Let’s be honest, Disney’s live-action Aladdin is guaranteed to get shit on. There are fewer certainties in this movie business that I can think of than that. It started as soon as the movie was announced, got no better when the questionable casting started, and the fan outrage has flared up again with the release of new photos giving the first look at Will Smith as Genie.
So yeah…Will Smith looks sorta ridiculous. He’s literally a magical negro in this case, only now he has decided to dress the part. His top knot and beard speak volumes and are primed for ridicule, especially since he’s not blue like Robin Williams’ animated version. The blue would’ve been a nice distraction, and apparently the final version WILL be blue, but wasn’t ready to be shown just yet. The images provided by EW also show Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine and Mena Massoud as the titular street urchin, looking like he robbed a Gap. I thought Aladdin was supposed to be poor? We also see the lovable chimp Abu (awwwwww) and Marwan Kenzari as the villainous Jafar.
Anyway, the film is directed by Guy Ritchie, who used to make British crime movies but now thinks family movies are the way to keep working. He says “making a kids’ film was very appealing” and that his take on Aladdin would be “fresh and worth it, but not so much that it would wash away nostalgia.” Sounds a lot like what he said about King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. How’d that turn out, anyway?
So hit Twitter and #Aladdin and you’ll see fans are tearing Will’s Genie up already, but the actor does know he’s following in some big footsteps. At least he’s not trying to to make anybody forget Robin Williams’ incredible voice performance, choosing to play the character in his own way…
“I started to feel confident that I could deliver something that was an homage to Robin Williams but was musically different. Just the flavor of the character would be different enough and unique enough that it would be in a different lane, versus trying to compete.”
Unfortuantely, Ritchie sees the character as “a muscular 1970s dad” (???) while one Disney exec describes Genie as “part Fresh Prince, part Hitch”. Ugh.
So nah, I ain’t feelin’ this but there’s plenty of time for my mind to be changed. Aladdin hits theaters on May 24th 2019.