Disney continue to plunder their cartoon catalogue for fare to update. Can Guy Ritchie perform magic on 1992’s much-loved Aladdin?

It was the tale of a street-wise young guy, a princess he fell for, a bad guy, a magical lamp and the contents of said lamp – a big blue genie. With several musical numbers dotted about the place.

This new model of Aladdin is, well, the tale of a street-wise young guy, a princess he falls for, a bad guy, a magical lamp and the contents of said lamp – a big blue genie. With several musical numbers dotted about the place.

Where Ritchie’s take differs most, obviously, is with the use of real actors, accompanied by an incredible amount of CGI. There are also new songs amongst the old ones, and a bevy of amazingly colourful sights and sounds.

The story here is embiggened, but the main thrust remains. Can young Aladdin use the power of his newly-found friend Genie to become princely enough to be able to woo the Princess Jasmine, while defeating the bad guy, Jafar?

Aladdin

The biggest questions everybody has had regarding this remake have all revolved around Genie. The much-missed Robin Williams was an unstoppable dynamo voicing the animated original, and elevated the entire film from another potentially so-so Disney princess tale to something extraordinary, which remains incredibly popular today – and with newer generations, too. Them’s mighty big shoe- erm… that’s a big puff of blue smoke to fill.

Will Smith bravely takes on the role of Genie and, well, he’s not too bad. He brings gusto and a certain likeable swagger to proceedings – especially his musical numbers – while the two fairly unknown leads portraying Aladdin and Jasmine (Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott, respectively) add to the likeability factor.

In all, this new Aladdin is entertaining enough and, much like the classic musicals of old, certainly delivers when it comes to spectacle. But when the original exists this just seems a tad unnecessary – it’s scarcely a whole new world.

In depth: Guy Ritchie on making Aladdin.

star-3In cinemas: May 23, 2019
Starring: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott
Directed by: Guy Ritchie