Street thief Aladdin (Mena Massoud) and his monkey Abu, live a spartan life of daily adventure.
When Aladdin stumbles upon Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott), Aladdin catches her eye.
Soon, the Sultan’s evil Vizier, Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) captures Aladdin, and forces the thief to enter the deadly Cave of Wonders to retrieve a magical lamp – but Aladdin keeps it for himself.
Rubbing the lamp, he releases a Genie (Will Smith) who grants him three wishes.
Wishes that will create a Sultan, topple kingdoms and help a boy meet a girl.
“Aladdin” is the next live-action remake of a classic Disney animated feature.
Using a mixture of live actors with CGI effects helps bring this fantasy alive. Unfortunately, this adaptation struggles to get its footing and to leave a lasting impression on audiences.
The opening act of this rags-to-riches narrative fails to grab audiences to bring them into the story.
Jasmine and Aladdin are never portrayed as very distinctive characters – whether it be with their uninspired musical numbers (at least in the first half of the film), featureless dialogue or the unimaginative story.
Jasmine and Aladdin feel imprisoned within their lives. Yet, when Aladdin suddenly gains a station in life – that of a prince – he realizes what really matters – truth and honesty.
Massoud’s Aladdin is a perfect representation of the animated thief – flat and two-dimensional.
Scott’s Jasmine gives a good performance and her musical numbers get stronger as the film unfolds.
The main element of entertainment in this film has always been the comical and caring Genie played here by Will Smith. His Genie cannot and should not be compared to the unforgettable Robin Williams’ version. However, Smith needed to create a new genie persona, but instead played a blue wise-cracking Will Smith.
The effects are outstanding with the charming magic carpet being a highlight.
This film had the opportunity to create an incredible live action story set within the beautiful Middle Eastern culture using wondrous effects as memorable characters sing their thoughts and emotions. Instead, “Aladdin” will need a genie and more wishes to polish this tarnished tale.