Now Showing: Disney’s Aladdin

By Dan Pavelich

Disney’s second telling of “Aladdin,” directed by Guy Ritchie, is a visual feast. While the special effects and C.G.I. do play an integral roll, they never intrude on the storyline or shroud the actors in optical fluff.

As The Genie, Will Smith wisely avoids any parroting of Robin Williams, bringing his own personality more into the mix. This Genie longs to be set free and live a human life, preferably with Jasmine’s handmaiden, Dalia (played by SNL alum Nasim Pedrad). Smith is as hilarious and likable as usual in his role.

As Aladdin and Jasmine, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott are perfectly cast. They are  alternately awkwardly romantic and heroic throughout, and we’re rooting for them from the get-go. If a sequel with this couple is possible, it should be done. Their dance number, in particular, was uproarious.

I mentioned the visuals earlier in this review, and that must be commented on again. This film looks absolutely dazzling on the big screen. Aladdin’s view from his perch high atop Agrabah is breathtaking, as is the climactic magic carpet ride by moonlight, and most every scene in between.

With a stellar cast and wonderful song and dance numbers, “Aladdin” often reminded me of the old M.G.M. musicals of the late 1940’s and early 50’s. The audience that attended the same showing as me laughed out loud several times, and watched with big smiles on their faces. What more could you want out of a truly family film?