Why I’m approaching the live-action ‘Aladdin’ with cautious optimism.

Aladdin is one of the Disney’s best animated classics. Released in 1992, it was one of the leaders during the Disney film era known as the Disney Renaissance. Following the story of Aladdin, an Arabian street urchin, he comes across a magic lamp that contains a genie, voiced by the late, great Robin Williams. After that, he embarks on an adventure to not only save the princess but also the entire kingdom of Agrabah.

Now that a new special look trailer dropped last night during the Grammys, I’m still excited to see the live-action adaptation, but now with more caution thanks to a mega-star in blue.

This new look at the live-action Aladdin wasn’t more than a minute but we got a little more: our first look at Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), Aladdin’s trusty monkey sidekick, Abu, Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine, and a quick look at one of my favorite musical numbers, “Prince Ali”. The one thing I was hoping to see is an official look at Will Smith as Genie.

And we got that look…with mixed results.


I don’t like being super critical but Will Smith looks like a legendary mystical Smurf. I also get flashbacks of those 90s Fruit Gushers commercials. I’m not horrified like other critics, quickly tweeting their disdain. I’m just praying this is unfinished work.

This isn’t the first time that Big Willie has faced criticism for taking the role of the iconic character from the 1992 animated classic. When Entertainment Weekly published a cover and photo with a first look at the actor as Genie, fans were upset. But I will cut Smith a break for a role he described as “terrifying” because of the legacy he inherited. I trust Smith to make the role his own work and be himself.

I hope – REALLY hope – this look at the big blue Genie is the result of unfinished CGI and we end up with a better look in May.

Aladdin lands in theaters on May 24.

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