After Disney’s live action adaptations of “Alice in Wonderland”, “Maleficent” , and “Cinderella” Disney has adapted whole new business plan. That plan consists of adapting as many of their animated films to live action form as possible. We already have “Beauty and the Beast”, “Alice in Wonderland: Through the Glass”, “Jungle Book” and “Dumbo” coming out shortly and “Winnie the Pooh”, ” Pinocchio” and “Mulan” in the works. Now you can count one more film to that list, “Aladdin”. Well not actually “Aladdin” but a prequel film dubbed “Genies”.
“Genies” will focus on the origins of how a Genie comes to being trapped in the magic lamps.
Many will be quick to turn their back on the project simply because the late great Robin Williams will not be able to lend his voice to the new project. It cannot be understated just how powerful Robin Williams was as a comedic presence in that film. He elevated an already great film to a Disney classic. This was one of the first voice acting performances that people were calling for an Academy award Nomination for. It’s understandable why someone would be skeptical of a “Aladdin” project without Williams. Truth be told I have no such issue with someone new taking over the role of the Genie. There have been numinous of stage performers taking of the role to great effect and thus there is room for another Genie. I believe Disney needs to be careful on whom they pick and at the same time try their hardest not to do a Robin Williams impression.
I don’t however love the idea of making this a prequel. I would rather Disney do a straight up adaptation with this project. “Aladdin” would work great as a live action film with a potentially epic scope that would be like a cross between “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Pirates of the Caribbean”. What I mean by that is “Aladdin” is already a big animated film. In a live action form you could have an epic film similar to the classic “Lawrence of Arabia” (both in terms of scope and location) but also have the fantasy, fun and Disney-like feel of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy (not so much the fourth one). I’m not so interested in a prequel when you already have the ground works for a potentially interesting film. Of course if successful “Genies” could lead to “Aladdin”. So, perhaps we’ll get the best of both worlds.
“Genies” will be written by Damian Shannon and Mark Shift. The two have written both “Freddy Versus Jason” and the 2009 “Friday the 13th” remake. If that doesn’t inspire much confidence in you, I don’t blame you. I have a feeling they will end up writing a first draft and hand it off to a new pair of writers (based off nothing, that’s pure speculation on my part). As of right now there is no release date.