Guy Ritchie
Running Time
128 mins

Hard on the heels of Dumbo comes Disney’s live-action remake of its 1992 animation. Desperately in need of a hit after his floptastic King Arthur, Guy Ritchie is at the helm.

A blue-tinted, motion-capture Will Smith does the Robin Williams genie thing. But despite Uncle Walt’s deployment of a Vice President of Multicultural Engagement to fend off those accusations of ‘Orientalism’ that were levelled at the first film, the rest of the casting has proven something of a PR nightmare for the clod-hopping House of Mouse. Before settling on Mena Massoud for the title role, it was alleged, a tad fancifully, that the producers had difficulty finding a performer of Middle Eastern descent who could sing and act. Then the choice of half-Indian British actress Naomi Scott to play Princess Jasmine attracted more crtiticism. The introduction of a new white character, played by Billy Magnussen, as a protential suitor for Princess Jasmine led to accusations of ‘whitewashing’. Most extraordinarily, it was reported that white extras had undergone ‘browning up’ to fit in to crowd scenes.

By robin askew, Monday, May 13 2019

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