A new clip from Disney’s upcoming Aladdin live-action remake has landed online, this time giving us a look at a new iteration of one of the animated film’s classic songs. “Prince Ali” is the showstopping number that introduces Aladdin’s new, fancy look thanks to the Genie, and in the animated film is full of color and vibrancy and, well, Robin Williams. Obviously that can’t translate directly into a live-action film, but director Guy Ritchie and star Will Smith make the attempt.
The results are… underwhelming. This kind of just feels like a really expensive Will Smith music video, and it lacks and sort of propulsion or visual panache beyond just a lot of confetti. Perhaps it works better in the context of the film, but this clip doesn’t do much to inspire confidence that Aladdin will be a successful adaptation.
Smith isn’t exactly bad here, but it was always a no-win situation stepping into the shoes of Williams—especially in a live-action medium. With animation, Williams’ Genie could morph and twist and shift on the spot, making his performance all the more dynamic. But Smith’s take on Genie is basically his character from Hitch, whose job is to makeover Aladdin and set him up with Jasmine.
We’ll see. Ritchie’s been on a string of good films lately, albeit underrated ones. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a charming delight, and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is insane in the best way. But I fear Ritchie got kind of lost in the Disney machine here and ended up making something bland and uninspired. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.
Check out the Aladdin clip below. The film also stars Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen, and Numan Acar. Aladdin opens in theaters on May 24th.
Here’s the official synopsis for Aladdin:
A thrilling and vibrant live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic, “Aladdin” is the exciting tale of the charming street rat Aladdin, the courageous and self-determined Princess Jasmine and the Genie who may be the key to their future. Directed by Guy Ritchie, who brings his singular flair for fast-paced, visceral action to the fictitious port city of Agrabah, “Aladdin” is written by John August and Ritchie based on Disney’s “Aladdin.” The film stars Will Smith as the Genie; Mena Massoud as Aladdin; Naomi Scott as Jasmine; Marwan Kenzari as Jafar; Navid Negahban as the Sultan; Nasim Pedrad as Dalia; Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders; and Numan Acar as Hakim.