Disney has released a set of new Aladdin character posters that feature Will Smith's Genie in his human (read: non-giant and blue) form. Directed by Guy Ritchie, the live-action film is based on Disney's animated 1992 movie and features Mena Massoud as the street urchin Aladdin, Power Rangers' Naomi Scott as the Arabian princess Jasmine, and Marwan Kenzari as the Sultan's scheming advisor Jafar, who wants to use the Genie and his magical lamp to take control of Agrabah.
The animated Aladdin was based on the Middle Eastern fairy tale from the One Thousand and One Nights story collection, and was an important part of Disney's creative and commercial renaissance in the '90s. Unsurprisingly, it's now getting a remake, as part of the Mouse House's trend of re-imagining their animated classics with modern CGI and live-action. So far, however, the live-action versions of characters like Aladdin and Jafar have gotten pretty mixed reactions... though, none more so than Smith as the Genie.
The Genie was famously voiced by Robin Williams in the animated Aladdin and was presented as being a magical blue-skinned being with a penchant for spontaneous celebrity impersonations (a direct result of Williams' ad-libbing and improv during his voice recording sessions). In Ritchie's retelling, Smith's Genie has blue skin in his natural giant form, but frequently disguises himself as an ordinary human, presumably in an effort to keep his identity secret from everyone but Aladdin. You can check out Genie's human form in the character posters below.
Reactions to the first footage of Smith's Genie in his blue form were largely negative, and with good reason. The visual effect was clearly unfinished when Disney unveiled it, and was noticeably improved in the full Aladdin trailer that released a month afterwards. Naturally, opinions remain varied when it comes to Smith's appearance(s) as the Genie and the costumes pictured here, many of which are modeled after the characters' outfits from the animated film. The live-action Beauty and the Beast remake drew similarly divided responses, when it came to the film's original costume designs versus those lifted straight from Disney's animated version.
So far, however, most people seem satisfied with the main characters' animal sidekicks in the Aladdin remake. As seen in these posters, Jafar's parrot Iago, Aladdin's monkey Abu, and Jasmine's tiger Rajah are all part of the film and are presented as photorealistic creatures, much like the animals in The Jungle Book remake and this summer's The Lion King re-imagining. Iago will also talk in the remake, with Alan Tudyk taking over from Gilbert Gottfried (who voiced the villainous bird in the animated Aladdin and its sequels).
- Aladdin (2019) release date: May 24, 2019