The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - View From The Couch -

It’s a whole new world, all right, when it comes to one of the Dis­ney stu­dio’s re­cent ef­fort to turn an an­i­mated clas­sic into a live-ac­tion fea­ture. Given the ex­otic na­ture of the tale, you know it’s go­ing to be a big pro­duc­tion – so the catch is to keep the songs and emo­tions from be­ing dwarfed by the out­sized vis­ual value, which di­rec­tor Guy Ritchie clearly puts an em­pha­sis on. The true star here is Will Smith as the ge­nie; rein­vent­ing a role so strongly as­so­ci­ated with Robin Wil­liams is a tall or­der, and it takes some­one who can in­ject his own mighty per­son­al­ity into the part. That would be Smith, whose ge­nie is set free by young Aladdin (Mena Mas­soud), who needs his help to win the heart of Princess Jas­mine (Naomi Scott). This newer “Aladdin” casts its spell to a cer­tain de­gree, but for the full ex­pe­ri­ence, keep the 1992 car­toon in mind – which isn’t hard to do, since a new “Sig­na­ture Col­lec­tion” of that ver­sion also is de­but­ing on home video. ★★★ (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and On De­mand)

Mena Mas­soud

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