I managed to watch “Aladdin” (2019) live-action remake of the 90s Disney cartoon, and I have to admit that some of the songs that were sung by Will Smith as Genie were really swell. Even though the Robin Williams version will always be legendary for me, Will Smith’s take on the classics definitely has its own charm. His rendition of the classic “Friend Like Me” certainly fits the criteria!
While Robin Williams’ portrayal of the Genie in the 1992 animated classic “Aladdin” is iconic and holds a special place in many hearts, Will Smith took on the challenging task of making the character his own in the 2019 live-action adaptation. Rather than trying to replicate or imitate Williams, Smith brought his unique style, energy, and charisma to the role, which helped differentiate his Genie from the animated version.
“Friend Like Me” is a prime example of this. While the original song, composed by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman, is jazzy and packed with Williams’ rapid-fire comedic impressions, Will Smith’s rendition in the live-action film has a more contemporary feel, blending elements of hip-hop and modern pop. The energetic choreography, vibrant set design, and special effects of the live-action version make the song a visual spectacle.
Both versions of the song are fantastic in their own right. Robin Williams delivered a whirlwind performance that showcased his unique comedic talent, while Will Smith gave the song a fresh spin, introducing the Genie to a new generation of viewers.
It’s a testament to the enduring appeal of “Aladdin” and its characters that different actors can bring such diverse and compelling interpretations to the same role. Both performances highlight the importance of individuality and creativity in the arts.