Entertainment Movies ‘Terrifying’: Will Smith’s Genie in new movie is far from magical
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‘Terrifying’: Will Smith’s Genie in new movie is far from magical

Will Smith Cannes 2017
Will Smith flashes a sign to fans at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
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Disney’s trailer for its new live-action Aladdin has drawn criticism the movie looks more cursed than magical, with fans and media saying their three wishes are for Will Smith’s Genie to go away.

Derision for the actor’s turn has been a whole new world of pop culture pain, with memes comparing Smith to everything from a Smurf to the blue guy in Big Fat Liar and Tobias Funke in Arrested Development.

The New York Times’ Kyle Buchanan tweeted, “Honestly the Will Smith genie feels like a spoiler for Bird Box because I finally understand what image would make them so fascinated but also want to kill themselves.”

It’s probably not the publicity Disney was hoping for when it shared the trailer for the Guy Ritchie movie during a break in the Grammys on Sunday night (US time.)

An upbeat Smith – who had previously teased his Genie would be a “muscular 1970s dad” with a “hip-hop” vibe – also posted it to his Instagram account.

In its first 24 hours, the post drew over 4.2 million likes but just as much bemusement and old-school panning.

W magazine called the first look portrayal “terrifying”. Pleaded Vice of Smith’s “lumpy avatar” Genie, “For the love of all that is holy, please put him back in the lamp.”

Among fans’ gripes is that Smith’s interpretation of the bottle-bound protagonist destroys childhood memories of the late Robin Williams’ iconic 1992 take on the blue man.

The trailer saves the actor’s long-awaited reveal until the last moment, when he unfurls from his lamp as Aladdin picks it up. The resulting Genie is a weird mix of clunky CGI and a blue Will Smith in full Fresh Prince mode.

“You really don’t know who I am?” he asks Aladdin at the end of the sneak peek. “Genie? Wishes? Lamp? None of that ringin’ a bell?”

When Smith appears, “Something is terribly, irreparably wrong,” is how Vice put it. To Wired, “The trailer itself looked fine; Smith’s Genie, however, looked, well, off.”

Smith’s look has been tweaked since a sneak peek Entertainment Weekly cover story in December drew complaints that while he had the distinctive topknot and lush goatee of his cartoon predecessor, he wasn’t the right colour.

The star took to social media to ‘Check me Rockin’ the Ponytail Topknot Vibes” and assured fans he would be blue when the time was right.

In a demonstration of the power of ‘be careful what you wish for’, Smith has at least delivered on a promise that his character would “stand out as unique even in the Disney world”.

Social media went into a spiral about the Aladdin trailer. One user asked if Smith was supposed to be a Smurf or Panthro from ThunderCats.

“Sure we can all rag on Will Smith, but I wanna know who on the special effects team is responsible for this,” said another. “He looks like a sh–t Snapchat filter.”

Wrote a third user, “Everyone at Disney is high on bath salts and this image is making my brain feel haunted.”

The New York Times’  Mr Buchanan followed up on his first tweet.

“I just stepped outside and … how are there not crashed cars? How are there not people walking around in a daze? Have they not seen the Will Smith genie up?” he wrote.