IF a blue genie emerged from a magic lamp and granted me three wishes, I’d contemplate using the first to completely overhaul the unconvincing digital trickery in Guy Ritchie’s musical fantasy.

Every time the army of special effects wizards casts a spell over this live-action remake of the Oscar-winning 1992 Disney animation, charm and believability vanish in a puff of smoke. Abu the kleptomaniac monkey, Rajah the Bengal tiger, and Flying Carpet, which exist on computer hard drives, fail to meld seamlessly with the performances, lavish costumes and colour-drenched set design.

Fantasy and reality are at loggerheads throughout Aladdin, never more so than in Will Smith’s motion-captured performance as the wise-cracking inhabitant of the lamp.

Materialising as an oversized Smurf with an angry man-bun, the Fresh Prince feels stale and synthetic as he attempts to replicate the quickfire verbal gymnastics performed by Robin Williams in the original film.

The unlikely hero is street urchin Aladdin (Mena Massoud), who runs amok on the streets of Agrabah with pet monkey Abu, stealing just enough to survive.

He falls hopelessly in love with Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott), who resents the rules imposed by her fusty father, the Sultan (Navid Negahban).

Tradition dictates that Jasmine must marry a man of similar social standing so Aladdin is denied the thing he desires most and Jasmine must entertain oafish suitors.

Meanwhile, the Sultan’s chief adviser Jafar (Marwen Kenzari) plots to seize power using a magic lamp.

Only a ‘diamond in the rough’ is permitted to enter the ‘Cave of Wonders’ so Jafar dispatches a clueless Aladdin into the bowels of the earth to steal the golden trinket.

Jafar double-crosses Aladdin but it is the wily ‘street rat’ who summons the Genie (Smith) and uses the first of his three wishes to reinvent himself as a man worthy of Jasmine’s fair hand.

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the Oscar-winning duo responsible for The Greatest Showman and La La Land, provide empowering lyrics for Jasmine’s #MeToo-era anthem Speechless, which Scott delivers with fist-pumping gusto.

She shares a gently simmering screen chemistry with Massoud and big musical numbers, especially the romantic duet A Whole New World, are beautifully choreographed for maximum visual impact.

It’s a kind of magical.

RATING: 6/10