We all know the story of what happens when a lamp causes the release of a genie. It’s been covered in everything from the classic Looney Tunes cartoons to Disney’s famous version, but with “Three Thousand Years of Longing,” this tale takes on a new view on it.
Directed by George Miller (yes, THAT George Miller, but remember he directed “Happy Feet”), Alithea (Tilda Swinton) is a scholar specializing in mythology and storytelling visiting Istanbul. After she finds an old bottle as market shop that she simply HAS to have, she winds up freeing up a Djinn (Idris Elba) who grants her the traditional three wishes in exchange for his freedom. As their conversation progresses, he tells her the story of his previous incarcerations in the bottle as Alithea tries to use her knowledge of this type of situation to navigate the wishes she has been given.
If there is one thing I liked about this film, it would be its visuals which were VERY well done between the CGI and set design as the Djinn tells his story. Most of the script is simply Alithea and her Djinn, but their chemistry carries it very nicely. Elba especially does a great job as is usually expected from him.
Unfortunately, the trailers for this film are very deceiving in the balance of the story itself. While it shows a lot of the “modern day” footage, the majority of this film is more about Elba’s character telling his story with he and Alithea being only about a quarter of the film at most. I understand why they spent so much of the overall time on that from an emotional standpoint, but it still took a left turn from what my expectations were as well as being about twenty minutes too long. What I enjoyed about “Three Thousand Years of Longing” could not balance out what I didn’t, so I will recommend this film as only a Redbox rental.