Okay, so I’ve got a pitch for you. It’s a live-action remake of Disney’s Aladdin, but it’s directed by Guy Ritchie and hey, where are you going, come back…
Look, as Film Twitter’s resident Guy Ritchie apologist and that woman who hasn’t stopped talking about The Man From U.N.C.L.E. since it came out, this is a tough one for me. Talk about a director who’s all wrong for the material. I can only assume Guy is pals with someone very high up at Disney or some sort of monkey’s paw curse was made. The build-up for this movie hasn’t been great either, from questions over casting to the relative lack of promotion for the movie over the past few months to issues of white extras being painted brown for crowd scenes (seriously, what the F*CK, Disney?!) While live-action remakes of their animated classics have been Disney’s bread and butter for the past couple of years and one of their real guaranteed money makers, this film is the first time that’s felt like a genuine risk. This feels like it could flop.
And the full-length trailer? Does it alleviate those fears? Eh, not really.
The first ten seconds, when it’s just A Guy Ritchie Movie, are fun! And then… Well…
Will Smith as the Genie is already the stuff of memes and it looks… kind of better in the full trailer. It’s still not great, but this was always going to be a tough sell. Some of the jokes land but the acting seems a bit sketchy. Hot Jafar though? Here for it. Overall, my issue with the trailer is the sheer tonal dissonance of it. The action is very sharply edited and kinetic in the way Ritchie is known for but then it has to go full cartoon strangeness with the ‘A Friend Like Me’ bit, but then it’s still angling for Ritchie realism, but then it’s so clearly trying to copy the original movie and oh no I’ve gone dizzy.
I’d like this to be good but I’m not sure this was ever the kind of film Disney should have been doing a live-action remake of, at least not with a white dude directing. The original film was already an uninformed mish-mash of Asian and Arabic stereotypes, one that was already controversial upon release, and the whole point of these remakes is for Disney to make a near identical copy of that branded product. There is room for updates but not much that will directly impact that familiar property.
On the bright side, my local multiplex allows alcohol, so that may help me with this viewing experience.
Aladdin will be released on May 24, 2019.
Header Image Source: YouTube // Disney