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Aladdin

Based on the 1992 Walt Disney animated film, ‘Aladdin’ has become an enduring hit. Breaking free of the confines of the silver screen, the stage musical adaptation has packed houses around the globe. The simple tale of someone finding a magical lamp and the chaos it causes, ‘Aladdin’ is all-ages entertainment. That doesn’t mean saccharine sweet viewing as this live-action adaptation proves. Directed by Guy Ritchie, ‘Aladdin’ has plenty of magical allure to soothe more cynical audiences.

Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is a street urchin roaming the desert streets for adventure. Smitten with the Sultan’s daughter Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott), Aladdin’s dreams catch the attention of Jafar (Marwan Kenzari). An evil sorcerer attempting to overthrow the Sultan, Jafar tricks Aladdin in stealing a magical lamp which holds a powerful genie (Will Smith). When the Genie is released, events swiftly fall apart with the path to happiness paved with fortune Aladdin could never dream of.

Whether on stage or screen, ‘Aladdin’ sees the Disney group at its zenith. Elaborate costumes, stunning sets, amazing sequences all vie for attention. ‘Aladdin’ has these elements in spades due to the craftmanship involved. It’s quite a departure for Ritchie, who has come a long way from directing violent gangster style films such as ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’. He handles the Disney world with ease whilst still injecting some of this quirky traits. Whilst changes have been made to the script, they provide a point of difference from the original film and stage show. The musical numbers are still impressive with the CGI first rate.

‘Aladdin’ ultimately thrives due to its energetic cast. Although Will Smith is basically just doing his well-worn public persona to the max, he does it well. His natural charisma is a good fit for the impish Genie. Massoud and Scott do well with what could have been bland roles with Kenzari clearly enjoying his villainous role. Occasionally the pacing drags although there’s usually another over the top scene around the corner to divert from such issues. Messages about being true to yourself aren’t too forced with the Disney mantra of crafting wholesome entertainment intact.

‘Aladdin’ is a fun, diverting movie anyone can see. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and is gorgeous to look at. Those who have seen the stage version will get another version of the story that is as timeless as the wishes granting genie it presents.

Rating out of 10: 7

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