It’s finally here, our first look at the 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin. Featuring tremendous actors like Will Smith, it’s one of the most anticipated movies of the upcoming year. However, like always, the internet has some strong opinions. When Entertainment Weekly published their sneak-peak of the new reboot, some of the photos received cheers from fans. Other images, on the other hand, were met with controversy. Want to know about everything good, bad, and in-between? Read on!
A First Look
Disney is currently busting out remake after remake. Some have received a warm, loving reception, like 2016’s Jungle Book. Others, like the 2017 remake of The Beauty and the Beast, failed to leave a lasting impression. Despite some recent troubles, Disney shows no sign of slowing down in the new year with four live-action remakes debuting in 2019: Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Lady and the Tramp.
In November, Disney released a teaser trailer for the Lion King remake, which was met with nearly universal acclaim. Then, this month, Entertainment Weekly published ten never-before-seen photos from Disney’s upcoming remake of Aladdin. The cover of the magazine shows Genie, Aladdin, and Princess Jasmine – portrayed by Will Smith, Mena Massoud, and Naomi Scott.
However, while viewers loved the Lion King teaser, many felt less than thrilled with the look of the new Aladdin remake…
Original Aladdin vs. New Aladdin
One of the main issues people had was how different the live-version looks from the original. The live-action version of The Jungle Book from 2016 was pretty similar, as was the Lion King teaser. In fact, Lion King‘s trailer is nearly shot-for-shot with the original. On the other hand, the new Aladdin seems considerably different than the original.
It’s always problematic when remaking a movie: can the director and creators – for the 2019 Aladdin it’s Guy Richie – take their creative liberty and do whatever they think is right by the movie? After all, it is a remake – if someone wants to see the original, they can easily stream or watch it somewhere. Or, rather, should creators stick to the original, for the nostalgia and “respect” towards the movie?
While some could live with some of the changes Richie made, there was one significant change that left fans stunned.
Will Smith’s Genie…Isn’t Blue?
One of the first questions that fans raised when Disney announced the new Aladdin‘s casting was – can Will Smith fill in the shoes of the incredible Robin Williams as the Genie? Williams’ Genie role is iconic. He brought to life a wonderful, heartwarming, hilarious character. That’s a very tall order. However, Smith is a great comedian and generally is an excellent actor. Many people have got their hopes up for Smith as the Genie.
However, for many, those hopes dashed with the release of the new photos. In every new photo, the Genie looks remarkably like Will Smith and remarkably un-blue. For those who do not remember, Robin Williams’ genie looked nothing like the actor and was very blue. Thankfully, Smith cleared up the confusion a few days later on Instagram, writing: “Yes, I’m gonna be BLUE! 🙂 This is how the Genie is in Human / Disguise Form. My character will be CGI most of the movie.”
Not Everything Was A Complete Mess
There wasn’t a dull moment for the upcoming release of this movie. Once more, when Disney announced the casting, some did not approve of the choice for the role of Jasmine, Naomi Scott, despite the actress being part. However, many wanted a Bollywood actress or “whole” Indian actress to portray her. However, can anyone say Scott is “less Indian” than someone else? She’s a great actress whose fit for the role. Thankfully, over time this reaction dissipated. Now, many are happy that Disney didn’t pick a Caucasian actress for the part of the princess. Additionally, the actors playing Aladdin, Mena Massoud, and Jafar, Marwan Kenzari, are Egyptian and Tunisian, respectively.
Speaking of Jafar, Kenzari’s depiction of the character (above, left) was one of the only new photos not to receive any criticism. In fact, fans loved the new picture! Within a few days, fans dubbed Kenzari’s take on the character “Hot Jafar.” If you do a quick search on Twitter, you’ll find 1,000s of tweets about #HotJafar. Now, should a predatory villain be that attractive? Well, that’s up to you!
Walt Disney Pictures will release the new Aladdin on May 24, 2019. For now, we’ll patiently wait and see, casting and directing choices aside, if it lives up to the hype. Or the original. To ease the long wait, you can watch the new teaser trailer below, or check it out over on YouTube.