A couple weeks ago, my neighbour and I watched the 2009 Bollywood movie Aladin. Apart from the story it’s based on and the name of the love interest it has so little to do with Disney’s Aladdin that maybe I shouldn’t even post about it on a Disney blog, but I enjoyed it so thoroughly that I’m going to anyway!
This movie seems to have received mainly negative reviews from critics, who criticized the movie for adding too many new elements that distract from the charm of the original Aladdin story. I would agree that certain aspects of the story aren’t given enough time to develop, and I would add to that my frustration with Jasmine’s being an expert at karate only until the exact moment when the screenwriter wanted her to be a damsel in distress. I also might point out that Aladin’s classmates teasing him about his name for over a decade threatened my suspension of disbelief a lot more than a magical man who lives in a lamp ever has. But despite all of this, I found the movie to be really entertaining. I think I was in exactly the right mood for an enthusiastic but totally ridiculous take on a favourite story, and this movie delivered exactly that. I even enjoyed the new dramatic backstory that they added to the relationship between Aladdin and his genie.
The genie character, who in this movie is named Genius, is in some ways the complete opposite of Robin Williams’ interpretation of the character. I was glad to see this and I think it really worked. Genius is always perfectly dressed, always confident and in control. I think this interpretation perfectly suits a character who has almost unlimited powers. It also adds a bit of mystery to the character that I found really interesting. Genius was a definite highlight of the movie for me. Embedded above is “Genie Rap,” my favourite of the movie’s songs, which I think gives you an idea both of Genius’s personality and of the movie’s earnest ridiculousness. Two other songs I enjoyed (no subtitles on any of these, unfortunately!):
· “Tak Dhina Dhin”: The first song sung by Genius. I swear the dance moves from 2:51 to 2:55 are taken straight from Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous,” which is kind of fantastic hahaha.
· “Bachke O Bachke”: I love that the heroes and villains take five minutes before the final showdown to sing about it! In this video you can also see my favourite of the antagonists, a fire-breathing woman who never speaks and always wears a solid white mask. I really wonder what her story is.