5 Things We Want to See In Disney’s Live-Action ‘Aladdin’
While it’s not exactly a whole new world, the story of Disney’s Aladdin arriving in live-action could end up being wish fulfillment for fans of the 1992 original.
Heading to theaters May 24, the movie is directed by Guy Ritchie – who was behind Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, and the Robert Downey Jr’s Sherlock Holmes films. And it is also starring Will Smith as Genie, stepping into the big blue role made famous by the late, great Robin Williams.
Speaking of Genie, even though he is only supposed to grant us three, we have five wishes for the new adaptation of Aladdin.
Disney’s original Aladdin featured a lot of magic – including the flying carpet character, Jafar as a giant cobra, and a whole lot of hijinks courtesy the phenomenal cosmic powers (and itty bitty living space) of Genie. As fun as it was to see Abu magic-snapped into an elephant (and camel, horse, duck, ostrich, turtle, and car) in the animated movie, there is a lot of eye-popping potential for computer effects in the live-action version. After all, Genie does like to have fun with his magic, and that requires great effects to bring it to life.
A Whole New World of Magic
Along with excitement for revivals of classic songs from the 1992 Aladdin, the new movie will include two new songs. One will be empowering for women, said Aladdin himself Mena Massoud. Composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul – the duo behind La La Land and The Greatest Showman – collaborated with Disney music maestro Alan Menken to write a song for Jasmine. They also wrote a duet for Aladdin, and Jasmine, and a new verse for “Arabian Nights.” Menken will likewise score the film.
Our Fresh Prince Wish
Robin Williams is synonymous with Genie, and as Will Smith said on his Instagram, even though Genies don’t have feet, he has big shoes to fill as the new, blue wish-granter. And we hope to see Smith using his charisma to make the character his own, just as Williams did by his famous improvisation. Smith has said he will pay homage to Williams, but the slightly reworked “Friend Like Me” will be a rap with melody, which means Smith might bring a little Fresh Prince to the Arabian Nights.
The Guy (Ritchie) behind the Genie
Director Guy Ritchie is known more for films about crime, and gangsters rather than family-friendly Disney fare, but he has a signature style when it comes to tracking shots, chase sequences, and quick cuts (and we’ve already seen a little in the trailer as Aladdin parkours through Agrabah). Composers Pasek and Paul have called Ritchie’s take “muscular and action-packed,” and that could lend itself to intense scenes such as the escape from the Cave of Wonder, and the showdown with Jafar.
Laughter is magical
Some of the major themes of Aladdin are about learning to be true to yourself, but the movie is also incredibly funny (and includes both a monkey sidekick and a smart-aleck parrot). Sure, the Genie is a source of much laughter, but everyone has their moments, and we’re looking forward to the fun coming through. This is another strength of Ritchie, and Will Smith has strong comedic chops. Plus, the original movie had a little fun being part of the Disney family by featuring Easter eggs from The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio, and iconic Goofy hats. Hopefully, the playfulness of the 1992 movie sticks around.
Aaron is a TV host/journalist/author who professionally nerds out about comics, sci-fi, horror, and paranormal entertainment, aka Paranormal Pop Culture. He’s been on Travel Channel, Syfy, CNN,Today Show & more. He travels the world hosting at comic-cons, talking about ghosts, and visiting tiki bars