Title – Aladdin (2019)
Director – Guy Ritchie (Snatch)
Cast – Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Billy Magnussen, Nasim Pedrad
Plot – Good natured street dweller Aladdin (Massoud) fights for a magical lamp with an enthusiastic genie (Smith) and for the affection of Princess Jasmine (Scott) in a colourful romp through the Arabian landscape.
“Face it, princess, sometimes you just have to take a risk”
Review by Eddie on 27/05/2019
First some context.
My expectations for Aladdin were about as low as they come.
So-so trailers, seemingly zero positive pre-release hype and a director whose sadly been out of form for time, the stars really did not seem to be aligning for Disney’s latest live action treatment of a beloved property.
It’s great to report then that against all the odds, Guy Ritchie’s colourful, often energetic and sometimes brilliantly fun re-imagining of the classic Aladdin tale is more than watchable, certainly not great and not anywhere near as memorable as the classic Disney animation, but absolutely entertaining enough to justify a trip to the cinema.
Made for the whole family in mind, Ritchie’s take on the age old tale sticks relatively close to the formula of the past with a few new additions (including an extra song for Princess Jasmine and some extended last act amendments) and while Ritchie’s renowned visual flourishes and slick camera movements remain sadly mostly restrained, the renowned British filmmaker handles his first musical and family adventure with a typical confidence that ensures the buzzing sets, large-scale set-pieces and musical numbers will bring a smile to even the most hard to please of faces.
Another reason this new Aladdin remains surprisingly watchable is due to the casting of these beloved characters with newcomers Mena Massoud as street dweller turned prince Aladdin and Naomi Scott as Jasmine both doing fine work, even if Scott is the real MVP of the musical numbers over her co-star.
Both young performers share an easy going chemistry and charisma making their time on screen enjoyable, overshadowed however by the much-maligned Will Smith who silences the doubters with a great incarnation of our much loved blue Genie.
Derided thanks to some mediocre pre-release marketing, Smith is as fun as his been in years as the character made famous by the late Robin Williams with the now 50 year old star giving it his all. While not excelling in the singing department, Smith makes the Genie his own as he takes over the film around the half-way mark and his presence in the film goes a long way to making Ritchie’s adventure yarn a simple to enjoy proposition.
While perfectly fun, its undeniable that Aladdin never truly soars and starts to peter out in the somewhat bloated second act that starts to lose the energetic vibe of the first half and the less said about lead villain Jafar (played rather poorly by Marwan Kenzari) the better, with it becoming rather disappointing such a bland and boring big bad was employed in the film when there was the chance for the scheming character to really chew up the scenery had it been done right.
Final Say –
Far from a classic new take on a beloved tale, Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin is still a visual big screen delight that is a lot better than many had thought it possible to be, bought to life by some fun turns from its up and coming leads and an extremely fun Will Smith performance.
3 jars of jam out of 5