Aladdin

Critics Consensus

Aladdin retells its classic source material's story with sufficient spectacle and skill, even if it never approaches the dazzling splendor of the animated original.

57%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 323

94%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 44,199
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Movie Info

A street rat frees a genie from a lamp, granting all of his wishes and transforming himself into a charming prince in order to marry a beautiful princess. But soon, an evil sorcerer becomes hell-bent on securing the lamp for his own sinister purposes.

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Critic Reviews for Aladdin

All Critics (323) | Top Critics (43)

  • The new telling brings little that feels essential, and the missing elements-chiefly, the controlled chaos and unbridled comedy of the late Robin Williams' vocal performance-have given the film's candy-colored visual palate a homesick pall.

    May 27, 2019 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

    Oliver Jones

    Observer
    Top Critic
  • In short, it's a whole old world.

    May 27, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Marwan Kenzari snarls it up as the villainous Jafar, while Nasim Pedrad is endearing and funny as Jasmine's handmaiden and best friend Dalia...

    May 24, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • There are efforts made, whether through good faith or just market savvy, to update Princess Jasmine into a people's champion who might prefer ruling to romance. Enough to make you wish the Disney people had gone whole hog and just called it Jasmine.

    May 24, 2019 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • With "Aladdin," they've done the leveling with just enough style and pizazz that most moviegoers won't care that it's a retread, and the leads are good enough to make you hope they'll go on to something real.

    May 24, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • Smith understandably didn't want to compete with Williams, but as the big, blue, top-knotted Genie, he's uncharacteristically bland. Even the magic carpet in this movie looks bummed out.

