A new Aladdin video showcases Will Smith’s Friend Like Me cover in HD. The 1992 animated film of the same name was and continues to be one of the biggest hits in Disney’s extensive list of hugely successful motion pictures. Voiced by the legendary Robin Williams, Aladdin’s Genie character is a favorite of many, as are the songs he sung.
This being the case, when it was first announced that Aladdin would be remade into a live-action motion picture, diehard fans were understandably nervous. Williams passed away in 2014, making the sanctity of his Genie character that much more intense for many, and the idea that someone else was going to come along and attempt to match what he had done was an appalling thought to those who felt a strong connection to the legacy of Williams, as well as Aladdin. As it turned out, the person to take on William’s Genie was Will Smith – a venerated star himself; and while Smith’s take on the character wasn’t the same as Williams’, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star still managed an admirable take on what was clearly a challenging role.
Among one of the biggest questions in the minds of Aladdin fans prior to the release of the live-action version was whether or not one of the most instantly recognizable songs from the animated film would appear in the remake. Not only did Friend Like Me appear in the film, but Smith did a decent job with his own take on it. Now, thanks to the DisneyMusicVevo YouTube channel, an HD version of Smith’s efforts can be seen in full. For those who didn’t see the film in theaters, the below video might provide that extra bit of incentive to go and check it out:
Though it may not have seemed as though Disney’s live-action Aladdin remake was that popular of a film, the truth of the matter is that it was a huge hit, particularly for Smith. Rather astonishingly, Aladdin has gone on to become the highest grossing hit of Smith’s entire career. This is a massive achievement when one considers the huge number of blockbuster films that Smith has appeared in over the years, with titles like Bad Boys and Men in Black instantly recognizable on a global level.
The live-action version of Friend Like Me has certainly been tweaked to provide a different take on the classic song, while staying true to its core elements. Still, as entertaining as it may be, there remains something about it that just doesn’t feel familiar. Both Smith and director Guy Ritchie clearly did their best to bring audiences something that felt familiar, yet still encapsulated something new, but at best, Smith’s performance is a decent enough re-imagining of a classic song. That in itself is fine, as it definitely doesn’t take away from the original. But it will be interesting to see what sort of character the inevitable Aladdin sequel will have, as it will finally have a chance to branch out and create something truly unique with the characters and story.
Next: Why Aladdin’s New Iago Was So Disappointing