This is Disney at its best. “Aladdin”
is engaging, winsome, charming, humorous, and fun for the whole family.
Will Smith is superb as the genie.
He even lends his singing voice, but it's his complex rendering of
the genie character that really shines.
Yes, there's some CGI used, with constructing the genie's blue
body, and the magic carpet ride, but it's so seamless that we readily
accept the fanciful along with the gritty reality.
And Disney will always provide us with a very real and menacing
villain. In this case, it's
Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), who wants to take over the Kingdom from the aging
Sultan (Navid Negahban), who doesn't suspect the treachery of his most
trusted adviser. Jafar is
after the magic lamp that's protected by a massive cave with a powerful
spell over it, so he enlists the street urchin, Aladdin (Mena Massoud) to
steal it for him. As we all
know, Aladdin winds up with the lamp, but that doesn't necessarily solve
all his problems.
It seems he's hopelessly in love with the Sultan's daughter, the
Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). She's supposed to pick from a procession
of princes who come as suitors, but she's unimpressed with any of them.
Besides, she thinks she's perfectly capable of taking over the
kingdom from her father, but of course he tells her that's never been done
The chase scenes at the beginning, with the veteran thief Aladdin
barely getting away from the gendarmes, are fun to watch, as are the magic
carpet rides. Naomi Scott has
a beautiful voice, and she uses it to good effect in her solos, and also
in her duet with Mena Massoud. Of
course we are rooting for the star-crossed couple to find a way to be
together, but we're also rooting for the genie to finally earn his
freedom. And it's satisfying
to finally see the villain thwarted in such an ironic, poetic way.
And, like a Bollywood film, we have an all-cast dance scene at the
end, with lots of color and vigor and upbeat professionalism.
It's a feast for the eyes and ears as well as the sensibilities.
Highly recommended for all ages.