All along I could smell…okay, sense the reportedly antiseptic soullessness of Guy Ritchie‘s Aladdin. We all could. Then came the initial blurbs that said “surprisingly charming!” and “better than expected,” etc. Then came the immensely satisfying Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic scores of 59% and 54%, respectively.
The column demands that I submit to this film sooner or later. I could catch a 7:15 show this evening at Cannes’ Olympia plex or wait to see it this weekend in Paris. Or I could just blow it off entirely. God, that would be wonderful.
From A.O. Scott’s 5.22 N.Y. Times review, “This Is Not What You Wished For”: “Aladdin, the new live-action re-whatever with a blue Will Smith popping out of the lamp, may not be the worst product of the current era of legacy intellectual property exploitation (it’s likely that the worst is yet to come), but like most of the others it invites a simple question: Why?
“The answer — spoiler alert: ‘money’ — may not surprise you. I know it’s pointless to complain about Disney’s drive to wring every last dollar from its various brands. You might as well complain about the animal sidekicks (and I will). But the movie itself, while not entirely terrible — a lot of craft has been purchased, and even a little art — is pointless in a particularly aggressive way.
None of these [digital reboots] has surpassed the original, but that might be too much to ask. I can’t think of one — not The Jungle Book, not Mary Poppins Returns, not the recent, somber Dumbo, certainly not this Aladdin — that seems able to stand alone in the popular imagination. They are weird and grotesque hybrids, belonging to no particular era, style or creative sensibility, like dishes at a chain restaurant that fuse disparate food trends to produce flavors alien to every known earthly cuisine.”
The “cinematic karaoke” line is from the Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips.