Walt Disney Pictures
Written by John August and Guy Ritchie
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Starring Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban and Nasim Pedrad
Synopsis: A kind-hearted street urchin Aladdin vies for the love of the beautiful princess Jasmine, the princess of Agrabah. When he finds a magic lamp, he uses a genie’s magic power to make himself a prince in order to marry her. He is also on a mission to stop the powerful Jafar who plots to steal the magic lamp that could make his deepest wishes come true.
The live action remake of the Disney classic has some big shoes to fill. Not only does it have to maintain the wonder and magic of the original, but Will Smith has to somehow transcend the role made famous by Robin Williams and deliver a genie that is entertaining and magical as well.
Visually, the film looks stunning. Guy Ritchie is able to paint with a huge canvas and he does some impressive work with the camera, getting some amazing shots filled with action and adventure. As far as the story goes, that is where things get troublesome. The story is familiar enough and they hit all the story beats, but the pacing seemed off. Moments that could have enhanced the characters through their interactions seemed forced to an early conclusion and moments that should have organically moved the plot along were slowed down, removing the tension.
The music was great and all of the familiar songs are there, but there is one song added for Princess Jasmine that felt tacked on and unnecessary. Mena Massoud is charming as Aladdin and he does a great job with the role. Naomi Scott is amazing as Jasmine as well and there is a chemistry between the two of them on screen. Marwan Kenzari’s Jafar never really attained the level of menace necessary to make him a threat. My favorite interactions in the film actually belonged to Will Smith and Nasim Pedrad as Jasmine’s handmaiden Dalla. Their moments together are both sweet and genuinely funny because of Pedrad’s expert timing.
Aladdin is a relatively solid retelling of the animated original. When it succeeds, it is magical and visually appealing. When it fails, it fails big.