The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Disney is developing a live action prequel to Alladin. With the success of Cinderella and Melicifant, Disney is plowing ahead with any live action versions of their animated films that they can. Some people may say Disney is exploiting their own work, and is just trying to rake in more money. Others may say that it is an opportunity to interpret classic characters in a new medium. We’re saying a live action version of Alladin is just a terrible idea.
Alladin was a huge success for Disney, in terms of both box office and critics, which was helped by the Academy Award winning music of Alan Menken and Tim Rice. But the critically acclaimed voice acting performance of Robin Williams as the Genie was the real reason that the film was as successful as it was. After a brief quarrel with Disney, Williams did not return for the direct to video sequel, The Return of Jafar (he was replaced by The Simpsons‘ Dan Castellaneta, who also provided the voice of the Genie for the television series), but Williams would return for the third film in the series, Alladin and the King of Theives, as well as a 1998 video game.
Despite a long list of great performances, the Genie is still one of Robin Williams’ best remembered and beloved roles. The idea of anyone else playing the character at this point is not just insulting to the memory of Williams, but also a daunting, and possibly unattainable, task for whomever gets the role.
Hey Disney, we get it. You have almost 80 years of animated films that you can make money on again. That’s fine. But show some respect, if not for Robin Williams, than for yourself. You don’t have to remake EVERYTHING. Next thing you know, we’ll be seeing a live action version of Home on the Range.