Choose wisely.

Guy Ritchie directs this live-action retelling of the 1992 Disney classic, with Will Smith the wish-granting Genie.... More

Young Aladdin (Mena Massound, Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan) embarks on a magical adventure after finding a lamp that releases a wisecracking genie.Hide

Flicks Review

Guy Ritchie's Aladdin reveals its limitations from the very start with opening song Arabian Nights proving Will Smith isn't a singer. Sure, he can hold a note, a compliment you'd give a pal during Cosplay Night at a karaoke bar. But for a blockbuster musical, Smith severely lacks range and projection. I don't want to be too hard on him here because, in every other area, he truly justifies his casting as Genie.

This couldn't be clearer than the absolutely outstanding rendition of Friend Like Me. Not only does it accommodate the Big Willie Style of non-singing, it visually goes full-on Doctor Strange with an eye-engulfing montage reminiscent of the animated original and excellent dance segments honouring the Broadway adaptation. I nearly applauded like a parent who just saw their 3-year-old pull off a triple backflip.

Both set-pieces, contrasting in quality, accurately depict how the film itself wobbles between lame and good. On the lame side, this live-action Jafar feels less like a serpent-tongued sorcerer and more like a snivelling accountant who feels self-entitled to a promotion—he's neither menacing nor fun to watch. The Sultan's no fun either, rendered to a mere just-say-the-lines role that leaves a lot to be desired.

Subdued characters don't suit the larger-than-life world of Agrabah, which is gorgeously constructed and dressed by a typically muscular Disney production house. Fortunately, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott feel right at home as Aladdin and Jasmine, delivering buoyant performances from start to finish.

And that brings us back to Genie. While the animated Aladdin crafted its wish-granter around Robin Williams's rocket-fuelled persona, this version runs with Will Smith's naturally chilled charisma. Singing aside, it's a welcomed change-up that brings this super charming Genie more to Aladdin's speed, allowing the pair to converse a little deeper with ideas surrounding privilege, genuineness, and that fact that—ya know—Genie's technically a slave and slavery's crap.

Jasmine's subplot gains a fair boost too, one that grants her more distinction as a leader of the people. (Some dudes may scream "That's not historically plausible!" at a film that sees a CGI monkey flying a magic carpet inside a sand lion.) She also gets a new song too blunt and generically pop for even Carly Rae Jepsen, but I hope you like the track since they play it twice.

Along with a completely different climax and the fact that it gives people of colour the spotlight, it's the modifications in Ritchie's enjoyable take on Aladdin that ultimately justifies its existence—even if it bends a few nails in the execution. With that said, it's disappointing they didn't use this opportunity to keep the accents consistent. It's distracting and very questionable to hear American-sounding Aladdin and Jasmine in a land otherwise populated with Arabic voices.

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 5 ratings, 1 reviews
Reviewed & Rated by
Your rating & review
Rate / Review this movie

BY aleanaf lister

Disney's newest live-action adaptation of the classic film 'Aladdin' is not exactly what we wished for but it's not the worst either. The 1992 version was charming and some memorable songs that the 2019 version tried to captivate but wasn't exactly all there.

The movie begins with a montage sequence as it goes through the city of Agrabah, as 'Arabian Night' plays. With the extra runtime, I'm surprised how much they cut down from the beginning of the film and rushed the meeting between Jasmine... More and Aladdin. Exposition is key to establishing key characters, and this breezed through it.

The characters Aladdin (played by Mena Massoud) and Jasmine (Naomi Scott) are admirable at best but were a bit 'vanilla'. Aladdin's cute and awkward nervousness were exaggerated a bit too much which didn't translate well in a live-action, however luckily still had some charming elements.
Jasmine was more fierce and the theme of 'female empowerment' was prevalent in the film which matched well to the confidence of actress Naomi Scott.
Jafar was bland and could have been so much more dark and evil as an overall character. Did not exactly enjoy the scenes with him.

Surprisingly, the Genie (Will Smith) was probably one of the best parts of the film despite being made into countless memes prior to the release. Although he does not beat Robin William's genie, it is a respectable attempt and made it his own to fit his own personality. Almost like if Will Smith combined Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Aladdin. Adding his own magical twists to songs such as 'Friend like Me' and 'Prince Ali'.

The storyline follows most of what consists of the original film with some added new scenes which shows a new perspective of the character. The cinematography is beautiful with enjoyable musical numbers. The SFX is great and was able to enhance the magical elements.
Wouldn't say it's as good as the original, but I'm not madHide

Showing 1 of 1 reviews. See all reviews

The Press Reviews

  • Colourful, lively and diverting, with some highly emotive songs, but never escapes the shadow of its inspiration. Full Review

  • In the end, with its dazzling song-and-dance numbers, scheming villains and caste-busting tale of boy-meets-girl, this feels less like Arabian Nights and more like Disney's first Bollywood blockbuster. Full Review

  • The movie itself, while not entirely terrible - a lot of craft has been purchased, and even a little art - is pointless in a particularly aggressive way. Full Review

  • A throwback to the 1950s and the heyday of the MGM musical, when various countries and cultures were packaged into vibrant confections of song, dance, exotic sets and costumes... Ritchie has come up with something that fits right in. Full Review

  • Where there should be wonder, there is CGI. And where there should be a fun and exciting comedic presence with the Genie, we get Will Smith doing his best Kazaam impression. Full Review

  • The combination of diverse casting and female empowerment themes results in a perfectly politically correct Aladdin for these times. Full Review

  • Will Smith is at his best when he makes the role his own, but he never quite captures the magic that made us fall in love with Genie the first time around. Full Review

The Talk
79 %

Want to see it

What say you?