    May 24, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Aladdin

  • 5d ago
    The argument about the validity or impact compared to the 1992-animated version can be made for another time because this live-action version is an undeniable spectacle. Aladdin glistens with with its extravagant visuals, musical numbers and solid performances from an up-and-coming cast and an always vibrant Will Smith steering the ship. 3.85/5
    Eugene B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 09, 2019
    Loved it. This live action version of Aladdin was surprisingly enjoyable. Loved the beautiful visuals, the colour and of course, the fantastic cast. Will Smith was simply in his element as the Genie, while Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud delivered amazing performances as Princess Jasmine and Aladdin respectively. The new song, "Speechless" was superb, and a nice touch to change the narrative for Disney princesses! For once.
    Chrisanne C Super Reviewer
  • May 26, 2019
    I walked away from the new live-action Aladdin feeling less agitated than I did for the 2017 Beauty and the Beast, and I'm trying to determine whether that was because this was a better interpretation or simply because my expectations have now been calibrated to know what to expect from these remakes, namely an inferior version of an animated classic. I've written about it before, recently with Dumbo, but the problem with the recent spate of live-action Disney releases is that they are too new, too beloved, and thus the audience is beholden to their nostalgia and resistant to dramatic changes from those original movies. The audiences demand fidelity over creative liberties. Without much attempted change, the finished versions end up feeling like big screen cover bands, going through the motions imitating the famous predecessor but ultimately reminding you how much more you'd rather be watching that original. I felt it with the 2017 Beauty and the Beast and now I've felt it again with the 2019 Aladdin. The plot should be familiar to anyone who grew up with the 1992 classic. Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is an orphaned street thief ("street rat") who runs into Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott), a woman yearning to have a life on her own terms rather than being sold off via marriage. The evil advisor Jafar (Marwin Kenzari, a surprise highlight) is after a special hidden treasure, a long-lost lamp said to house a wish-granting genie. Aladdin is entrusted on this mission, gets trapped, and meets Genie (Will Smith), a boisterous figure trapped by the laws of the lamp. He must grant his new master's three wishes, with some limitations. Aladdin wishes to become a prince and impress Jasmine, but he must withhold the truth, or so he feels. What rich woman could fall in love with a poor theif with nothing to offer but his heart? aladdin-2-1549879805 So does the new Aladdin bring anything new and improved? It does sport a more feminist-friendly message and a more active Jasmine, who wishes not to simply be a free-minded princess but her people's sultan, taking on the responsibility of leadership. It's a nice addition that makes her more integrated into the story and developed. Unfortunately, Jasmine is also the recipient of the newest songs and they are, in a word, dreadful. They have little life to them or are crushed to death by simplified intentions, like when Jasmine storms around in a quasi-dream sequence belting how she won't be silenced by the sexist men of her kingdom (the song is called… "Speechless"). It's a pretty tuneless number and it doesn't help that the entirety of it feels screamed at the audience. The portraits of Arabs aren't terribly improved. Thirty years later and much of the story is still built around rather stereotypical depictions of heroic and villainous Arabic figures, though the movie seems to also be influenced by neighboring Bollywood. It just feels like there were some areas the filmmakers could have updated in the ensuing 27 years, but perhaps again they were too hesitant to not anger their core audience of fans. Guy Ritchie (Snatch, King Arthur) was a strange choice when he was tapped to direct and, having seen the finished product, he shows no feel for musicals whatsoever. It's a surprising realization considering his background in action and crime movies, genres that likewise rely upon a heavy understanding of choreography, use of screen space, editing, and furthering plot with action. It's apparent very early, by the time we segue into "One Jump Ahead," that this is going to be a tepid experience devoid of a sense of energy and style. Ritchie isn't a bland director even in his bad movies, but his Aladdin feels like a for-hire gig where he has mitigated any stylistic flourishes. Aladdin is also a mystifying 38 minutes longer than the original cartoon and yet feels far more rushed. Even the song numbers feel like we're speeding through them. The signature showstopper "A Whole New World" feels less than revelatory as we quickly traverse the city at night, muddy colors making the magic carpet ride less than magical. The entire movie feels weirdly paced and awkwardly developed, rushing to hit familiar plot points and yet paradoxically taking longer to do so. I'll say that it doesn't feel like a movie that runs over two hours long. aladdin-lede.w700.h700 There is a middle portion of Aladdin becomes something like a fantasy version of Hitch, a romantic comedy where Smith was playing the confident wingman to an awkward foil. This is the only part of the film that feels like it's settling down and giving the characters time to develop in a more organic fashion. The interplay between Aladdin and the Genie is entertaining and Smith puts his smooth charm to maximum effect during this sequence. The filmmakers even add a love interest for the Genie himself played by Nasim Pedrad (Saturday Night Live), and this allows him to put his own advice to the test and stumble in the game of affections as well. It's quite reminiscent of Hitch but it made me smile and laugh more than any other part. It also felt like the one portion of the film where it was staking out its own identity and utilizing the talents of its own cast. I wish the entire movie had been retrofitted to be an Arabian Hitch of old. Nobody can replace Robin Williams' iconic performance as the Genie, but Smith is a mighty fine choice for a replacement. His effervescent charm cannot be killed but it can be dulled, and too often the new Aladdin feels like it's misusing the man's many natural talents. Smith has a very shaky singing voice, and I was wincing in the opening minutes as he began to warble "Arabian Nights." Oh no, I feared, what have we gotten ourselves into? Smith is no stranger to musical performances but his career is in rap, so I was expecting the Disney folk to re-imagine several of the songs with a more contemporary hip-hop angle to play to his strengths. They do not. The best performance is easily "Prince Ali" with its propulsive drive that Smith stakes full command of like the head of a drumline, slowing the tempo down and asking for participation from the sultan in order to ramp things back up. It's a fun moment and made me wish the songs (with brief additional lyrics by the team behind The Greatest Showman) had been allowed to stray further and discover new angles that make better use of this version of this story. Also, the special effects make his blue genie look horrifying and should have been scrubbed as soon as somebody first saw him as a blue Shrek creature. 789742-will-smith-genie-aladdin The highlight performer for me was Scott as Jasmine, an actress that first caught my attention as the Pink Power Ranger in, what else, the big-budget Rangers reboot. She demonstrates the most range and has an immediate presence; her Jasmine seems to be holding back, always wary, always assessing, and knowing more than she lets on. It feels like a more politically astute figure that can still give in to carefree moments of jubilation. Her singing is also pretty good even if she's saddled with the worst solo songs. It's not her fault that her onscreen lover seems to have better chemistry with Smith than her. The new Aladdin does have some of its own virtues. The costumes are gorgeous and the sets are carefully crafted, making the world feel lavish and real and often stunning. Smith is still a charming performer and Scott feels like a great pick for a character given more agency. I enjoyed that Jafar is given a new character inferiority complex about being second best, and this is better used to fool him into his downfall. Even a less accomplished rendition of great sings reminds you that they are still great. Likewise the story is so well constructed that it's hard to completely mitigate its delights and payoffs. The 2019 Aladdin is everything you expect from it, though possibly less, and it never truly justifies its own existence. There are moments to tantalize what a slightly different big screen revitalization could have been, like its rendition of Hitch. If you're a super fan of Aladdin, it might be enough to get you over the rough spots. However, if that's your starting point, I would advise staying home and just watching the superior and shorter version. Nate's Grade: C
    Nate Z Super Reviewer
  • May 24, 2019
    Though it's not as appealing nor as great nor as funny as the original (and it does have a lot of flaws, including the changes made with Jafar, whom I found very weak despite some intimidating scenes), it's still an awesome film, funny, heartfelt, action-packed, worthy of making us relive the nostalgia :D
    Serge E Super Reviewer

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