Will Smith is all praises for Badshah's track in Aladdin

What if I told you the best moment in the live-action remake of "Aladdin" isn't the magic carpet ride to "A Whole New World", the Genie's introduction on "Friend Like Me" or even the big show-stopping musical number "Prince Ali", which, incidentally, elicited spontaneous applause at the screening I attended. Kidding. (Well. not really.) The real and most important question that I and many others have is: why is Aladdin wearing so many damn clothes? Despite hesitancy from some fans over the Genie's look and performances, the live-action Aladdin is a fun extravaganza for any Disney lover out there.

Aladdin, too, has been well cast with Mena Massoud both looking and sounding the part.

With Massoud, Aladdin hits that sweet spot all these remakes are aiming for: The comfort of the familiar, with the thrill of a new discovery.

Yet, I think I could have forgiven a lot of the movie's flaws if I didn't hate the personality changes to Princess Jasmine and the complete lack of chemistry between Aladdin and Jasmine.

The Aladdin movie premiere is proudly powered by Sky Cinemas, Sky Mall (Farm Bus stop, KM 46 Lekki-Epe Expressway), and sponsored by Coca-Cola, Dominos, Pinkberry, Coldstone, Vida and Amstel Malta. He's sweet and sensitive, just as able to charm Jasmine with a "do you trust me" as he is able to make the audience laugh with a weird prostitution joke.

Smith gets off to a bit of a slow start as the Genie - or maybe it just takes us a while to get used to someone else putting his stamp on Williams' rat-a-tat borscht-belt schtick. 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 handsome, since from our viewpoint it just looks like so many CG-rendered building blocks.

Overall, Aladdin wasn't flawless, but nothing will ever live up to the classic '92 version. Her Jasmine is clever, funny, and continually one step ahead of everyone around her, and she belts out original songs written specifically for this remake with an engrossing intensity.

"I like the original movie so I'm aware I don't want to contaminate the nostalgia of the first one", said Ritchie. "And I'm like, 'That's a bold-a** little dancer going to stand there in the middle of the director and the Genie in this conversation.' And he just stood there and he didn't say nothing!" the 50-year-old actor recalled.

Speaking about the backlash from some fans online to the Will Smith's version of the live action character when he was first revealed in the film's initial trailer, Massoud revealed, "I knew the CGI wasn't finished".

The Lion King will be released in theaters on July 19, 2019.

  • Salvatore Jensen