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Film review: Aladdin is a dull ride, says Rashid Irani

Director Guy Ritchie deploys his usual arsenal of flashy effects but adds nothing to the story of the thief with the heart of gold.

movie reviews Updated: May 23, 2019 18:17 IST
Rashid Irani
Rashid Irani
Hindustan Times
Aladdin,The Man from U.N. C.L.E.,British director Guy Ritchie
Newcomer Mena Massoud is Aladdin. WIll Smith is the genie. There’s music and dancing. But the thing just never takes off. What should have been a family-friendly entertainer is weighted down by flat characters and slack pacing.
ALADDIN
  • Direction: Guy Ritchie
  • Actors: Mena Massoud, Will Smith
  • Rating: 1.5 / 5

With each new film, the once-bright promise of the British director Guy Ritchie seems to dim a bit. Remember The Man from U.N. C.L.E. in 2015, and then two years later, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword? This time too, we get too little passion and too much stylised excess.

The first Aladdin film was released in 1992, and with its freshness and vibrant animation, it shot the classic fable into the new millennium. In this live-action update, Ritchie uses his usual arsenal of flashy effects to retell the story of the thief with the heart of gold.

Aladdin (newcomer Mena Massoud) is tricked into retrieving a magic lamp by the principal villain (Marwan Kenzari) in a desert kingdom. Enter a saviour in the form of a bottled genie (Will Smith, hamming it up in the role voiced in the animated original by the late Robin Williams). There’s also romance with a princess (Naomi Scott), flying carpets, a resourceful pet monkey, and plenty of song and dance interludes.

‘A whole new world’ gets a new spin, courtesy veteran composer Alan Menken, and there are a couple of original songs too, penned by the La La Land lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

Regrettably, the wannabe family-friendly entertainer is weighted down by flat characters and slack pacing. It’s all rather overwrought and, still, there nothing new to see.

First Published: May 23, 2019 18:17 IST