Aladdin film review: delivers a whole new world of wow

Aladdin (Mena Massoud) and Genie (Will Smith).
Aladdin (Mena Massoud) and Genie (Will Smith).

AS someone raised on the wonderful world of Disney and enamoured by the music of Alan Menken, there was excitement and trepidation watching the new version of Aladdin.

Would this live-action adaptation be a cave of wonders or simply parrot the original 1992 Disney animated classic?

Or worse yet, destroy the enchanting tale altogether.

It is with relief to say my wish was granted with treasure found in this retelling directed by Guy Ritchie, where there are some adjustments but the heart of the story remains the same.

Aladdin (Mena Massoud).

Charming street rat Aladdin (Mena Massoud) falls head over heels in love with the Sultan’s (Navid Negahban) daughter Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) after a brief, but memorable meeting in the Agrabah marketplace.

Unfortunately, for Jasmine, her father is intent on finding her a more suitable husband in the form of a prince.

Meanwhile his disloyal and mistrusted advisor Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) is intent on locating his diamond in the rough to fetch a magical lamp in the Cave of Wonders to fulfil his dream of ascending the throne himself.

Cue Aladdin, who through a mishap with his sidekick monkey Abu, comes into possession of the lamp and the Genie (Will Smith) mayhem begins.

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Aladdin (Mena Massoud) and Genie (Will Smith).

Smith is Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cool with the right amount of attitude, energy, Genie-spirit and humour.

All the same memorable lines you would want from the original are there with a few more thrown in for good measure.

And although Jafar may not have the evil voice audiences are used to, the performance Kenzari delivers as this villain is just as malevolent.

Like flying on a magic carpet, the filmgoer soars over the glimmering ocean and colourful Agrabah marketplace during Arabian Nights, while One Jump Ahead is a chance to marvel at Aladdin’s parkour skills.

Friend Like Me is a Smith showstopper, the Prince Ali parade is a toe-tapping extravaganza, while A Whole New World proves just as magical as the carpet Aladdin and Jasmine are flying on.

Original new song Speechless has been added to capitalise on Princess Jasmine’s strength and courage in the face of patriarchy.

Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott).

Filmed in the UK and on location in Jordan, Aladdin is authentic as depicting a fictional port city can be and is the most diversely cast Disney film in history.

Sydney costume designer Michael Wilkinson’s work dazzles in a variety of colours, fabrics and textures, especially Jasmine’s wardrobe.

Aladdin delivers a whole new world of wow.

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THE ESSENTIALS

Aladdin (PG)

Directed by: Guy Ritchie

Starring: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari

Four stars

Reviewed by: Tanya MacNaughton

In cinemas now