But he otherwise beautifully brings the story to life in a way that seems both faithful and forward-thinking, ensuring that Aladdin's, and Genie's, and importantly, Princess Jasmine's needs are given equal weight. Also, the Genie has a love interest and wants to be human ... which is fine but means we won't get any sequels, so ... actually, that's great. Guy Ritchie humanizes his genie which is an interesting take and Smith, who's so well known for his larger personality, shines in these quieter moments.
Naomi Scott wows on the purple carpet at the premiere of Aladdin on Tuesday (May 21) in Hollywood, Calif. Smith struggles at first before perhaps listening to his own character's advice: Be yourself.
Massoud added, "Aladdin is a good soul". As a street rat turned prince, Massoud is a mix of charm and vulnerability that makes him instantly likable and makes you root for him. "I came back and reintroduced myself", he said.
Beyond that, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott as Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, respectively, effectively carry the movie. Her dreams are made all the more forceful by Scott's striking resemblance to Sarah Michelle Gellar of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". She's so much more. He noted that the few slight changes from the original - such as the movie's only new song, "Speechless" - were mostly in the interest of expanding the characterization of Jasmine, a welcome development. Again, Menken, Pasek and Paul - some of our greatest theatrical songwriters - are on deck here.
"Aladdin", directed by Guy Ritchie, marks Smith's first time doing a Walt Disney Co film. It's hardly a whole new world, but in this suddenly well-populated land of live-action reboots, makes the most out of its familiar one. The performances from the rest of the cast are largely fine, but no one really stands out.
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Nasim Pedrad as Dalia and Naomi Scott as Jasmine. Good thing for Aladdin, then, that when he's sent by the evil Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) to the Cave of Wonders to fetch a magic lamp, he rubs it and meets the genie. Alan Tudyk's Iago is less Gilbert Gottfried hyper and more realistically sinister in this adaptation.
But the production design by Gemma Jackson is pure Middle Eastern-South Asian kitsch - complete with the expected food stalls, crumbling walls and constant bustle.
If there's one hiccup in this version of Aladdin, it's the use of CGI.
This time around, the high hurdle of nostalgia may be especially hard to clear.
Aladdin feels like an important reminder to not put too much stock in ads and trailers. Aladdin paints Agrabah as a city crowded with people and bursting with color, but it's hard to understand exactly what the characters mean when they describe it as attractive, since from our viewpoint it just looks like so many CG-rendered building blocks. Ritchie also injects some of his signature flair, including some well-paced parkour sequences, in a way that gives the whole movie a nice, coherent sense of energy.
Aladdin hits theaters on Friday, May 24.