Angels,” especially if the reboot trailer got you interested in it. While it looks like it won’t following the same story per se, it will give you a little insight on what to expect with it. The premise of the film/franchise will be the same while it will be new characters and new plot. “Charlie’s Angels” is just a feel good and fun film to watch and enjoy.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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‘Zombieland’ makes apocalypses seem like a blast

Before there were tv shows like “iZombie” or “The Walking Dead,” there wasn’t any sort of shows or movies that made Zombies cool or “hip.” That all changed when “Zombieland.” It’s time to walk down memory lane and talk about everyone favorite Zombie movie. I thought it was fitting

Don’t let them catch you with your pants down

“Zombieland” was released in the fall of 2009. One Year before the start of “The Walking Dead.” It was directed by Ruben Fleischer in his first featured film. Before this, he did a few TV shows like “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” The movie starts Woody Harrison (“Hunger Games” Franchise), Emma Stone (“Superbad”), Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”), and Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network”).

The movie follows a Columbus (Eisenberg) as he tries to survive a zombie-filled world and return to see whether his family is still alive. The people in the US were turned into zombies after a strain of mad cow disease turned them infected them. In order to survive, Columbus has a list of rules that he tries to live by. The movie follows him and allies/friends that he meets as he enters this zombie-filled new world.

The acting in the movie is extremely well done, especially by the people who were the zombies. They came across as extremely believable. They are the true heroes of this movie. The other acting is also very well done. You get the sense for the character within the first 15 minutes of their introduction and whether you like or hate the characters. “Zombieland” allows you to really get to know the characters

The movie itself is very good. It takes a topic like Zombie apocalypses and makes it funny. Before this movie, we really haven’t seen it done like this. Usually, they are grim and horror filled. And when we did get a funny attempt at making a zombie apocalypse funny, it just came off as lame and bad. This movie is just a treat. It’s well produced and visually appealing to the eyes. The action in the movie is also good and slightly gore-y at times. But what is a Zombie movie without a little gore?

The middle of the movie is where the movie starts to drag. It loses the action and the sense of urgency that really got you into the movie. The movie doesn’t drag but it just plateaus in a sense. It doesn’t really add anything to the movie besides in character development. Sure, character development is great and everything but it’s better when it helps move the story along.

“Zombieland” is an extremely well-done comedy that makes Zombie apocalypse seem cool and slight fun. It does drag a little bit in the middle but it’s still a good ride and fun on at that. I highly recommend watching “Zombieland.” Even if Zombies and movies like it aren’t your thing, you will still have a good time with this movie. “Zombieland” keeps gore and horror are kept to a minimum. You won’t be disappointed with “Zombieland.” Unless you are looking for fledged Zombie gory horror movie. Then I would pass at this movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Time to cheat death one final time with ‘Final Destination 5’

We have finally reached the end of the “Final Destination” franchise. After four movies, it’s time to talk about the final movie in the franchise. We have reached the end of the line and personally, I’m okay with it. It’s been a long road to get here and boy, it’s been a mixed ride. Here’s to the final “Final Destination” review! Let’s talk about “Final Destination 5”

For more “Final Destination” reviews:

|“Final Destination”|“Final Destination 2”|”Final Destination 3“|

|”The Final Destination“|

Directed by Steven Quale (He worked with James Cameron), “Final Destination 5” follows the same premise and ideas put forth by the other movies in the installment. It was released in the summer of 2011, the movie stars Nicholas D’Agosto (“The Office,” “Heroes”), Emma Bell (“The Walking Dead,” “Dallas”), Miles Fisher (“Mad Men,” “Gods and Generals”), Arien Escarpeta (“Friday the 13th,” “Whitney”), and David Koechner (“Anchorman,” “The Office”).

The acting is actually rather good. It was much better than what we had gotten in the last two movies. That’s a recurring theme that you will find in this review: better than the last two. This movie is set before the event of the original “Final Destination.” In a sense, “Final Destination 5” took everything back to the drawing board and where it all started. The franchise came full circle.

The movie follows Sam Lawton (D’Agosto) and his girlfriend Molly Harper (Bell) as they try to save their co-workers from death. They were all on their way to a retreat for work when Sam had a vision of all of their deaths when the bridge collapsed and killed everyone but Molly. As I said, it’s pretty much the plot of every other movie that has comes before it. It doesn’t totally change anything with the series but it does add its own flare to things.

This movie is so much better than the two before it. It was reminiscent of what we got in the first and second movie. The deaths were back to being realistic and awesome. The action in the movie wasn’t gimmicky and didn’t feel like they just made the movie for the gimmick. This movie was shot in 3D and did use it so much better than “The Final Destination.” The 3D worked well within the movie and made the deaths more gruesome.
I also like how they added parts from the original movie into this film.

The characterization of each character was rather good. They were able to tell you and get to know each character. There are 11 characters in the movie. A tad bit less than what was in the previous franchise, but you knew tidbits about each character. Some you really shouldn’t, but still. This knowledge made their deaths mean something and not just some random deaths that the viewer wouldn’t care about.

My major complaint with the movie is the use of time. It took almost four minutes to actually get into the movie from the opening credits. Then there was a closing montage of all the deaths in the franchise. Both of these came across as ways to make the movie fit in its slated time. There was also a time where the pacing of the movie was either rushed or going to slow. I wish there was more buildup to important plot points and it would skim through the less important things.

Another complaint I have is that I wish they would dive more into something they added in during this movie. The movie added that if you were to take someone’s life, you would obtain the rest of their lifespan and be safe from death. This was a rather cool addition to the film franchise that I would love to see fully explored if they were to ever reboot the franchise.

“Final Destination 5” is the best way to end the franchise. It returned to its roots and set up what happened in “Final Destination” and the universe. Pacing and time is a major issue with the movie but it can be slightly overlooked by how well done everything is. I do recommend this movie. You don’t even need to watch the ones before it to enjoy the movie. It’s the best way to end the franchise.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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