FILM REVIEW: Aladdin

The new Aladdin movie has a lot riding on it.

Not only does it carry the weight of expectation from 80s and 90s children who grew up with the classic Disney animation, it also needs to win over fans of director Guy Ritchie, whose last film - King Arthur - was far from impressive.

So how does the live action Aladdin stack up?

Well, it's... not wonderful, but it could be worse.

The story follows pretty much the same pattern as the original - 'street rat' Aladdin falls for Princess Jasmine, the daughter of Agrabah's sultan, before evil guy Jafar convinces him to enter the Cave of Wonders and retrieve a magic oil lamp.

Inside the lamp lives the all-powerful Genie, who will grant Aladdin three wishes.

The young man uses a wish to try and win over Jasmine under the guise of visiting prince Ali from Ababwa.

Mena Massoud (Amazon's Jack Ryan) and Naomi Scott (2017's Power Rangers) play the lovebirds well. Massoud has great comic timing and Scott exudes Jasmine's steely resolve.

The new crew: Mena Massoud steps into the street rat's shoes alongside Will Smith's Genie in Guy Ritchie's live action adaptation of Aladdin, rated PG, in cinemas now.

The new crew: Mena Massoud steps into the street rat's shoes alongside Will Smith's Genie in Guy Ritchie's live action adaptation of Aladdin, rated PG, in cinemas now.

The more difficult role was Genie, portrayed so memorably by Robin Williams in the 1992 animation.

Will Smith wisely doesn't try and replicate Williams' Genie, but creates his own magic man who's more Fresh Prince than stand-up comic.

When Smith looks like himself, he's great, bubbling with charisma and charm.

But there's something decidedly disconcerting about blue Smith.

It's hard to nail down exactly what doesn't work about Genie in his natural state, but it seems unnatural.

The new film does a decent job of recreating the pizzazz of the original songs and even adds a feminist power ballad for Jasmine called Speechless. Even though Speechless is a good tune - and written by Disney songwriting staple Alan Menken in collaboration with The Greatest Showman's Benj Pasek and Justin Paul - it feels a little out of place with the rest of the soundtrack.

There's nothing brilliant about Aladdin, nothing that makes you excited. Which is unfortunate, because the original definitely had that effect.

On the bright side, Aladdin is beautifully designed and costumed, so if you're into that kind of thing, you'll be pleased.

Rating: 6/10