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Guy Ritchie Broke 'Aladdin'

By Kristy Puchko | Film | December 19, 2018 |

By Kristy Puchko | Film | December 19, 2018 |


Every Disney animated movie you loved as a kid is destined to return as a live-action movie. Sometimes it will be the wondrous and thoughtful Cinderella or The Jungle Book. Sometimes it will be the autotuned and underwhelming Beauty and The Beast or whatever Alice in Wonderland was. And sometimes it will be another Guy Ritchie trainwreck.

Ritchie’s last two projects were adaptations that crashed and burned at the box office, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. So naturally, this white male director is failing upward, helming Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin. And today, EW is giving us a first look.


Oof. This is a pale imitation of the 1992 classic.

There have been concerns over this adaptation from the start. Some worried that the studio who approved lyrics like “Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face. It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home,” shouldn’t entrust another adaptation of Arabic folklore to white filmmakers. Then outcry sparked when it was revealed white actor Billy Magnussen (who was hilarious in Game Night and Disney’s Into The Woods) was joining the project. However, we did not expect one glaring problem depicted in this cover image. Simply put: Guy Ritchie somehow made Aladdin unhot.

THIS is Aladdin.

Aladdin has a rascal’s swagger, a boyish charm, and a heart of gold. He was a dashing and devastatingly handsome romantic lead with sex appeal! But Ritchie’s movie is burying all that under a horrid haircut and a clunky hodgepodge of clothes that somehow even makes rolled up sleeves unsexy. And it’s not like they didn’t have a suitably studly actor for the role. Behold Mena Massoud on a red carpet.


Perhaps they feared being too provocative. Maybe Disney couldn’t have a real-live man running around treating a jaunty vest as a shirt. (Cowards.) But this is a big budget movie about romance, magic, and fantasy and Ritchie settled on a look that gives us NONE of this. He gave us an ensemble that seems hastily plucked from your eccentric aunt’s closet. And that haircut! It looks like it was styled with flop sweat and dad jokes! Frankly, THIS Aladdin could not score Jasmine.

At least Naomi Scott is serving face on this cover, silently promising us a princess who is as courageous and independent as her animated predecessor. But can we talk about her outfit?


Again, I get that a live-action belly-baring outfit might be too racy for Disney’s brand. And frankly, if they’re going to sell children costumes of this look (which they will) covering the belly makes it more marketable. But need it look so ugly? Throwing on glitter and gold accents doesn’t add to the glamour. It actually just makes this look cheap. And I get the latte-colored belly is meant as an allusion to the original look. But they should have abandoned that altogether if it results in something this unspectacular. Jasmine deserves better. She was a princess who knew how to keep it simple yet chic!

Lastly, Will Smith as the Genie is…fine. Again it seems like Disney’s biggest innovation with this remake is “everyone wears more clothes!” Still, the Genie on this cover isn’t the final version, which will be blue and floating like its cartoon inspiration. But rather than mimicking Robin Williams’ take on the character, a Disney exec said Smith’s Genie is “part Fresh Prince, part Hitch.”

Aladdin is coming to theaters May 24, 2019.

Kristy Puchko is the film editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.

Image sources (in order of posting): Disney, Getty