Aladdin and the Death Lamp (Review)

Aladdin and the Death Lamp

Written by Joe Morganella, Angela Mancuso, and Kevin Commins
Directed by Mario Azzopardi

Mister Aladdin Sir…BAAAAAAARRRRFFFF!!!

With the thematic elements of a heroic swashbuckling adventure in a faraway land, Aladdin and the Death Lamp swoops in and turns out to be an entertaining monster flick. Aladdin and the Death Lamp’s heroes are treasure hunters, the stakes are huge, and the evil monster runs around killing people regardless. Aladdin and the Death Lamp uses the plot to help keep the budget low, the treasure hunting lets them run around empty sets that don’t require a lot of extras running around to make it realistic. The quests keep you following along the story instead of questioning the plot direction. And everyone looks like they’re enjoying themselves, which is always fun.

Much as I liked how scenery chewing everyone was in Pegasus vs. Chimera, Aladdin and the Death Lamp has the opposite flavor, with all of the heroes playing their roles earnestly and seriously. This also works, and makes Aladdin and the Death Lamp a better film. And it helps that there is an evil guy being ridiculously evil as well. Aladdin is the most heroic man who ever lived, Khalil is the wisest man who ever lived, Shifa will deliver lines about nobility that would make you groan if they were delivered any less earnestly, Luca plays off his charmy and tempted halves well, and Sharira would threaten his own mother with death if she tried to ground him.

I’m a Death Eater! And now that Voldemort is back, we’re in charge!

The main problem is the unevenness of the monster. The Jinn is specifically stated to be trying to open a portal to let all the other Jinn into our world to cause trouble. But it’s also slaved to a lamp and must grant the wishes of the owner. And it also grants wishes to random people. And it is supposed to do so in an effort to kill the people by their own wishes, in a “careful what you wish for” type lesson. But the Jinn also just straight up murders people. All of these things sort of loose the focus of the monster’s motivation. And that is very important to me, a weirdo.

It’s an age of danger because it’s the age of Jinns!! Science and logic is ruled by magic. It’s the age of Insane Clown Posse??? Fucking magnets, I knew they’d cause trouble! Each of the heroes has a different element symbol: Earth, Wind, Water, Fire. But there is no Bruce Willis or Milla Jovovich running around. Only evil Genies!

You don’t want to know what word you say on You Can’t Do That on Television to make this happen!

Aladdin (Darren Shahlavi) – The heroic hero who is the best person on the planet. Aladdin robs graves for money for orphans. Darren Shahlavi plays him so amazingly heroic in a way that you rarely see outside of pulp novels. Which is sort of awesome, as these films are pulp cinema.
Luca (Noam Jenkins) – Luca is Aladdin’s best friend and fellow orphan brother. He’s sort of a lovable rogue, but he has high gambling debts and a greedy streak that leads to his downfall.
Shifa (Kandyse McClure) – The little sister of the orphan crew, Shifa is left behind, but returns with Khalil to save Aladdin and Luca when they get into trouble. She’s also crafty and thinks on her feet.
Khalil (Eugene Clark) – The wise old orphanage runner who knows the secret histories of the three main characters and what happened with the Jinn long ago. Plays the wise elder role.
Sharira (George Ghali) – Corrupt merchant trader who is also seeking ultimate power through controlling a Jinn. Uses debt leverage over Luca to worm his way into the adventure, but pays for his greed.
Jinn (CGI) – The evil Jinn looks like a smoke dinosaur alien. Trapped in a lamp for decade and now free to sucks on souls and turn into a tiger and unlock doors. This Jinn has some odd hobbies.
I’m not worthless! And I don’t have fleas!

A genie lives in this Netty Pot!

An evil Jinn was going to conquer the world, so the three destined warriors trapped it in a lamp (as sending it home would mean opening a portal through which more jinn could invade) and chuck the lamp into a river. Then they make a map to the location for some dumb reason!

