It’s a whole new world in this 2019 adaptation of the 1992 Disney animated classic. In live action, this Guy Ritchie-directed extravaganza creates a vibrant world and weaves the colors, textures and eye-popping cinematography into a fertile environment for this ancient tale.  

The “Arabian Nights” adventure is the story of a thief who wins the heart of the beautiful princess and saves the town of Agraba from the evil vizier, Jafar, with the assistance of three wishes from a Genie he frees by rubbing a magical lamp. Jasmine is the character that is most surprising in this new version. No longer the seen but not heard princess, this Jasmine is empowered and voices her ideas for her people and questions the evil Jafar, risking her own safety. She will not stand by and watch her father be controlled and proves that she can break tradition and become the next sultan, leading her people. She is definitely a role model for female empowerment!                             

The Genie, brought to life in all his blue glory by Will Smith, is Aladdin’s teacher and voice of conscience. He helps Aladdin be a better man, to think of others rather than himself and be the “diamond in the rough” worthy to stand by Jasmine in helping the people of the streets he knows so well. I had thought Smith might have given the Genie too much “Fresh Prince” and not enough “Pursuit of Happyness,” but I was wrong. His performance was controlled and layered. Will Smith shines but does not overpower!

“Aladdin” is magical, fantastical and stays true to the story but updates it with respect and audacity. The movie is a Broadway musical come to your local theater. The voices of Naomi Scott as Jasmine, the 21st century princess with a purpose, and Mena Massoud as Aladdin are definitely Broadway worthy. New songs! Great dancing! See it soon.

“Aladdin” is rated PG for some action/peril. 

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