Be careful what you wish for.
The first teaser trailer for Disney's live-action remake of Aladdin is finally here, and it's getting mixed reactions from fans and critics alike. While its cast is top-notch — Will Smith, Nasim Pedrad, Naomi Scott, and Mena Massoud star — remakes of such beloved films are always scrutinized.
The clip opens with a breathtaking view of the Seven Deserts (the wasteland situated right outside of the city of Agrabah), and it looks exactly how it was in the animated original. Our first glimpse of it in the original occurred in the daytime instead of the evening, but other than that, it's very similar. We also get a sneak peek of the Sultan's Palace, where the Sultan and his daughter Jasmine reside, although it's unclear if it's as flashy as the castle in the cartoon given that the shot is from afar. If anything, it looks like a Westerosi citadel.
The trailer cuts to Jafar's parrot, Iago, soaring across Agrabah and then straight into the Cave of Wonders, which looks more like a lion's head than a tiger's. The magical cave wakes up and roars its warning: "Only one may enter here, one who's worth lies far within... A diamond in the rough!"
Next, Aladdin approaches the cave's entrance as someone who appears to be Jafar (the headpiece is a dead giveaway) watches him from the outside. Alas, we're taken inside the Cave of Wonders, which is a precise replica of the treasure-filled crypt of the original, complete with a twinkling magic lamp sitting atop a pillar.
Our dear Aladdin moves toward the lamp (with no Abu in sight), and his hand extends to take it off its mount.
We can't deny the fact that this trailer perfectly encapsulates the feel and grandeur of the original animated classic, but it leaves little to the imagination. Despite a handful of differences, so far, it offers nothing to elevate the story or make even a slight improvement on the iconic tale. We can't judge the film based on a 90-second teaser, but we can't help but feel disappointed that it's nothing but a shot-for-shot remake.
It doesn't help that the film was already ravaged by controversy. Terry Rossio, one of the animated film’s original screenwriters (his body of work includes other classics like Shrek, Treasure Planet, and Pirates of the Carribean), revealed via Twitter that they were not compensated for the film. Not even a shirt or free Disneyland tickets.
Rossio clarified the live-action remake was not included in the initial contract and the studio technically fulfilled its end of the bargain, but the least Disney could do is offer compensation to the people who crafted the source material.
Aladdin is taking us on a magic carpet ride on May 24, 2019.
What did you think of the teaser trailer? Will you be watching the movie next year? Let us know in the comments!