When we first heard about the casting for Disney’s live-action Aladdin, it was about how they couldn’t find actors to play Aladdin and Jasmine. They finally settled on a Middle Eastern dude and a half-Indian to play Jasmine. Awesome! Two non-white people as the leads in a big budget movie! That’s great, right?! It’s 2017, so of course not lol. Aladdin set in a fictional place in the Middle East so Jasmine being half-Indian is PROBLEMATIC OMG. It’s imperative to cast real Arab actors in a movie live-action remake of a cartoon about a dude and a chick flying on a magic carpet if you want to be truly woke. Think of the children! Anyway, none of that matters, because they might as well cast my Starbucks cup as Aladdin and Jasmine, because Aladdin is gonna be the Will Smith Show.
Disney has officially found its Aladdin, Jasmine, and Genie for the live-action “Aladdin” remake. The three cast members were announced at the D23 Expo on Saturday. The House of Mouse may have been having problems finding its titular Aladdin for the remake of the 1992 animated classic prior to D23 this weekend, but the same cannot be said for Jasmine and Genie. Naomi Scott has officially been cast as Princess Jasmine, while Will Smith will be taking on the Genie. Relative newcomer Mena Massoud has also joined the cast as Aladdin.
Man, I big budget movie that’ll have a wide release that has a brown man, a brown chick, and a black man as the three leads. Let’s pop the champagne for representa—oh wait, no, the movie’s still racist. Everything is racist.
While the prospect of having a person of color star in this film seems enticing, it really is not doing much for us. Aladdin strung together a few generalizations about North Africans, South East and South Asians, and blurred out our distinctions. The movie takes place in the fake city of Agrabah—combining together “Agra,” the historical city in northern India, with “Bah” to make it sound more Middle Eastern, I guess. The lack of specificity and care that went into the story is also the reason it doesn’t matter who the lead of this movie is, as long as he’s vaguely brown and maybe Muslim.
Exactly, that’s all little Arab, Middle Eastern, and Indian girls and boys will be thinking about when they go see this. The actual history of the Middle East and Central Asia instead cheering about all the sick ass carpet flips. If you need movie to validate your existence, there might be some self-loathing involved there. Sorry you had to hear it this way.