Aladdin purists, avert your eyes.
Disney released the first full trailer for its live-action Aladdin movie during the Grammy Awards tonight (Feb. 10), revealing for the first time Will Smith’s look as the beloved genie. Fans had already seen an image of Smith as the genie in his human form, but had yet to see the famous actor in full-blown genie mode in all its floating blue glory.
That changed tonight, and now there’s no going back:
The genie arrives about 45 seconds into the one-minute trailer. “You really don’t know who I am?” Smith, as the genie, asks Aladdin after emerging from the lamp. “Genie, wishes, lamp—none of that ringing a bell?”
Unfortunately, yes, it does a ring a bell. A bell that can’t be unrung.
Smith’s genie, perhaps not shockingly, looks like a giant floating Will Smith with a weird goatee. But Disney is all-in on adapting all of its animated movies as live-action ones starring real human actors, and it’s not going to let any part of its canon, no matter how impractical or resistant to live-action transformation, get in the way of that. In addition to Aladdin, Disney has live-action versions of Dumbo, Mulan, and several others already in the works.
Last year, Disney showed off the first look of its Lion King reimagining (which is not live-action, but aims to make the classic 1990s animated film appear “photorealistic”), and the result was similar. The updated animation might be more impressive on a technical scale, but it also sucks all the life and originality out of the original animation—and that’s what made it special in the first place. The genie in Aladdin simply does not work as a real person, let alone donning the face of one of the most well-known actors on the planet.
Even if the commotion over Smith’s genie does ultimately affect ticket sales when Aladdin comes out in May, Disney won’t notice. The studio is poised for a gigantic 2019, thanks to Avengers: Endgame, Toy Story 4, Captain Marvel, Star Wars: Episode IX, and more.