Disney’s new live-action Aladdin certainly offers up “a whole new world”, just not a particularly better one.
The revamped and reimagined version of Aladdin takes the story we all remember from the classic 1992 animated movie and blows it up for a more blockbuster outing on the big screen.
If you’re a Disney purist and a diehard fan of the original, then I’m sorry to say that you might be a little underwhelmed with British director Guy Ritchie’s take on the tale, but the trick is to go into it with an open mind.
In the film, Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is a thieving street urchin living in the fictional desert kingdom of Agrabah with his pet monkey/best friend, Abu.
One day in the marketplace he rescues and then befriends Princess Jasmine of Agrabah (Naomi Scott), who has been hidden away from sight since her mother was murdered many years ago. Jasmine is attempting to explore the kingdom she’s been separated from, all because instead of marrying a foreign Prince to rule the kingdom she wants to be the Sultan herself.
While sneaking into the palace to return Jasmine’s stolen bracelet, not knowing yet that she is the princess as she has been posing as her handmaiden Dahlia, Aladdin is arrested by Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) and taken to the Cave of Wonders to obtain the Genie’s lamp.
Of course, Aladdin ends up securing the lamp himself and begins using his three wishes to change his life and morph into a Prince in order to impress Jasmine.
While the lush and lavish sets and costumes in Aladdin provide a tasty feast for your eyes, there are a few pieces of this puzzle that really just don’t fit together.
The characters take a little warming up to, the iconic songs that scored two Academy Awards back in the day are strangely lacklustre in this adaption (there’s also an original tune jammed in there that will haunt my dreams forever, but more on that later) and Jafar just doesn’t seem all that threatening a villain when not in cartoon form.
And yet, somehow, this new Aladdin is packing just enough magic to make it an enjoyable watch, and most of that on-screen magic can be traced back to just one name.
Without a doubt, Will Smith, who plays the movie's floating, blue and wise-cracking Genie is the MVP of this new Aladdin.