When the first teaser for the Mouse House’s live action Aladdin premiered, I said, “Disney’s going to have to do a lot better than this with their next, first full trailer…”
Well this may only be a new TV spot (above) and not a full legit trailer, but it’s certainly not doing better. If anything, it’s substantially worse.
Instead of alleviating concerns that this won’t be a by-the-numbers VFX rehash of a superior and special source, it only ratchets up those fears exponentially, especially with performances that earn “shock-face-emoji” style reactions.
Nothing here engenders hope. On the contrary, it’s a slap-dash bit of digital effects overkill that reflexively elicits crinkle-faced winces.
Not only is this just a digital cartoon, but our first glimpse of Jafar (both in the body and voice of actor Marwan Kenzari) isn’t remotely menacing or evil, coming off as a regional theater also-ran who has no sense of how to create a rich character performance for an arch villain. But hey, if you’re crossing your fingers for a non-threatening Jafar, then they’re nailing it.
As Aladdin, Mena Massoud still isn’t giving off much more than an ethnically accurate avatar (although we’ve still seen far too little of him to make a conclusive judgment) and then…there’s Genie. Big Blue, played by Will Smith. I’m literally shaking my head as I type.
This could be a major disaster.
But if it is, it may be no fault of Will Smith’s (even though he may unfairly get dinged as the primary culprit). The problem: that’s not Will Smith. Yes, it’s his voice, but that’s a digitized blue hulking body that just happens to have Smith’s face comped onto it. Honestly, I’m not even sure if it’s that. I suspect the whole thing is animated, including a Smith-face facsimile. It looks stupid, fake, even cheap. I’m actually scared to see more.
We will eventually, no doubt, as new Marvel and Disney movies start to open in March; we’ll likely get a new, longer Aladdin trailer attached to them.
Disney’s live action Aladdin, directed by Guy Ritchie, opens on May 24, 2019.