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| 6 June 2019 | Reply

Written by John August & Guy Ritchie
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Starring Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

The poster for this ultramegabudget live action do-over of Aladdin tells us a lot about this movie: an earnest lad, a charming girl, and a cheeky blue dude – handsome all – coveting a lamp whilst an even cheekier monkey looks on and dark forces lightly threaten in the background.

That mischievous blue dude is, of course, Will Smith as The Genie, wearing his finest “feeling cute, might grant someone three wishes later, idk” grin, and he earns every bit of his ultramegabudget-swelling pay packet with a high energy and playful performance that is, let’s be honest, the only thing keeping this from being a pretty dull affair.

The story will be no surprise to anyone, being based on the Arabian Knights stories of long ago. Street urchin Aladdin meets princess Jasmine, who is about the city incognito. A misunderstanding or two later, a magic lamp with resident wish-granting Genie is in play, a few big production number songs and our heroes face off against the bad guy, Marwan Kenzari as Jafar.

Guy Ritchie directs Aladdin as pretty much everything that Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels wasn’t – everything about this film screams glamour and big budget, from the superb exotic colour-bomb set designs, costumes and production values, through to it’s intended audience, which is firmly family friendly and youngster viewers.

Charming our leads may be, but their charisma pales next to Smith, and Disney have returned to their original ethos here, so there’s no sly winks for the grown-ups, just purely kid-friendly adventure of the old school style.

It makes for a one-dimensional film, and an over-long one at that, but Aladdin is not without it’s charm and there are laughs and gasps to be had, just don’t expect it to bring much new to the well-worn tale.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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