Movie Review — Men In Black International (Bad) Aladdin (Awesome!)

image courtesy Disney via imdb

Over the weekend, I ended up watching two movies back to back. I was enroute to Place C, from Place A with a stop at Place B. However, it was only after reaching Place B, I found out that the bus for Place C is about a day away. So, I spent the entire day at the mall in a strange city that I have never visited. Hence the two movies watching business.

MIB International and Aladdin. I fully expected to enjoy MIB and may be, kind of, time pass on Aladdin.

But, as it turns out, Aladdin was the more enjoyable experience. Even more impressive considering that I was almost asleep due to travel fatigue and it was the second movie in a row, having watched MIB only a few hours ago.

MIB International — Just plain bad movie

image courtesy Sony via imdb

I love science fiction, especially so, when it has a heavy dose of comedy. I also like buddy cop movies. Alien stuff, obviously. Shiny weapons and general coolness. In that sense, the MIB movies have always been a unique blend of violent but family friendly action. They are light on story, filled with visual puns, callbacks, gags and special effects.

Essential to the experience is the American setting. Specifically, New York. I have never visited that city but in the MIB universe, it is a crazy city. New Yorker’s will apparently see a giant squid monster ride through the subway (MIB 2) and not bat an eye. John Wick’s universe comes to mind. This craziness gives it a unique sense of fun. There are also subtle jabs about immigration (aliens, like people) and mysterious, real life government agents.

MIB International, without Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, grows dull quickly. It is missing that New York city connection. The coolness is less (the suits are barely worn and the glasses are gone, making it look less MIB and more like a travel episode). Also, buddy comedies dont really work well with mixed genders. It should be either two girls or two guys. If they really wanted to have women emphasis, they could have simply gone with two female enforcers. That would have just fine.

The story is, something something boring. Some alien guy is once again disposing off some artifact on Earth and MIB has to collect it. It is the same story from the last three movies. For some reason, movies keep shoving Chris Hemsworth with comedic roles. He was great in Ragnarok but, he was not great in Ghostbusters and that Vacation movie, with the huge penis and faucet jokes. His partner, here, I dont know what she is going for. Sometimes, she is serious, other times, she is funny. I dont know. i dont get the chemistry here.

Sony is not Marvel. This is not the cinematic universe. Most of the aliens look generic, and it looks low budget. All in all, I did not enjoy this, at all. It’s just a bad movie.

Aladdin — An Enjoyable Musical

image courtesy Disney via imdb

I enjoy Disney musicals. The direction is always top notch. The music is great. They are so enjoyable. The acting is good. The special effects are top of the line (spared no expense). Colourful. All in all, most of the time, they get it right.

I did not watch Dumbo. Tim Burton + Disney = don't watch. Aladdin, primarily because of the Genie look, I was put off. I have seen the cartoon edition. I was about to skip this one but circumstances. I am glad I was stalled for a day at Place B.

The story is the same as before. Street thief, Aladdin is a good guy. He steals only what he wants to survive. He’s brave and kind. There is the bad guy, Jafar. Genie, obviously, granting wishes and being super funny and excellent wing man. Pricess, yes, beautiful and totally hot. Jafar wants to become Sultan (although he is already pretty powerful in the movie. I dont really get why he would care to be Sultan. He already has a cushy life and can easily mind control his lord) so he wants the lamp. Aladdin picks it up and ends up with the Genie.

There is also a talking monkey. The awesome carpet. They are the best and things get emotional (standard Disney fare). On the big screen, in 3D, we forget, how silly Will Smith looks. When he turns full human, he looks sillier in those Arabian dresses. Yet, in the context, it works. With all the colours and the singing and dancing. Very charmingly staged.

I am sure, it is not all CGI. There is a lot of practical effects used. The ending is very contrived (but, it is a fairy tale and the movie should not overstay its welcome). Disney, these days, cannot help themselves but add some women empowerment (like they did in Endgame with that narm filled women come together scene) to Jasmine. She is constantly telling that she is silenced. Although, everybody around her, do nothing but encourage and support her. I am probably missing something here.

image courtesy Disney via imdb

Speaking of the princess, Naomi Scott, is really the best princess in all of Disney musicals. She looks the part. She has that elegance. She looks great in those Arabian clothes. She is hot as hell. For me, she really sold the movie despite the forced ‘I am silenced’ plot points which keep coming out of nowhere. Will Smith is also fantastic as the Genie (both in special effects and as the human character). Lastly, Aladdin, the main character seems almost forgettable.

He’s okay. He’s kind of there. Also, the tiger does not do much. I remember that it had a more prominent role in the animated edition. I thought the monkey was more remarkable than the person playing Aladdin.

All in all, Great music, Good Genie and the super hot princess make this one of the best Disney musicals in recent times.



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