Aladdin

Directed by Guy Ritchie best known for such comedy crime films as 1998’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and 2000’s Snatch, Aladdin is a live-action remake of the classic Disney animated movie released in 1992 that is full of CGI spectacle but does not come close to the original with its remarkable voice acting of Robin Williams. Set in a fictional Middle Eastern kingdom, the story follows the street thief Aladdin, played by Canadian actor of Egyptian ancestry Mena Massoud, who falls in love with the Sultan’s daughter Princess Jasmine, played by English actress of Indian ancestry Naomi Scott. After he is led to a secretive cave by the villainous advisor to the sultan Jafar, played by the Dutch actor of Tunisian ancestry Marwan Kenzari, Aladdin comes into possession of a magical lamp after he steals it from the power-hungry Jafar. Aladdin soon discovers that the lamp contains the powerful and magical Genie, played by a blue colored Will Smith, who enjoys putting on a show and making jokes but also has the ability to grant Aladdin three wishes. However, Will Smith’s character comes off way too silly and does not even come close to replicating the comedic genius of Robin Williams’ Genie. Aladdin decides to use the wishes to better pursue Princess Jasmine as his love interest and one way to do that is to magically become a prince from an unheard-of land. Despite the helpfulness of Genie who is obviously the comic relief of the movie, the situation becomes complicated especially with interference from Jafar who wants to become Sultan by all means. Similar to the original, the movie is filled with sometimes random musical numbers that are not quite as effective as they were in the animated version. Overall, I found it a mildly entertaining film that does a good job of creating a fantastical world while also importantly using a cast largely composed of actors of Middle Eastern descent, but it also beg the questions of why did the classic animated feature need to be remade and whether Guy Ritchie and Will Smith were the right fit for this particular movie.

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