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See how Guy Ritchie is making Aladdin work for modern audiences in new promo

By Andrea Ayres
Disney Aladdin TV Spot "Connection"

Disney has released a new TV spot for its live-action remake of Aladdin and it should have fans flying high. The promo, entitled "Connection," gives us a better sense of the bond between Aladdin and Genie. It's also one of our best looks yet at Will Smith's portrayal of the character, which seems to be something of a blend between hype man and best friend. The minute-long video is full of glitter, glitz and a taste of the iconic magic carpet ride between Aladdin and Jasmine.

Aladdin (Mena Massoud) isn't what one would call a confident man and this spot alludes to some of the challenges he will face in accepting who he is. Thankfully he has the Genie by his side. In one scene, the Genie tells Aladdin, "Prince Ali got you to the door, but Aladdin has to open it." 

Take a look:

The banter between the Genie and Aladdin indicates the friendship between the two characters. The Genie works to not only build up Aladdin's confidence in who he is but stresses the importance of taking risks in love and friendship. Will Smith appears to be playing the Genie as even more sentimental than the late Robin Williams' legendary portrayal. Invoking a more serious tone feels like a good balance point here, especially since some fans are skeptical of Smith's blue CGI Genie in the first place. Portraying the Genie as more serious will hopefully prevent the film from coming across as overly saccharine.

The film is directed by Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes, Snatch), and this new footage indicates how Ritchie gave both the musical composition and themes of the film a modern twist. The music feels more rich and full. The theme of the film appears to place a strong emphasis on being content with your authentic self in more explicit ways. Speaking previously to Entertainment Weekly, Ritchie said, "We’re 26 years later, the world moves on, so there is a shift, which is just an unavoidable aspect of time."

Now, it wouldn't be Aladdin without Jasmine (Naomi Scott) and "Connection" gives us yet another peek at the princess. Disney has referred to Jasmine as courageous and self-determined but this promo spot still doesn't provide a clear sense for what this means in terms of her characterization. The promo reveals the stunning detail of Jasmine's costumes, so we'll forgive Disney for not giving us more Jasmine... this time.

Some bad news to all the Jafar stans out there, nary a whisper of the villain can be glimpsed in the sixty-second spot. Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) and his trusty parrot Iago (Alan Tudyk) can, however, be seen in the official trailer released back in March.

The blend of Ritchie's more fast-paced directorial style with the fantastical elements of Disney could certainly make for a visually arresting look. The film will have all the songs fans have come to love, but composer Alan Menken and La La Land songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are also spicing the musical up with some new tunes. In an interview with Variety, the songwriters revealed Jasmine has a few new songs along with a new duet between Aladdin and the Princess. 

Ultimately, the TV-spot recenters Aladdin as a love story between two people who may not have found one another if not for a little magic.

Aladdin lands in theatres May 24.