I don’t have the best track record with live action Disney movie trailers. Previously, I talked about how the live action Lion King looks pointless… you know. because it’s not really live action, is it? Before I end up on a tangent about CGI lions, it’s best to get into today’s trailer, Aladdin. The trailer that everyone is talking about. So, since everyone else is doing it, I guess I should throw my own opinionated hat into the ring.
This trailer is tiny and doesn’t serve to do anything other than provide a glimpse at the movie’s characters and setting (which seems fitting as it is titled as a ‘Special Look’). These Disney stories are so well known that essentially all the audience needs from these trailers are exactly that, glimpses at the world and the characters that we all know and love. In my opinion, this works well as a trailer… so why is everyone talking about it? You already know. Will Smith’s Genie gets his first proper look here and by god has the backlash been intense.
While I agree that he doesn’t look amazing, I’m not really understanding the vitriol that is being voiced. Robin William’s passing was unexpected and tragic, a great loss to all lovers of film (particularly comedy films). While his portrayal of the genie in the original Aladdin is now iconic and could never be matched, I really don’t see why you would use this as an excuse to bag a man that has openly said he knows he cannot compete and is going to try and bring something different to the character. He has said he wants to bring something new to the table—he’s not going to try to emulate the performance we all already know so well. Will Smith isn’t here to ruin your childhood genie, he is here to bring something different to the character while still paying homage to the legend that came before him.
What I’m disappointed about when it comes to this trailer is that it feels like Disney has tried to go Bollywood with the film, but not wholeheartedly enough to get interesting. Scenes show glimpses of the Bollywood style (see the parade and Jasmine’s outfit in the trailer) but it feels as if Disney has a foot out the door the whole time. Overall, I think this film looks fine and will serve mostly as a decent enough, family-friendly Sunday afternoon movie that parents put on to entertain the kids.