Disney takes a risk at hiring British writer/director Guy Ritchie for their live action remake of their classic animated ALADDIN with Robin Williams as the genie.
ALADDIN is a Persian tale from the 1001 Arabian Nights stories, but the film somehow comes across as mixed Bollywood (Indian) , which is really strange considering that most of the actors are from Iran or Egypt. It does to help that the dance sequences where the actors ham it up during the closing credits looks typical from a Bollywood musical.
What is expected from an Arabian Nights film is provided with no surprises. There is a chase through a busy bazaar, a villain who wishes to usurp the throne, a King who wants to marry his daughter to a prince, unsuitable suitors, a poor beggar who turns up to be the handsome prince and so on.
Aladdin is a street thief in the city of Agrabah who falls for the princess who is never allowed out of the palace grounds. The King fears for her safety. The villain of the piece wants the throne and knows of the existence of the lamp and the genie. Aladdin finds the lamp and the genie grants him three wishes. The genie wants to be free and this would be Aladdin’s last wish: to free the genie. In the meantime, there is the boring romantic affair between Aladdin and the princess amidst some dancing and silly songs, with some fight scenes included. It also feels that director Ritchie is looking for any excuse to insert his special effects action sequences.
The two young leads Mean Massoud (a Canadian with Egyptian background) and Naomi Scott (British) as Princess Jasmine are quite the perfectly looking couple. Marwan Kenzari Marwan Kenzari fares better as the conniving villain Jafar, the nefarious and deceptive sorcerer, and Grand Vizier Agrabah and the Sultan’s chief advisor whose name precedes him.
ALADDIN is here a musical, with songs that are indistinguishable from one another. The film has nothing new up in terms of tricks or story. The supposedly plot twist in tricking the villain with his last genie wish does not make any sense if one considers the logic behind the reasoning. The addition of the new character, Prince Anders (Billy Magnussen) – the foreign suitor from Skanland is as ridiculous as his character. ALADDIN comes more than a predictable romantic comedy which lasts two hours – too long for a typical rom com. The part with the Will Smith telling a fable on a ship to his two children is also totally predictable from the start where the story was leading to. The magic of ALADDIN is truly gone.