On paper this could sound passable, if you were to read only the most basic of post-it-fitting summaries. The story has potential, and there are a million ways to do it right, but remember, that's not what this is about. Oh no. The constraints are suffocating: you need to adhere as closely as possible to the animated inspiration, maintain the song and music format, hit as wide a demographic as possible, yet also pad tings out to match modern blockbuster runtime expectations. Okay then...
Since the source's appeal flowed largely from a central performance, it logically followed that Disney would want to re-create that as best it could... BUT they needed someone with real-life charisma, box-office appeal, minimal singing and dancing qualifications and character. Since the inimitable Robin Williams was a bit resentful of how Disney overstepped their rights on Aladdin and is also very dead, they went with obvious replacement... Will Smith?
I care nothing for Smith's beliefs or horrendous nepotism. The guy has incredible charm, and yes, he can act. But his energy is very different from Williams. It is laid back and ironic, not manic and over-the-top. Instead of adapting proceedings to his own type of charisma and humor, the filmmakers shoehorn him into a gaping Williams-shaped hole, and try as you might, you can never forget the extent to which the role was meant for - and in great part co-designed by - someone so different. The quality of Smith's blue CGI makeup is an abomination but it is kept to a minimum, and sadly, is not what truly sinks the film. It's the constant reminder of how wrong Smith is for the part as maintained by Disney, and watching him rap over Friend Like Me will make you feel sorry for the guy.
Speaking of casting, the demands of finding minority actors who can appeal to mainstream American audiences AND carry a blockbuster AND sing clearly proved to much for the studio (never a problem for an animated film where you can easily cheat your way past such constraints), and it's a shame, because in the moments between doing covers of famous songs and reciting inane dialogue, Mena Massoud is rather wonderful. Other choices mostly miss the mark, with Naomi Scott being completely flavorless and burdened with a useless subplot and Marwan Kenzari giving us a ridiculously young and neutered Jafar.
Other reviewers have commented on the cheap-looking visuals, and it often felt like characters were walking through the Magic Kingdom. Director Guy Ritchie brings absolutely no personality to the proceedings, and anyone involved in "adapting" the script for this ought to be ashamed of themselves.
No amount of nostalgia can save this train-wreck, and watching it I either felt embarrassed for the participants or yearning for the original. The only hope it raised was that of the perverse enjoyment some of us might soon experience at watching Disney completely butcher Lady and the Tramp.
Please, find another - ANY OTHER - use for your time and money!