Film Review – Aladdin

Aladdin (PG)

Directed by: Guy Ritchie

Starring: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott

Three and a half stars

Review by: Julian Wright

With pop culture currently riding the relentless wave of nostalgia, it comes as little surprise that Disney has released another live action remake of its own animation.

Just last month we saw Tim Burton’s version of Dumbo, and there are plenty more in the pipeline with other familiar titles being re-jigged and sequelised.

Aladdin has now been dusted off and given new life with its own live action version.

While living on the streets of desert kingdom Agrabah, poor Aladdin (Mena Massoud) meets Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) and the two immediately fall in love.

When Aladdin comes into contact with a precious lamp, he releases the Genie (Will Smith) and is given three wishes – one of which he uses to become a Prince so he can marry the Princess.


Meanwhile, the shifty Jafar (Marwen Kenzari) will try any sneaky way to overthrow the Sultan and rule Agrabah himself.

The script has been tweaked and expanded to flesh out some characters, add new ones and more musical numbers to differentiate itself from the original. In fact, this one has an extra 40 minutes of action.

It is all a perfectly pleasant experience that doesn’t always hit the mark and seems to resemble the stage production more than the animated film.

Will Smith had huge shoes to fill after Robin Williams created such an iconic character with just his voice in 1992, but despite the assistance of big budget CGI, Smith fails to leave a lasting impression.

Known throughout his career for his cheek, sass, and big personality, Smith somehow feels restrained in a role that is designed to allow the actor to completely let loose. However, he and Massouri are charming to watch together as their on-screen relationship blossoms.

Is Aladdin 2019 memorable? Not particularly. But will you have a good time? Very likely with the kaleidoscope of colours, impressive sets and charming cast on display.

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