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!

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