If this first official trailer is any indication, Disney’s been taking rigorous notes following the negative internet backlash to the first two Aladdin sneak peaks.
After a debut teaser of mostly digital animation, then a TV spot that had an awkwardly rendered Will Smith as the blue Genie, online reactions were not kind, ranging from complaints about how the “live action” remake was just another form of animation (this time digitally rather than cartoon-y) and the Genie looked cheap and ridiculous.
Addressing both of those concerns head-on, the first full-length trailer for the new Aladdin mostly showcases sequences filmed on location and sets rather than against green screens; the Genie effect is noticeably better as well, with moments where Smith is his normal melanin self (and fully real) rather than being blue the entire time.
In addition, enough original humor and exchanges are teased here to suggest that this won’t be just a slavish shot-for-shot remake.
It’d be overstating things to say that all previous concerns have been erased; they haven’t. Genie is improved, but I’m still cautious about how effective the final look will be. Also, despite seeing more sets and locations, there remains a strong over-reliance on digital wizardry.
Maybe worst of all, it looks like nothing at this point can change the fact that the Jafar character is a bland miscalcuation, nothing close to the rich, delicious villainy we saw from the original.
Even so, this trailer is an improvement — even a considerable one — and if the final film simply matches what is seen here but at feature length, then Disney might very well have a fine enterainment on its hands. That, at least, is my current wish.
Aladdin opens on May 24, 2019.