LET’S JUST GET THIS OUT THE WAY. I HATE WILL SMITH’S GENIE.
If you still haven’t seen it–if you’ve been stuck under a rock–here’s the trailer.
Look. There’s a lot I don’t like about this trailer. There was a lot I didn’t like about the first look images (except for Hot!Jafar, Marwan Kenzari). But this trailer? This trailer is hot garbage.
I’m sorry for being so blunt, and I don’t want to be so blunt about this. But I just don’t know how this film is going to be good. Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) looks like she’s completely showcased in facetune. As hot as Kenzari is, I wasn’t expecting Jafar’s voice to be so non-threatening. Perhaps he’s going for “normal” slimy. However, some other vocal work needs to be done.
And then we get to the Genie. What a problem.
Where do we even begin with Smith’s Genie? First of all, we know that no one or nothing would compare to Robin Williams’ performance or Eric Goldberg’s design as the lead animator on the Genie. But instead of seeing this as a negative problem for the live-action Aladdin to overcome, this should have been a moment of creative opportunity.
Since there’s no way for any Genie to compare to Williams’ Genie, why not just go all out and make a Genie that’s incomparable to the original? Make the Genie weird and scary in his magical form, so much so that it makes sense for him to change into his Will Smith-human form. According to a cursory look at Wikipedia, jinn can have a variety of appearances, from animal forms to wind, mist and sandstorms, to human-animal hybrids. They are described as “monstrous.” So why not make the Genie actually a monster? Even exaggerating the animated design of the Genie and playing on the uncanny valley (similar to this horrifying uncanny valley version of Homer Simpson by Miguel Vasquez) would be scary by itself. Aladdin would be screaming at the Genie to turn into something more palatable.
INSTEAD, Disney went the laziest route possible, which is create a CGI puppet and digitally slap Will Smith’s face on it. I think we’re all collectively realizing just how much the film’s success depends on the success of representing the Genie. If the Genie sucks, then the film is already on the losing slip-and-slide towards WTF-ery. Smith’s acting performance isn’t helping matters either; from the trailer, we have seen that he’s doing tons of Will Smith-isms instead of creating a character.
In short, I don’t know about this movie, y’all. Mena Massoud is one of the two people that have me interested in seeing this film (the other being, of course, Kenzari). But other than that, this film is looking like a skip.
(Of course, I’m going to review it, though.)
What do you think? Give me your opinions below or on Twitter @moniqueblognet and @COLORwebmag!