The set pieces are lovely, as are the costumes, and the actors did what they could given their constraints. Ritchie clearly relied heavily on special effects and green screens, which means the actors had to work even harder to seem engaged with each other or with their surroundings. “A Friend Like Me,” the Genie’s big moment to shine, was dulled considerably by Smith’s plodding interpretation—understandable, considering the fact that he was likely working on a soundstage and not the computer-generated Cave of Wonders viewers end up seeing on the screen. The same could be said for “A Whole New World,” the most exciting part of the original to me, and a song that still goes hard at karaoke, in the bathroom, or while doing the dishes. Jasmine and Aladdin hop atop the magic carpet, but the ride that they take lacks the fantastical sense of wonder conveyed in the animated version—perhaps because I knew while watching it that both these actors were astride a green screen platform, dodging and singing around invisible obstacles.

Truly, the best part about the entire movie wasn’t anyone real—it was the magic carpet, a completely computer-generated creation that was imbued with an actual personality. When Carpet was torn asunder during the movie’s climactic action sequence, in which Jafar (not hot, and not nearly threatening enough), tries to end the world via his Genie-granted all-powerful magic, I was upset. I tried to rifle through the dusty coffers of my memory to see if Carpet perished in the original; obviously, I was wrong, and obviously, Carpet is repaired anew. The fact that I was elated at its survival but did not care when it seemed Aladdin, Jasmine, the Sultan, and Dalia’s lives were in danger speaks volumes.

Nostalgia is a valuable commodity and movie executives with dollar signs in their eyes are pillaging the recent past to bring new, improved versions of beloved classics to the screen in the hopes of achieving the kind of massive returns Aladdin has—clocking in at $113 million its opening weekend, and neatly trouncing everything else in its path. This doesn’t mean that the movie itself is worthy of such numbers, but it does seem like an easy way to spend two hours on a hot summer’s day when you no longer feel like driving the kids to the Target and back.