Prince Ali, yes it is he, but not as you know him. The first glimpses at the live-action Aladdin remake weren’t awe-inspiring, but then Disney released a trailer that gave us hope. However, this latest look at Will Smith’s big “Prince Ali” number has me stroking my non-existent Jafar goatee once again. It’s, uh, it’s something.
IGN has released a new clip showing part of Smith’s performance of “Prince Ali,” in which Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is literally paraded through the streets, surrounded by a bunch of gifts and bribes, to try and capture Princess Jasmine’s (Naomi Scott) attention. He awkwardly waves to the crowd of awkwardly waving bystanders, as Jasmine’s best friend Dalia (Nasim Pedrad), a character created for the movie, gestures a bunch of unnecessary explanations for our heroine. Yes, having a bunch of peacocks means he’s probably rich. Jasmine’s a smart girl, she’ll get it.
Let’s be clear: There was no way Smith was going to match Robin Williams’ original performance, nor do I think he would ever try. Williams’ energy emanated through the screen in a way that could never be duplicated, and Smith has long praised the original performance. And, while Smith’s Genie doesn’t exactly sing in his version of “Friend Like Me,” you could tell he was trying to make that number his own.
But, this scene is a chore. It’s worse than bad. It’s boring. The whole clip plays out like a parade at Epcot World Showcase, with a decidedly non-energetic Smith half-singing, half-talking his way through what’s supposed to be Aladdin’s ultimate advertising campaign. It’s making me less confident that movie isn’t going to be a Disney Channel-esque slog with a few standout moments (like Scott’s singing).
If this is how Disney is going to sell us on the idea that we needed a live-action remake of Aladdin parading through our streets, I think it’s safe to say the faux prince’s face up above echoes my own.
Aladdin comes out on May 24.
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