GRIEVING THE GENIE

Disney’s live-action touch has come for ALADDIN. But before we see Jasmine or the carpet or anything, we’ll be treated to GENIES, a prequel story set in a world of (that’s right) Genies and shows how our Genie ended up in his lamp.

I guess not all Genies end up in lamps? I guess his name's not Genie? I guess we're in for a Game of Thrones-y fake fantasy name for the blue guy?

I demand more backstory! If MALEFICENT can retcon SLEEPING BEAUTY within an inch of its life, then GENIES can give us the Genie/Jafar spurned lovers story we’ve all been subconsciously planning since 1992.

Extras gay genie

On a more elephant-in-the-room note, Robin Williams passed away a year ago this week. That Disney picked now to announce GENIES is…curious.

Williams was a titanic presence, particularly in the world of Disney—his irreplaceable genie aside, he’s also pretty much synonymous with Peter Pan. And for years, he welcomed guests to the Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando with this Art of Animation video.

 

What’s the best way to remember someone?

Let more time pass before we launch a reimagining of ALADDIN? ALADDIN is the only crowning jewel Disney film that’s still locked away in the Vault with no Blu-Ray release plans. When he died, I really would’ve liked to have had that to put on.

Or should Disney use this new movie as a cause of celebration for a man who was almost a physical presence in the childhoods of so many people (::raises hand::)?

It’s like asking what’s the best way to grieve. There isn’t. Robin Williams’s death was tragic and upset a lot of us (::raises hand::). Even though the Genie was voiced by another actor in the ALADDIN TV show and even though new actors are taking on the role on Broadway, putting a new face on screen and calling him The Genie… It might work, it might not.

Genie hug

A new face means that Robin is gone. It means we’re moving on without him. He probably would’ve been so excited to hear about this GENIES business, whether he was in it or not. But I don’t know. Disney is hoping for a big fantasy romp, but there’s no way this can be disentangled from our collective audience mourning. It’ll be bittersweet no matter what. After all, the pitch for the movie is “You know the beloved Genie played by the recently deceased beloved actor? This is about how he became enslaved.”

I’m already frowning!

Although I will be pretty down though for a movie set in a world of Genies as long as it’s a faithful adaptation of the SNES game level.  

adammichaelsass's picture
on July 16, 2015

ADAM SASS begins all his writing in Sharpie on dozens of Starbucks pastry bags. This may cause him to be late making your cappuccino, and he sincerely apologizes. His Writer’s Digest award-nominated story "98% Graves" appeared in the anthology STARTLING SCI-FI: NEW TALES OF THE BEYOND. He lives in New York City with his husband and two dachshunds.

Find Adam at AdamSassBooks.com, his pop culture writing at GeeksOut.org, or keep up with him on his (over)active Twitter @TheAdamSass.