Live action representation of Disney classic starts controversy

By Jori Ayers

Everyone knows about Disney classics such as Snow White and Cinderella. Disney is now taking a new approach to these timeless films by transforming them into live action movies. They have taken our cute, yellow, chubby friend Pooh and made him more irresistible and Belle and the Beast more flamboyant than ever.

One of the next movies on Disney’s live action list is Aladdin. The tale of the street urchin Aladdin who falls in love with princess Jasmine and uses the genie’s magic powers to make himself a prince so he can marry Jasmine. Disney has just released the new trailer for the film that is set to hit the theaters later this year.

As a huge Disney fan, seeing the trailer was just as exciting as seeing my three favorite characters when I go to Disney World. One thing that shocked me the most and caused some fuss around the world was that the genie will be played by Will Smith.

Besides my initial thoughts that “he’s really blue,” I was assured that he fit the part of the genie well and I’m curious to see the film once it comes out.

This is not the case for the rest of the world. Once the trailer premiered, there was nothing but backlash when people found out that Smith playing the genie. Don’t get me wrong, no one can replace the beloved Robin Williams, but I mean, come on, give Smith a break.

Smith’s portrayal of the genie is being mocked because people think that Smith can’t compete with Williams’ performance. Personally, Smith as the genie doesn’t seem like a bad idea for the movie because who else could be Aladdin’s genie? The Rock? Kevin Hart? Will Ferrell? Casting Smith was good decision on Disney’s part.

Smith will be a great genie for the movie Aladdin because he has character. He doesn’t have to curse to be funny and he is all around a lovable guy. He might not be just like Williams, but he has that drive and character that Robin William had.

Smith talked about his role in Aladdin in an interview with Entertainment Weekly and said that he doesn’t want to take the fame or take on the exact persona that Williams gave us in the 1992 Aladdin movie. He is just going to give us his version and hope that he can play the best genie he can be.

When watching any movie, the audience wants someone who can play that role well and can really get into the character that they are playing. Looks and past performances shouldn’t matter.  Rather than making it a competition, it should be about supporting an actor as they take on a new role.

For once let’s support someone instead of putting them down. Smith will be a great genie in his own unique Will Smith way. I’m excited to see this live action Aladdin and can’t wait until  it hit theaters this May.

Jori Ayers can be reached at

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