Why We Love Will Smith’s Portrayal Of The Genie In Aladdin
To the Will Smith naysayers and doubters out there: You were wrong
Robin Williams is an actor whose roles have been cemented into our minds: Mrs. Doubtfire, Jack, Peter Pan, John Keating and—of course—Genie. It doesn’t seem to matter if the character was serious, funny, endearing or even looked like Robin Williams; his signature style always made them come alive.
And it is for this very reason that the public had mixed feelings when it was announced that Will Smith would take on the role for Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin. We all asked: How could Agent J, The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air and Deadshot take on Genie?
Lo and behold, two hours and eight minutes in the cinema was enough evidence for us to say that Will Smith proved us all wrong.
He was funny
When Smith began his career, he was a comedian. He made us laugh with his dance moves, quick wit, delivery and timing. But as he got older, his roster of movies swayed to the more serious: The Pursuit Of Happyness, I Am Legend, Suicide Squad and Independence Day. And while we never forgot how funny he could be, it had been a while since we laughed out loud in a cinema because of him.
From his first song-and-dance number, it became clear that the Will Smith of our childhoods was alive and well. His delivery was stellar, he was funny when he had to be and none of the jokes seemed forced or out of place. Every punchline flowed with the conversation and even the unexpected moments were positively received by the entire cinema.
He was 2019
We’re breaching three decades since the original animation was released, which means that there were dire updates that needed to be applied. And when it came to Genie, the changes worked to the advantage of Aladdin.
When appropriate, Smith was swag personified and his life lessons relevant. His moves were modern and his lines were current. He belonged to 2019 and it shone through (arguably) above everyone else’s performance.
He was his own
But the most important aspect of his performance is that he didn’t try to be Robin Williams’ version of Genie; there was no attempt to bring to life that Genie we’ve long known. He put his own flavor to the character, interpreted him in a way that only Smith could.
And when it came down to it, it worked.
Any doubts we had about Will Smith taking on the role of Genie are now buried under the dirt—along with any qualms we might have had about the movie.