Genre: Adventure | Comedy| Family |
Runtime: 128 min
Director: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Mena Massoud
A kind-hearted street urchin and a power-hungry Grand Vizier vie for a magic lamp that has the power to make their deepest wishes come true.
THE ENTERTAINMENT IS JUST TEMPORARY, JUST LIKE MAGIC.
Guy Ritchie, the director of both Sherlock Holmes and The Man from U.N.C.L.E, has a specific style in directing. How he edits, how he tells the story in a refreshing way. Often his movies trademark with some slow-motion clips and quick editing. That’s his known trademarks. Sometimes he succeeds with his movies, sometimes he doesn’t. The last job he had was King Arthur: Legend of Sword, that had a massive and interesting beginning but derailed quickly in a self-destructive narrative.
But he seems to know what he’s doing. Remember also, this is a musical movie too with several music numbers for the characters to speak out their mind. It has that element in the original animated movie from 1992, with the same name. The animated movie, the original with Robin Williams as the Genie, was almost flawless because it made everything believable.
The plot is very simple. Aladdin is showcased as a simple thief and meets Jasmine from the Sultan Palace. First, she ain’t interested in him. He meets the vasir to the Sultan, Jafar. Jafar offers him the best he could offer him. Jafar promises that he would Jasmine with the lamp in return. Jafars tricks Aladdin and left him in the cave. He finds the lamp and gets out. He now meets the Genie and wishes to be a prince. From the moment he’s a prince, it goes on as the known formula of a Disney movie.
Nothing is dangerous. There are some dark scenes but we all know how it’s going to end, right? Jasmine and Aladdin are getting married, Jafar is defeated and the Genie is free, after thousands of years trapped in the lamp. This is textbook a Disney movie with influence from Smith and Ritchie. But it’s still entertaining and gives some exciting moments along the way, combined with nostalgia trips.
This movie tries to bland both the realism and the fantasy to the narrative, and it works partly. The direction of the movie is solid because its mainly characterized and that is the core of the whole story. That it’s what drives the story forward in an interesting way. It also tries to modernize how the narrative structure changes. There are some plot twist and some plot holes.
The dialogue and acting are all decent. Naomi Scott as Jasmine is the best of all the actors. The actor who plays Aladdin, Mena Massoud, feels flat and utterly boring sometimes. He doesn’t have the right energy and everything he does is either wrong or destructive. Will Smith, the big name in this film, does a weirdly OK job to manage the role after Williams. His character design shifts sometime and the visual doesn’t always bring the character alive, at least not in the way I would like. He has some jokes but nothing good. His genie is turned to a gangster or hip-hop version of the character. His own version.
The visual effects don’t even add it up. It restrains itself and feels all overused or distracting from the plot. By the end, the use of visual effects is all too much to bear. It’s a massacre of visual and special effects. So, it could’ve been better. What’s needs to be done is not to rush it, especially the third act that was filled with failures.