The “Aladdin” Teaser Debuted at the Grammys and It Wasn’t Great

I don't think I want a friend like Will Smith.

Last night during the 2019 Grammys, the first teaser for Guy Ritchie’s live-action remake of beloved ’90s Disney flick Aladdin debuted, to largely unfavorable reviews on Twitter.

Hollywood is obsessed with remaking and subsequently bastardizing Disney films that were once wonderful. Tim Burton is directing a live-action Dumbo set for release this year, for which my hopes are low. Jon Favreau is directing a remake of The Lion King starring Donald Glover and Beyoncé, for which my hopes are slightly higher, mainly because the casting is on point and those people can actually sing. But Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast (starring Emma Watson) was forgettable, and while Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book wasn’t bad (this guy really likes his Disney remakes, huh), it certainly did not have the magic of the original. These remakes are 99 percent CGI, 1 percent real people. Without the hand-drawn animation—distinctly stylized lines, intricate matte backdrops—a large portion of the artistry belongs to computer programs, rather than human craftsmen and their illustrative prowess.

Back to the Aladdin teaser, which opens with the familiar strains of the savage, slightly-racist O.G. tune “Arabian Nights,” before we glimpse Hot Jafar sending Aladdin into the Cave of Wonders. At this point, I couldn’t help but notice that while Aladdin is sporting his signature vest, he is also wearing a shirt underneath it. Many have already expressed outrage over this style addition (Aladdin is notably the hottest Disney prince, and in the animated version he wears a teeny-tiny purple vest and nothing else—well, except pants).

At the teaser’s end, we get the big reveal: Genie. This was Robin Williams’ most iconic character, the lovable blue fairy godmother with more pop culture references than the Gilmore Girls. Robin is a tough act to follow under any circumstances, but audiences were not even close to kind about Will Smith’s reiteration. Understandably so: it looks like Will painted blue, with a bloated head and some tacky gold jewelry. That’s it. Some people thought he resembled Arrested Development‘s Tobias Funke. Others were reminded of the Blue Man Group. No one was impressed. 

Aladdin stars Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and Will Smith. It’s coming to theaters on May 24, so I look forward to roasting Will more then. 

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