The trailer for Disney’s upcoming live-action Aladdin remake premiered during Sunday’s Grammys ceremony. The trailer gave us breathtaking glimpses of the kingdom of Agrabah, the Cave of Wonders and perhaps the most heartstopping sight of all — a blue Will Smith.
The hilariously terrifying computer animated reincarnation of the beloved Robin Williams character has left fans flabbergasted. Twitter has been ablaze since with hot takes and quips regarding the new look of the Genie, and there’s no shortage of memes comparing Smith to everything from a member of the Blue Man Group to Paul Giamatti’s character in Big Fat Liar.
New York Times pop culture reporter Kyle Buchanan tweeted, “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.”
“The Will Smith genie looks like it’s airbrushed on an unlicensed rollercoaster that dislocates shoulders,” tweeted comedian Tom Walker.
The choice to make a computer animated character resemble the actor voicing the role isn’t unprecedented. In last year’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” Josh Brolin’s face was easily recognizable as Thanos. However, the major difference between Thanos and the Genie’s looks lies in execution.
It’s clear with “Infinity War” that the priority in Thanos’ design was to make a character that looked compelling and at least somewhat credible, and any similarities between the character and Brolin’s faces were secondary. In Aladdin, it looks like they just slapped Will Smith’s face on a blue dad bod, and the results are laughable.
The Genie Smith’s face is also the least creative choice that could’ve been made regarding the character’s looks. Modern computer animation allows for near limitless possibilities for what a character can look like, so the choice ends up feeling not only dumb, but lazy.
An argument can be made that giving the character a more cartoonish look would feel inconsistent with the realistic look of the rest of the movie. That’s a fair point, but this ungodly amalgamation of the “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and a character out of James Cameron’s “Avatar” isn’t the answer either.
Ultimately, we’ll have to wait until the movie premiere in May to see if the film ends up transcending the comical choices regarding the Genies’ new look. But short of a magic lamp, I don’t think anyone is going to be able to see past this big blue blunder.