Years later, grave robbers Aladdin and Luca bust in on a tomb that just has an old book in it. And a two-headed giant snake! Which is now a 0-headed giant snake thanks to the power of chopping off heads. They find a book with strange markings that match tattoos Aladdin and Luca have (along with their friends Shifa and Khalil), the book mentioning four keys to unlocking something.

Aladdin knows they found something valuable when Sharira offers a ton of money for it without even haggling. He refuses to sell, but Sharira attempts to force Luca to betray Aladdin, as Luca owes a lot of gambling debt. Aladdin is all set to go treasure hunting, thinking the map leads to a fables treasure. Despite Khalil’s attempts to dissuade them, Aladdin and Luca set off, along with their regular crew of three other guys who will soon be Jinn food.

Jafar? I ate that sucker for breakfast!
Time to stalk and kill some Frosted Flakes!

Aladdin easily finds the lamp in a river, and out comes the Jinn when the earth shakes and that causes the lamp to rub in Aladdin’s hand. The Jinn looks like a ghost lizard! It sucks up the soul of one of the cannon fodder guys but can’t hurt Aladdin due to his marking.

The Jinn then turns into a fake tiger and kills another fodder guy. Jinn is making up for lost time here!

Sharira comes and steals the lamp, and Khalil and Shifa arrive to save Aladdin and Luca (and the last remaining cannon fodder guy, comic relief Abdullah (Suresh John)). Khalil gives critical background information about the past of the orphans while Sharira misuses the Jinn for wishes of things like tents and wine. Khalil reveals that Jinns only work in the sun, and their injuries are repaired by the sun. And there is a magic ring that will let you control the Jinns better than the current method of just having the lamp.

I’m going all Ben Sisko on you!
Why you should regularly weed your garden!

Everyone goes to an island to look for the ring, while the Jinn starts going all Leprechaun on Sharira’s men, granting their random statements like “I wish i could lie here forever” and then they get murdered by vines squishing them to the rock. Even comic relief guy Abdullah gets a wish to be younger, but he also wishes to weigh less…which is accomplished via his arms getting ripped off. D’oh!

Sharira wishes for a mark so he can open the portal and get lots of jinns to control, but the mark he gets is a snake that turns into a real snake and kills him. This is some Harry Potter type stuff, man!

Luca then goes greedy and wishes to be taken away and for Khalil to not tell him what to do anymore…which means Khalil dies. D’oh!

Luca opens the portal and goes full on evil. Shifa joins him and gets a snazzy new outfit. Oddly enough, nothing comes through the portal, like none of the Jinn know the door is open. This is probably somewhat accurate, do you expect thousands of Jinns to be waiting outside a portal for like 30 years?

Aladdin and the Second Grade Science Experiment!
Hi, Slytherin House says you’re rejected!

Khalil is revived when Luca wishes that he’s not dead, and Luca goes good enough to give back the lamp. But he gets sucked into the portal by bad CGI Jinn as Luca was too evil for redemption. The Jinn gets shoved back into the lamp and they toss the lamp into the portal, which collapses it. The day is saved, the planet is saved, until the next moron somewhere tries to open up a Jinn door. Seriously, people, don’t be opening random doors to dimensions where evil creatures live. This is like Dimensional Door Opening 101.

Aladdin and the Death Lamp is some fun cheese, some of the better sequences are when the expected kill order gets out of whack and the film goes in a different direction. When these creature feature films get creative, they become good fun.

Now to make the Statue of Liberty disappear!
I got a new job selling knives.

And shoutout to Goon #1, Tig Fong, who managed to be in both Pegasus vs. Chimera and Aladdin and the Death Lamp.

Say, you’re a lot smaller than my last master. Either that, or I’m getting bigger. Look at me from the side. Do I look different to you?
Great, now Chris Brown is a Jinn!

Rated 8/10 (Ancient writing, one named actor, evil goon, evil goon, ship they just have access to without explanation, sign of fire, the writing is on the wall, ringing in the new year)

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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!