Guy Ritchie makes an unlikely addition to his directorial resume in this fun, yet standard addition to Disney’s live-action vault.
The cheeky street urchin Aladdin (Mena Massoud) has a problem: He yearns for Jasmine (Naomi Scott) a princess far beyond his pay-grade. You won’t recognize Jasmine from her cartoon origins. She no longer dreams only of love; she would like to succeed her father the sultan (Navid Negahban) and make (pay-grade?) decisions for her country. While a likable Will Smith can’t replicate the mad-cap energy Robin Williams brought to Genie (an impossible ask, in his defence) he does put his own fresh prints on the role.
If Marvel and Star Wars weren’t enough for the The Mouse House - who has now absorbed 20th Century Fox in its somewhat terrifying vie for world domination - then the ongoing remakes, or in some instances regurgitation, of its animated classics are sure to keep investors happy. This, though, thanks to the energy of Ritchie and Smith, is an Aladdin made with tremendous verve. What could have been a cynical exercise in repackaging an old hit turns out to be an invigorating ride. (Jack Whiting) Which indeed it is. Off with the critics, come for your own joy.