Rated 2.0

Will Smith’s strange, big, blue Genie turns out to be the surprising highlight of the fair-to-middling Aladdin, the live-action remake of the Disney animated classic that was big for Robin Williams. Smith does just fine in the role Williams voiced in 1992, and the character gets fleshed out in a manner that is genuinely moving at times, even if his blueness is perhaps a bit creepy from some angles. (And it looks like he’s pushing a big poop out of the top of his head thanks to that hairstyle.) In fact, if they decided to make a horror spinoff where the blue genie starts biting people’s heads off, that would be kind of awesome. He’s scary already. Director Guy Ritchie goes the full musical route, and while he has a reasonably talented cast on hand, the whole enterprise feels a bit on the unnecessary side. It’s overlong, and one cast member in particular ultimately pulls the picture into the unfortunate zone. Mena Massoud makes for a halfway decent Aladdin, while Naomi Scott provides a luminous Jasmine. Both do good jobs singing the famous songs, and they most certainly look the parts. Their magic carpet ride while belting “A Whole New World” is charming, and they make for a cute couple. It’s a shame that it’s all in the service of something that, no matter how much money is being thrown at the screen, feels hollow.