Ever since Disney announced it was doing a live remake of the classic animated film “Aladdin,” anticipation and speculation have been building amongst fans about how a live-action version of the beloved 1992 film would work. Then, when Will Smith landed the iconic role of Genie, fans kept wishing for a sneak peek at what they could expect from Smith’s version of the role that Robin Williams made, well, made.
In December 2018, fans finally did get a first look at Smith as the Genie, on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. But considering that in the animated version, Genie is a big, blue, shape-shifting figure, they still wondered how the character would be translated in the film. Disney hyped the EW cover on their Instagram page for the movie but didn’t say a word about how a CGI version of Smith as Genie would compare:
A whole new world. Check out the exclusive first look at Disney’s #Aladdin on the cover of the newest issue of @EW! https://t.co/7xLw0ZDtJc pic.twitter.com/C50SvXwBVg
— Disney’s Aladdin (@disneyaladdin) December 19, 2018
Then, Disney released the first full-length trailer for the live-action “Aladdin” during Sunday’s Grammy’s broadcast. The tail-end of the trailer shows part of the big reveal of the Genie in the Cave of Wonders after Aladdin finds and rubs the magic lamp:
The genie is finally out of the bottle! However, the CGI version of the character did leave fans with some strong emotions. For a while, Will Smith was a top trending topic on Twitter thanks to fans sharing their reactions to the trailer.
For some, like Breelifornia, Smith’s Genie was “a blessing.”
I don’t know about you guys, but Will Smith is a blessing #Alladin #alladinmovie pic.twitter.com/8W01mIBJqA
— Breelifornia (@Breelifornia1) February 11, 2019
Sarah Sterling also shared the love for Smith’s take on the Genie via Twitter:
I have zero doubts in my mind that Will Smith is going to be amazing as the Genie 🙌🏼 #Aladdin pic.twitter.com/HLHmdpeaMn
— Sarah Sterling (@SarahSterling_) February 11, 2019
Others, though, clearly didn’t share the enthusiasm for the new look of the Genie.
One Twitter user, MadKaiser98, claimed Smith’s Genie was “terrifying” to look at in the trailer.
OH! DEAR! GOD! I AM NOT LIKING THIS ONE BIT, AT ALL! HONESTLY I WAS ALREADY SKEPTICAL WITH WILL SMITH AS THE GENIE WHEN I FIRST TOOK A LOT AT HIM, AND NOW I’M 100 PERCENT SKEPTICAL ABOUT THIS. IT PUTS ME OFF AND LOOKS SO WRONG, HELL IT’S EVEN TERRIFYING ACTUALLY! pic.twitter.com/fiH79leVK4
— Mad Kaiser: Keyblade Master (@MadKaiser98) February 11, 2019
And, other Twitter users, such as kelsallli, compared the look to another well-known movie franchise.
First look at Will Smith in the long-awaited AVATAR sequel pic.twitter.com/lYiYWc08MU
— ˗ˏˋ Liam ˊˎ˗ (@kelsallli) February 11, 2019
Clearly, this version of the Genie is different from the animated original, which was played by the late, great Williams.
Smith has shared his fear of taking on such a high-profile and beloved role.
“I produced ‘The Karate Kid’ with my son Jaden, so whenever you’re doing things that are iconic, it’s always terrifying,” he told Entertainment Weekly last year. “After I watched the movie a few times, I saw where Robin Williams infused the character with a timeless version of himself, so I said to myself, ‘What if I just infuse the character with a timeless version of myself?’”
Smith concluded by saying he intends his portrayal to be an homage to Williams’ performance while still infusing his own style and flair to the role.
You can catch the new, live-action “Aladdin” in theaters starting May 24, 2019.