Just about all reviews seem to draw comparison with the 1992 animation of the story with Robin Williams voicing the Genie. That I can spare you as I never saw the earlier film - though we've all seen on T.V. clips of extracts of Williams' unique, madcap contribution. There's no doubt that Will Smith had a formidable act to follow and to do it without showing a conspicuous indebtedness to his predecessor - and I must say that he largely achieves that feat. However........
The early part of the film and the scenes sans Genie (who only appears getting on for an hour into this two-hours plus feature) are awfully stretched out and, frankly, I found dull, save for a couple of very lively and impressive big-scale song and dance sequences. As for the romance between Aladdin (Mena Massoud) and the Princess (Naomi Scott) I felt no convincing charge at all between them. Why he should fall for, on just her very first appearance, such a nose-in-the-air, supercilious young woman is beyond me. I can only think that for him physical attractiveness is everything - but it is, after all, a 'fairy tale' of sorts so we're not in the authenticity game. The villain of the peace (Marwan Kenzari - hot!), who tries to wrest the magic lamp from Aladdin is by far the most interesting character - well, after Smith's Genie.
The Genie's appearances themselves are rather amusing, witty in quick-change visuals rather than in verbal repartee. But his presences are so limelight-stealing that whenever he was gone I was longing for his return, and there the film kept sagging.
Something I could have done without is the crashingly overwhelming music backing score which all but obliterates the words which the characters are trying to sing. (In Aladdin's first song I couldn't catch one single word!). And it's not just the songs, the unnecessary score sometimes covers up the dialogue too.
I was drawn to seeing this mainly because I thought having Guy Ritchie at the helm was an interesting prospect, and there is indeed a lot of his trademark rapid cut technique resulting in some very busy chase sequences. But it wasn't sufficient to carry the film for me.
I think this will be best enjoyed by Will Smith fans (amongst whom I wouldn't count myself especially) - but also those familiar with the cartoon of 27 years ago and they want to see if this version measures up to it or exceeds it. I have no idea if all the original songs are here (there actually aren't that many of them anyway).
The film has its moments to be sure - and a lot of the visuals are quite as spectacular as one would hope to find in a fantasy story - but I didn't experience anything that special enough to lodge it in my memory cells for any appreciable time.
And yet again, my own views are at odds with general favourable opinion. Too bad.................4.5.
(IMDb.................7.4 / Rott.Toms................4.59/5 )
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