A trailer for Disney’s live action version of Aladdin has been released, along with its debut poster. The film is the latest in Disney’s ongoing campaign of adapting some of their popular animated backlog into live-action movies, which you could say began in 2010 with Alice in Wonderland.
The trailer is definitely just a teaser, showing only a few famous locations from the 1992 animated classic, as well as a glimpse at Mena Massoud’s Aladdin. We can see that Disney are aiming for a faithful rendition of the original’s unique look, but the trailer gives away very little besides that. We do not see the Genie, who is being played by Will Smith in this new version. That is perhaps for the best, as it is unlikely that Smith will ever be able to bring as much character and humor to the role as Robin Williams did to the animated version.
The poster is equally restrained, featuring an image of the genie-containing lamp along with the ominously meta phrase ‘choose wisely’. It makes one wonder why Disney bother releasing the poster so far in advance of the film, if all it is going to show us is something we all knew would be in the movie anyway. It’s a very nice looking lamp, for sure, but it better look fucking amazing when it’s being made by the biggest film company in the world.
Similar to last year’s Beauty and the Beast remake, Aladdin will be a musical. I remember watching the Beauty and the Beast adaptation and thinking ‘what is the bloody point?’ It was just the animated film beat for beat, only it had lost much of its charm in the transition to live action. It also suffered for making me stare at Emma Watson for two hours, along with her irritatingly unemotive face and bland attempts at acting. Thankfully, Watson will not be in Aladdin, but the issue of simply changing an animated film to a live action one remains. What’s the point? It’s just the same movie will a different visual style. It is about the least imaginative and most creatively lazy scheme Disney have ever come up with, and this is the company that made several sequels to High School Musical.
At least we have Guy Ritchie directing, who may not always make good movies but they certainly always have character. Hopefully, some of his trademark flares will survive being churned through the Disney corporate machine. Still, I find it not to be cynical of this new age of Disney films, as their milking of nostalgia just feels so painfully transparent. Yes, I felt my heart flutter a bit hearing the old music and seeing the treasure room in its multi-million dollar CGI glory, but that is exactly what the scores of market analysts and executive producers were aiming for.
They are taking images from your childhood, back when you could still feel things besides exhaustion and anxiety, then tarting them up a bit and trying to sell them back to you. You never will feel that same childish joy from these old Disney movies again, though, no matter how much they try to convince you Emma Watson can sing. Upon leaving the cinema, all you will end up with is a longing for the past and a lighter wallet.
Check out the trailer below if you want to check it out for yourself. Do you think Disney is revealing their lack of creativity in these live-action remakes? Or do you think it is a legitimate way to breathe life into the old films? Discuss in the comments below!