Aladdin is yet another live-action Disney remake that is a visually impressive spectacle and Will Smith does deliver a charismatic performance, but compared to other recent remakes, it sadly falls flat.
Just like many of the previous live-action iterations, this one does follow its source material faithfully. Mena Massoud is the title character, a street rat in an Egyptian city that desires to have a better life and gets his chance when he falls in love with a beautiful princess named Jasmine (Naomi Scott).
Marwan Kenzari stars as the sinister sorcerer Jafar who desires to have a magic lamp that will give him power. He's told that only a "diamond in the rough" can claim it and he encounters Aladdin who happens to be that diamond. What a coincidence.
Aladdin has to enter the mysterious cave that it's in and once he does, he finds the lamp as well as ancient genie (Will Smith) that can grant him three wishes. You can pretty much take it from there.
Aladdin wishes to be a prince so Jasmine would fall in love with him, but then the Genie happens to have his sights set on Jasmine's handmaiden (Nasim Pedrad).
Let's get the obvious out of the way: Will Smith is very charismatic in the role of the Genie and he does bring his own unique spin on the character. Every time he pops up on screen, he brings another level of energy that the rest of the movie sorely lacks. Still, he's no Robin Williams.
The musical numbers are the same songs, but they don't bring the same amount of wonder or whimsy as its animated counterpart.
The rest of the cast does what they can, but director Guy Ritchie doesn't know what to do to make them stand apart. The romance isn't believable and the treatment of Jafar has zero menace. This live-action remake is much more interested in showcasing dazzling special effects instead of giving us a movie that that could be the original's equal a la, The Jungle Book or Beauty and the Beast.
I think even today's audiences will still prefer the animated version over this one when talking about it. My wish is that future live-action remakes avoid a similar disappointment.
(Rated PG for some action/peril.)