Film Review: Aladdin

01:00 May 28, 2019
By: Fritz Esker

The Disney live-action remake train keeps rolling with director Guy Ritchie's Aladdin. It's by no means an insult to the original, but it also fails to do much to justify its existence.

Mena Massoud plays the title character, a street urchin with a crush on Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). The sultan's vizier (Marwan Kenzari) wants the throne and sends Aladdin on a quest to find a magical lamp. Things go wrong, Aladdin rubs the lamp and a genie (Will Smith) emerges to grant him three wishes.

The main story beats are mostly the same from the original. However, Disney's 1992 animated film is a tight, economical piece of filmmaking at 90 minutes. The new one runs 128 minutes, and none of the additions (a romantic subplot for the genie, a new song) are particularly memorable. As many on the Internet noted when trailer was released, the special effects to turn Smith blue are not convincing, to say the least.

On the good news front, what's charming about the original works well here, too. "A Whole New World" and "Friend Like Me" remain fun songs. The main characters are likable and Scott and Massoud do fine work bringing them to life.

But the above isn't enough to keep this remake from feeling unnecessary. When the original Aladdin came out, Disney was in the middle of a renaissance where it created clever, entertaining new films for audiences of all ages. Hopefully, Disney gets over its remake addiction soon and gets back to creating more original work.

** ½ stars (out of four)

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