Right now, Disney is engaged in the odd but lucrative project of remaking all its old animated movies. These are considered “live-action remakes” even if they tend to include as much CGI as actual live action. Thus far, some of the movies — Pete’s Dragon, The Jungle Book — have been pretty good, while others — Beauty And The Beast, the Tim Burton Alice In Wonderland joints — have been less so. But we’re about to get so many of them. This month, Disney will release Burton’s take on Dumbo, and yesterday, we posted Arcade Fire’s cover of the old lullaby “Baby Mine,” which will play over the end credits. And today, we learn the unfortunate news that Will Smith will not just play an absurd blue genie in the new Aladdin remake. He will play an absurd blue rapping genie.
During the Grammys last month, the world got a look at the blue-genie version of Will Smith, a role he’s taking over from the late hyperactive voice-acting star Robin Williams. People couldn’t stop making Twitter jokes about it all night. Today, Disney shared a new Aladdin trailer. It includes a welcome indication that Smith will not be blue for the entire movie, though he will apparently be doing that goatee-ponytail thing. But we are also going to face the ridiculous spectacle of Smith rapping in character as the genie — and doing it when he’s blue, to boot.
For a quick few tantalizing seconds in the trailer, we hear Smith doing a rap version of “Friend Like Me,” a song that Williams sang in the original 1992 Aladdin. It is not a song that, you would think, would lend itself to a rap interpretation. There’s a case to be made that Will Smith is the greatest children’s rapper of all time, from his ’80s Fresh Prince “Parents Just Don’t Understand” days to his ’90s “Men In Black” era. But this? This looks rough. Observe the trailer:
Aladdin is in theaters 5/24. If you have children, you will probably end up paying money to see it, and there is nothing you can do about that.