In 1992 Disney had a good game recreating a fantasy world in which to set the animation inspired by the cult of 1940 The thief of Baghdad, but today it is serious. Last of the long series of Live Action remakes of the Classics of Studios, Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin takes us back to the most evocative Jordan to give life to that legend, once more. At his orders Will Smith & Co. invaded the Wadi Rum site to recount the adventurous story of Aladdin (Mena Massoud), a lovable street boy anxious to give up his rogue life because he believed he was destined for something more great.
But in the city of Agrabah also the Sultan’s daughter, Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott), cultivates dreams of escape. Of a life far from the palace, which saves her the marriage arranged for her by her father, the Sultan (Navid Negahban). When Jasmine visits the market disguised as a common woman, Aladdin comes to her rescue and is immediately struck by her beauty and her impetuous spirit, although she has no idea of her true identity. After following her to the palace, he is involved in the evil plan of the powerful sorcerer Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) to take over the throne and comes into possession of a magical oil lamp. In which the Genius (Will Smith) lives, with whom Aladdin makes friends and who will prove decisive in the dangerous challenge that awaits the two boys
Although several scenes were shot at Longcross Studios in Surrey (in the gigantic set as big as two football fields used for the city of Agrabah), in the autumn of 2017 the most significant locations used were Jordanian ones. A desert also known as the Valley of the Moon, which since 2011 is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And that in the past we had already seen in films like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Survivor – The Martian or Indiana Jones and the last crusade and Lawrence of Arabia. “Aladdin has its roots in this region – remembered Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, president of the Royal Film Commission, during the presentation – and so we are very grateful that the cast and crew returned to present the film in Amman” .
“Jordan has not only provided the wonderful landscape in which to set such a beautiful story, but also all the support necessary to make the film a success”, princess Rym al-Ali, interim administrative director of the Jordan Film Commission, had anticipated it. And the local commitment to make the story materialize again on the screen, regardless of the umpteenth accusations of whitewashing, materialized in the support provided … Both for the sequences set also in the splendid Wadi Disi, and for the time spent outside the set to visit the local wonders, such as the visit to Petra of the team that Will Smith had commented on his social media “was on my wish list for about 20 years. It’s crazy!”
“In those deserts there have been many wonderful historical events … – they were the words of the American actor. – We were able to perceive them in the nuances of light and rocks. The atmosphere is epic and I think that there is no more epic place than this “The most important epic film of all time, Lawrence of Arabia, was shot in these very places.” “It’s always great to shoot in real locations – he continued: – you have the opportunity to really immerse yourself in that space and this provides an extra level of authenticity to the interpretations. And I believe that the contrast between the real earth and the visual effects will really be special”.