A local thief Aladdin (Mena Massoud), from the kingdom of Agrabah, falls in love with its princess – Jasmine (Naomi Scott) – and decides to persuade her, but the evil Grand Vizier Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) and chief advisor to the Sultan (Navid Negahban) put forward this condition – Aladdin must bring him the magical lamp and its Genie (Will Smith) that grants three wishes.
The story of Aladdin and the Genie is known to one and all and this live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic by the same name, which has originally immortalised this legendary tale, is no exception to that phenomenon. The fresh pairing of Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott works and is a welcome surprise as the duo share an amazing chemistry on screen and pretty much hold on to the likeability factors of their respective characters till the very end. Will Smith, the Genie, is a straight up natural as far as tickling our funny bones is concerned but again, it would be criminal to compare him to Robbin Williams’s 1992 act in the original movie as the standards set by the late actor-comedian are pretty high.
Jafar – the vengeful villain – is so bad in the movie that he’s actually good, and brownie points to director Guy Ritchie for fully exploring and bringing to light the twisted psyche of this greed-filled character, which ultimately makes you wonder – who’s the sinner and who has been sinned against.
However, the downside of the whole direction process is that it is somewhat mixed and some of the song-dance sequences look & feel forced and could have been avoided. Despite its grandeur and larger-than-life cinematography-animation, at two hours and eight minutes – the film starts to feel bit of a drag. The momentum, at which the film moves, is yet another problem that cannot be overlooked – all the characters are given ample time and attention to grow and develop, while the ending is wrapped up in a tearing hurry.
Kids born in the 90s, who have watched the cartoon version of this story, will find ‘Aladdin’ a bit too hard to get accustomed to in the beginning, but otherwise, the film – sans its minor hiccups – is congenial and establishes the ‘feel-good’ factor from frame one and maintains it till the curtains are drawn.