Will Smith's Genie for the live-action Aladdin has been revealed in all his blue glory and unsurprisingly the internet has gone wild. Since the announcement of Smith being cast as the iconic magical character, there has been a great deal of discussion concerning director Guy Ritchie's Aladdin. The casting has arguably even overshadowed the existence of the remake itself. There has been doubt towards everything from Smith being too recognizable an actor to be in the cast with largely unknowns to if anyone is capable of living up to the performance of the late Robin Williams.
The reaction to Smith as Genie seemed to reach a fever pitch when first look photos of the movie arrived in late 2018. In those shots, Genie was decidedly not blue and looked a lot more like just Smith but with a long top knot. All that confusion, outrage and laughter has paled in comparison to the first look of Smith as the fully blue and very CGI Genie in Aladdin's first TV spot. Fans finally know what the rapper/actor looks like with blue skin and many were left wishing they had never learned.
The spot with the blue Smith debuted, rather fittingly, during the broadcast of the 2019 Grammys. It quickly overshadowed anything from that event, including the awards, as the internet took the first few seconds of Smith as Genie in the motion and ran with it. This is commemorated by the first internet reaction in our collection from Twitter user @BWDR who took the opportunity to pay homage to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
now this is a story all about how— Bright Wall/Dark Room (@BWDR) February 11, 2019
my life got flipped turned upside down
& i’d like to take a minute
just sit right there
i’ll tell you how i became a meme
and destroyed your new year pic.twitter.com/BWHMlOKA63
Slate's Sam Adams pointed out how bloated Smith appears in the role. The Genie has always been a rather rotund character but while his spherical nature works in cartoon form, it doesn't quite look right in live-action. Although that could just be because audiences are used to seeing the actor is very good shape. Whatever the reason, the new Genie looks very artificial, which Adams underlined by comparing Smith to Violet from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
guys calm down Will Smith looks fine pic.twitter.com/t90CPqY2VR— Sam Adams (@SamuelAAdams) February 11, 2019
Collider's Ryan Satin had a very somber take on the reveal. He put Smith's Genie side-by-side with a shot of the original character voiced by Williams. In the comparison, Williams' Genie is distressed and dismayed. William's Genie and his disappointment are meant to represent the audience and their reaction to the new version of the character.
The internet reacting to Will Smith’s genie pic.twitter.com/gK6ginlrxQ— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) February 11, 2019
However it seems like the overwhelming reaction to Smith as the lovable blue lamp dweller is one of fear. Whether this fear is facetious or entirely genuine, many have reacted with outright horror to the new take on the classic character. Kyle Buchanan from The New York Times theorized that the new Genie is actually the monster from Netflix's Bird Box. IGN's Jonathon Dornbush compared Genie to other blue characters in cinema using the meme inspired by Ariana Grande's "thank u, next." Meanwhile, PopSugar's Quinn Keaney and YouTuber Jenny Nicholson explained that Smith's Genie will be the cause of many sleepless nights for them.
Honestly the Will Smith genie feels like a spoiler for BIRD BOX because I finally understand what image would make them so fascinated but also want to kill themselves— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) February 11, 2019
One taught me love— Jonathon Dornbush (@jmdornbush) February 11, 2019
One taught me patience
One taught me pain pic.twitter.com/FMerfVNwgx
Will Smith genie is what appears in my room when I have sleep paralysis pic.twitter.com/NzMDOgvkkz— Jenny Nicholson (@JennyENicholson) February 11, 2019
It's pretty safe to say that while the new Genie definitely caused a buzz, it wasn't the smash success Disney probably wanted from the big live-action remake. Even though the predominant impression online has been negative, there's still a few positive reactions for the jolly blue giant. Even if the blue version of the genie terrifies some of the audience members, there's still a chance it could be a hit. There's even the possibility that Smith will appear predominantly human in the film as he did in the first official photos from the movie. Also, it's not as if Aladdin is Disney's only major live-action remake coming in 2019 with Dumbo and Lion King also arriving this year. Even if audiences don't want a friend like Smith's Genie, Aladdin isn't Disney's only hope to continuing their trend of successful live-action recreations.
Source: Various (see above)
- Aladdin (2019) release date: May 24, 2019