Disney

Tomorrow marks the arrival of Disney’s latest live-action remake, Aladdin, and the reviews have started pouring in. To say critics were overjoyed with the film would be an exaggeration, but considering how Twitter completely flipped out when Will Smith’s blue Genie was first revealed, things could have gone a lot worse.

All in all, the reviews are divided. Some praise the movie for its nostalgia-inducing mood, while others say it’ll haunt their dreams. Some are totally here for the rebooted narrative, but others say the film is so boring that they started writing their own songs in the dark. And as for the Genie, the verdict is still out on him, too.

To get a better sense of what to expect before the film lands in theaters tomorrow, check out a selection of the best reviews below. But before that, refamiliarize yourself with the film’s trailer below, and then scroll on for the views of the critics.

It brings the nostalgia

“I’m overjoyed to report that while there is some of that awkwardness, it pales in comparison to the rest of it. Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin made me feel like a kid again.”

Germain Lussier / io9

It’s great

“Well, the studio must’ve rubbed the heck out of its magic lamp, because the family film has unexpectedly turned out shining, shimmering, splendid.”

Johnny Oleksinski / New York Post

It’s kind of charming

“Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin entertains and charms almost through sheer force of will. The leads are so likable, the movie is so big and colorful and the songs are so memorable, that it almost doesn’t matter that the story feels like someone dropped the original screenplay in a blender and then randomly taped it back together.”

Scott Mendelson / Forbes

“It is lively, colourful and genuinely funny, and doesn’t break what didn’t need fixing about the original. As one character remarks of Aladdin’s early attempts at romance: it’s “clumsy but in a charming sort of way.””

Steve Rose / The Guardian

It’s fine, we suppose

“It’s a dancing elephant of a movie. It has a few decent moves, but you’d never call it light on its feet.”

Matt Zoller Seitz / Roger Ebert

Aladdin is… fine, but it has no real reason for being beyond, you know, capitalism. A whole new world, it’s not.”

Chris Nashawaty / EW

Actually, no, it’s boring

“I got so bored I started to scribble new songs myself in the dark.”

Nigel Andrews / Financial Times

“This isn’t a movie. It’s a chintzy revival, specifically designed to appeal to audiences who think “that looks familiar” qualifies as entertainment.”

William Bibbiani / The Wrap

It’s woke but lacks magic

“The combination of diverse casting and female empowerment themes results in a perfectly politically correct Aladdin for these times. The only thing that seems to have been left out is the magic, which is a bit of a problem considering that one of the main characters is a genie.”

Frank Scheck / The Hollywood Reporter

Divided on the Genie

“The sorriest casualty of Aladdin‘s faithfulness is the Genie. He’s played here by Will Smith, who might have been a brilliant pick if the role had been tailored to his own cool-but-playful persona. But Aladdin seems unwilling to let go of Robin Williams’ Genie, and so Smith is stuck singing songs written for someone else’s talents and delivering jokes in someone else’s cadence, in the body of a character designed for a totally different medium. (No, the blue Genie never stops looking freaky.) It’s no wonder he doesn’t wear them well.”

Angie Han / Mashable

“Smith puts on such an outsized performance that it’s easy for him to overshadow its smaller joys — and when Genie is suddenly silenced in a limp third act, the entire film suffers.”

Kate Erbland / IndieWire

It’s “haunting” and “hollow”

“There is ultimately nothing here that eclipses the original and plenty that will haunt my dreams forevermore.”

Barry Hertz / The Globe and Mail

“Could Aladdin have been worse? In that it could’ve featured a cameo from Michael Buffer saying “Let’s get ready for Dumbo”, sure. (That, as you may recall, happened just two months ago in the Dumbo remake, and let us never speak of it again.) But this film suffers the way that most of the Disney remakes of late have suffered: it’s unable to have its own identity, and unwilling to fully embrace being a shot-for-shot remake of something so many people fell in love with as children. Like the many jewels and gold pieces in the Cave of Wonders, Aladdin is a hollow gem that falls apart as soon as you touch it.”

Josh Spiegel / SlashFilm

Aladdin is directed by Guy Richie, stars Will Smith, Mena Massoud, and Naomi Scott, and lands in theaters tomorrow, May 24.

Senior Staff Writer
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