One day, someone is going to explain what the point of all these Disney live action remakes is because if the studio was on the verge of bankruptcy then I could understand. Except it isn’t that. Disney owns EVERYTHING. Their shutting down franchises left and right. If I boycotted every non-Disney blockbuster for the rest of the years i’d be reviewing Hobbes and Shaw as well as that ghastly new Terminator film and that would be it. Probably!
But as long as the Fantastic 4 show up in the MCU and people with creepy DevintArt accounts can giggle like Japanese schoolgirls over the fact that the Xenomorph is now a Disney princess I guess no-one else cares that DISNEY. OWNS. EVERYTHING.
And it’s not like their using that money and power for good! Poeple that work for them have to live in their cars, their decimating the environment and their releasing films like Aladdin (2019- not the 1992 one.)
Now, I want to make it clear that i’m going to make no reference to the first animated version. There’s no point as it would be like comparing Hellboy (2019) to Hellboy (2004) Everyone knows which one is better and doing the old compare and contrast isn’t going to help anybody.
No, I will judge this pointless film on it’s own meager, fleeting, pitiful charms.
Starting with the director who 20 years ago was the toast of British cinema with two stone cold classics in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, then made arguably some off the worst films in history and then defiantly made some of the biggest bombs in history in The Man From Uncle and King Arthur: Legends Of The Bored.
He does a mostly passable job here which is all that Disney seems to ask from these films which I imagine make a hell of a lot from toy and merchandise sales because they ain’t gonna make much from this film
For those of you unaware of the plot of one of the most well known fairy tales of all time, the plot is simple: According to IMDB, this film is about A kindhearted street urchin and a power-hungry Grand Vizier vie for a magic lamp that has the power to make their deepest wishes come true.
My wish for that 183 million dollars budget to be spent on a Dredd sequel has not yet come to pass.
Now, it’s a very simple plot and I’m fairly sure that with a couple of interesting songs and a competent villain as well as some interesting practical effects mixed in with top of the line CGI (massive budget remember, nothing less than top of the line will do.) This could work….
Look, I applaud the fact they actually hired non-white actors for the lead roles and erm… give me a second.
There must be other things this film did well. The CGI monkey and parrot are pretty good but their going to age very poorly, very quickly as is the fate of all CGI creations.
The songs are watered down from what you might remember and were I comparing films I would state that the original films songs were faster, better, got stuck in your head and were generally more fun to watch as if cartoons are better at being cartoons than live action CGI hybrids with over-inflated budgets but as I’m not, then I wont.
What I will say is that these actors who all seem to be perfectly nice people and i’m certain that this is a star making turn for at least one of them (no, not you Jafar. You go back to… The Mummy? Ben-Hur? What Happened To Monday? Mental Note: Avoid anything this guy is in if possible. ) But none of them have the slightest bit of chemistry with each other.
The pace drags with unneeded and unnecessary characters and subplots killing what little momentum the film has. Did the genie need a love interest? What’s the point in another prince hanging around? He could have been a viable and interesting competitor for Jasmines affections but instead he’s a joke who could have been cut completely.
And Jafar, the cool, interesting, manipulative, sophisticated villain what have they done to you? He’s played by yet another very dull, very nice piece of cardboard who like every non sultan male in this film has yet to discover that shirt buttons have a function and is about as cool, interesting, manipulative and sophisticated as Donald Trump. Which is what they’ve turned him into. They’ve stupidly given him a backstory for no reason I could work out- Disney villains (much like James Bond villains) don’t need backstories. Giving him a song would have been nice. Jasmine gets a song, it’s irrelevant, kills the pacing, the choreography during it sucks and it gets sung twice for some ungodly reason but it’s THERE.
Kids were fidgeting during my screening, I was fidgeting, the while thing was just falling flat for me. And it shouldn’t have because all the ingredients were there but there was just something not clicking for me.
The whole thing looks very… set like. It was hard to believe in the world because it didn’t look like a world. It looked like a bunch of sets in a made for TV movie. Moments that should have excited and charmed were dull and uninteresting. Instead of allowing Ritchie to put some grit in this world it all seems so wholesome and… Disney. I don’t mean go full Dark Knight on this film but a speck here or there would have ruled.
And then there’s the big issue with this film. The big blue (some of the time) issue. A role (in this film) portrayed by one of my childhood icons who in my eye could no wrong until After Earth and then has just seemed to be flailing around trying to recapture the effortless cool that he just used to have. It’s the same here- when he’s doing his Will Smith thing he’s fine but when he’s trying to be the genie he first of all falls victim to some really bad CGI and second, he just seems lost, waiting for direction that never seems to come.
What else is there to say? This is yet another live action fail from Disney with the same issues that Dumbo had and that The Lion King probably will have. It’s bloated, padded, dull, in dire need of a serious visit to the editors suite, some serious re-shoots and some new sets.
Apart from that it’s yet another Disney masterpiece.
My Score- Skip It.