Even with spectacular effects an interesting sets along with lively action and dancing, Aladdin moves at a pace which will discourage the full attention of a young audience.
If one remembers reading the book as a kid they will find this edition a little too sanitized and pretty. Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) is a different villain, here he wants to become the Sultan, it’s more of a political take over rather than being under the control of a slender evil sorcerer. He’s the one who plots to take over, first by attempting to marry the lovely princess and making sure she as a woman can’t become the leader of her country, next he bribes Aladdin (Mena Massoud) a street rat to head into the Cave of Wonders to steal the lamp with the Genie in it. The cave is resistant to anyone entering but along with special effects action Aladdin heads into the fire red cave.
Meeting the Genie (Will Smith) becomes a catch as can catch opportunity, but Aladdin manages to rescue the lamp and get by Jafar with the Genie in tow. Will Smith is the big blue Genie who comes from the lamp with the ability to grant three wishes. There are limitations placed upon the wishes, but the one stressed mostly by the Genie is that the third wish could be to set him free of the lamp. But as the Genie states no one has ever used that as a wish, and he has spent thousands of years in the golden lamp. All of that information is helpful to the plot late in the film.
The musical numbers folded into the story as they were in the Robin Williams animated version but don’t match up. The music and the dancing is spectacular but the voices appear timid and do not bring enough impression to become a key part of the film. Naomi Scott appears to have the strongest voice or perhaps the best song to sing. I guess Will Smith is no Robin Williams. He is a far more stable and sensible, probably better Genie or human being but less interesting, particularly to kids who will be looking for over the top fun.
With a story that is known like Aladdin we need something new to attach to, here Director Guy Ritchie splashes the screen with action, dance, color and excitement but whats new. Well, the idea that Jasmine has thoughts of leading her country is different, but nothing new in 2019.
The 3D works well especially around the carpet which is animated quite well as it provides expressions and directions without any vocal assistance. It almost over rides the impressive monkey that helps Aladdin steal in the beginning and solve the puzzle of Jafar near the end.
The length of the film works against the overall impression, kids become restless as the story drags along. Even the action filled climax takes too long and the eventual kiss that will please little girls makes us wait, but even so does get a reaction from young girls.
Aladdin has much to offer, perhaps so much that the heart of the story is lost in the effects and dancing, not in the lesson Aladdin learns.