Tag Archives: Mena Massoud

The Royal Treatment Movie Review

The Cinderella narrative is one that has been part of our cultural history for centuries. The prospect of a poor young woman winning the heart of the prince is a potent one that still fires up imaginations and dreams.

In the new Netflix movie, The Royal Treatment, Isabella (Laura Marano) is the owner of a hair salon in New York City. Not afraid to share her opinion, she is known for her open heart and her dreams of seeing the world. Her life takes an unexpected twist when she is hired to cut the hair of Prince Thomas of Lavania (Mena Massoud). Thomas is used to being deferential to duty and the expectations placed upon him based upon his title.

Impressed by her work and her attitude, Thomas extends an invitation to Isabella and two of her colleagues to help him and his fiance, Lauren (Phoenix Connelly) get ready for their big day. As expected, they fall in love, but there are obstacles to their happiness.

The best word to describe it is cute. It’s one of those films that is watchable and entertaining, but not very deep. We all know how the story starts, where it is going, and where it will end. That being said, I appreciate the casting of Massoud as Prince Thomas. It’s nice to see a non-Caucasian actor playing this kind of role.

Another thing I liked was the portrayal of Lauren, Thomas’s fiance. It wouldnt have been a stretch to write her as the baddie who is only marrying him for the status and wealth that comes with being a princess. But she is written in a way that I feel for her as much as I do for Thomas.

The only issue I have is the portrayal of NYC and the characters who call her home. The image is almost stereotypical. It sort of has the flavor of the city, but that flavor is merely surface level. Maybe another viewer who does not know her like those of us who live here might be ok with it, but I am not. I wish the screenwriter had dug a little deeper to reveal her true character.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Fairy Tales, Movie Review, Movies, Netflix, New York City

Aladdin Movie Review

I will try to make this review as spoiler free as I can, but if you have not seen the movie, I will not be bothered if you only read this review after you have been to the movie theater.

Hollywood has been addicted to reboots since it’s inception. Over the past few years, Disney has added to the general idea of reboots by releasing live action versions of their classic animated films. The most recent film in this sub-genre is Aladdin.

Like it’s 1992 animated predecessor, the film is set in Agrabah, a fictional Middle Eastern city. Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is an orphan who lives by the seat of his pants and whatever food he can steal. One day, he meets Jasmine (Naomi Scott), who is Princess of Agrabah. Locked in the palace, she yearns for freedom and escapes to the anonymity of the Agrabah marketplace.

Aladdin is roped into Grand Vizier Jafar’s (Marwan Kenzari) plan to find a mysterious lamp in a mythical cave. But Jafar is less than honest and leaves Aladdin to die. Inside the cave, Aladdin meets Genie (Will Smith), who offers him the possibilities that he could have only imagined of before.

When the original film was released back in 1992, I was a child and had a completely different view than I do now as an adult. Director Guy Ritchie surprised me. I’ve never seen any of his previous films, but based on the trailers, I can’t say that any of them were aimed at or appropriate for the audience that typically sees a Disney film. However, Ritchie and his creative team were able to create a film that is an homage to its predecessor while standing on it’s own two feet.

Two major changes that from my perspective elevated this film from the 1992 animated film was the expansion of Jasmine as a character and the casting of actors whose ethnic background matches the ethnicity of the characters. Instead of just giving lip service to feminism, Jasmine is truly a character in her own right. Not only does she wear more clothes, but she is more than arm candy to the man who she will potentially call husband. In the casting for this movie, the actors who were ultimately chosen are of South Asian or Middle Eastern descent. The specific choice of actors adds a level of authenticity that is lacking in the 1992 film.

Speaking of changes to the film, I was very impressed with Will Smith’s version of Genie. Robin Williams’s performance a quarter of a century ago can never be duplicated. However, Smith is able to put his own spin on the character while showing respect to Williams’s Genie.

Though the film is over two hours, it does not fee like it is over two hours. The narrative has a nice pace and the musical sequences fit in nicely with the overall story.

If I had one takeaway from this film (as was the same takeaway from the 1992 film), it was that being yourself is the most important thing and you should never change who you are to please someone else.

I recommend it.

Aladdin is presently in theaters.

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Thoughts On the New Aladdin Trailer

Reboots have been the rage in Hollywood since the beginning of Hollywood. Over the last few years, Disney has capitalized on this reboot fever by releasing live action remakes of their classic animated films. With the success of The Jungle Book in 2016 and Beauty and the Beast in 2017, some might say that they are using nostalgia as a way to fill up movie theaters.

This week, the complete trailer for the live action reboot of Aladdin was released.

 

I have to admit that I am impressed with the trailer. It looks like a fun movie, even though a part of me will always love the 1992 animated film. I appreciate that the cast is ethnically accurate to the world that Aladdin is set in. Stepping into the animated shoes created in 1992 by Scott Weinger and Linda Larkin are Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott.  I am also impressed by Will Smith as Genie. Though he will never be able to replace Robin Williams’s version of the character, I have a feeling that Smith will bring his own unique sensibilities and flair to Genie.

Will I be seeing the movie when it hits theaters in the spring? The answer is likely yes.

 

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