It’s only been a month since the world made a meme of blue Will Smith after the release of THAT Aladdin teaser—and fair enough. That brief look dunked itself in a semi-serious tone and a dark colour palette, only to finish with the visual whiplash of a goofy-looking CGI genie.
Thankfully, the full trailer to Disney’s live-action remake looks far more promising.
From the get-go, this new trailer bursts with colour and movement, teasing a vibrant alternate take on the opening chase from the animated original (sans the song “One Jump Ahead”). The production team are flexing every muscle here—the streets of Agrabah look stupendous and they must have gone through a literal mountain of flower petals.
This light-heartedness go a long way to help us buy into Will Smith’s genie. The deity feels much more in place with this trailer (they probably rendered him for longer, too) and he even mockingly puts on a super-serious deep god voice before dropping that act. That moment drops our guard, too, and makes it easier for the brain to go: “Yeah, all right, I’m OK with this floating Fresh Prince of blue air.”
While the tune to Never Had a Friend Like Me appears to be in place, the trailer shows an admirable departure from the actual sequence. Pretty sure they had no other choice since the Robin Williams-dictated scene remains an animated fever dream masterpiece. Instead, they seem to be going for a more traditional dance number. Well, as traditional as you can be with a monkey on drums and a sentient rug playing maracas. It looks great and the puppetmaster hand is a particularly cool visual touch.
These departures from the animated original excite me the most. I really like Genie’s casual example of the terms and conditions of wish-making; there’s a glimpse of a frighteningly monstrous Iago; and I have no idea why Will Smith’s riding two ostriches, but I’m all for it.
Naturally, it’s the carbon-copy moments in this trailer that impress me the least—especially the A Whole New World sequence. From what’s shown, it’s almost like they just ran with the 1992 storyboards. However, despite all my cynacism, I did get chills hearing the song on full blast.
It’s proof that Disney’s marketing team know exactly what they’re doing. They can’t show too much novelty, lest they start a #NotMyAladdin movement, so they put this nostalgia blanket over that potential fire.