ALADDIN Review — A Whole New World?

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Aladdin Review — Can Disney revive the magic of the animated version, and more importantly, does Will Smith look good in blue?

Aladdin reviewIf it seems like Disney is releasing a lot of live action versions of their animated classics lately, you’re not wrong. A few months ago it was Dumbo, now we have Aladdin and later this summer will be treated to The Lion King.

I’m thinking Disney might want to slow that pace down a little bit. As they discovered with their too rapid fire Star Wars releases, there’s a certain amount of fan fatigue that sets in, and sometimes is sacrificed for quantity.

Not to say that the latest Aladdin doesn’t have it’s share of magic. Naomi Scott (Jasmine) and Mena Massoud (Aladdin) are fresh and engaging. And Jasmine’s added strength of character and song Speechless provides an excellent and necessary new dimension.

Still, if I had three wishes about Aladdin, they would be:

  1. I wish Will Smith would have put more oomph into his genie—made him bigger and more demonstrative. I think Smith was going more for ‘cool,’ which is a fair choice, to avoid comparisons to Robin Williams. But he really should have sold some of the songs more. They can fix that in the studio, BTW.
  2. I wish the choreography were smoother. Seems like they couldn’t decide if they wanted it to be interpretive, Cirque du Soleil or Bollywood. Much of it was a very awkward-looking hybrid.
  3. I wish they would have taken a little more time and effort with the special effects. Smith’s swirling cloud lower half just looked weird, and the Jafar’s magic was not all that magical. Disney can do better.

Perhaps it was the “unique” if daring choice of director. Guy Ritchie, (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes, Revolver) ain’t never had a film like this. His lack of experience in the genre shows.

All in all, I’d say this rendition of Aladdin is infinitely better than the stage version, but not quite on par with the animated film. But it’s still an entertaining treat for the fam to see over Memorial Day weekend.

Rated PG

2 Hours 8 Minutes

If this Aladdin review sends your running to the local cineplex, get times and tickets first at

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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