How Disney’s New Aladdin Changed From 1992
Coming out of Disney’s live-action remakes, EVERYONE has an opinion about the necessary (unnecessary) changes written into the reboot.
For me, and many, many others, the best updates included the revision to Jasmine’s character; on the flip side, Jafar just wasn’t menacing enough.
Two Top Takes
Other ticks on the upside are courtesy of the fantastic playlist of songs from the original being included; that and the new song “Speechless” as performed by Naomi Scott.
“Though “One Jump Ahead” proves to be a bit of a misfire early on, featuring a heavy emphasis on chase and action that doesn’t quite work, the rest of the numbers are a good time. “Friend Like Me” is the movie at its visual peak, and probably the closest the movie gets to recreating the magic of the animated film. One of the most pleasant surprises on the soundtrack is the new number written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen), “Speechless.” Scott’s an able singer, and “Speechless” is a great showcase for that talent. The song won’t win any awards for subtlety, but in the context of Jasmine’s story, it really works.
— Disney’s Aladdin (@disneyaladdin) May 22, 2019
The screenplay, stretched out to 128 minutes, is a mess, with character arcs shot to hell and emotional pay-offs softened due to arbitrary story alterations, but it’s never less than relatively enjoyable. It doesn’t quite justify itself on an artistic level, but as Disney’s straight-up remakes go, it’s closer to Cinderella than Beauty and the Beast. Source fidelity itself is not an issue, but many of the changes are not about “better” but rather “different.”
Listing Disney’s New Aladdin Changes
Meanwhile, The LA Times Christina Schoellkopf listed her take on the changes:
1. The costumes are more conservative
Sorry, Mena Massoud stans, Aladdin is not shirtless in the new film. Those midriff tops worn by Jasmine and other women of Agrabah did not make it past costume designer Michael Wilkinson, either.
2. The original ‘Arabian Nights’ lyrics that sparked controversy have been nixed
Those lyrics were changed in 1993, a year after the theatrical release, once the studio obtained approval from the estate of late lyricist Howard Ashman and his collaborator Alan Menken.
3. That cringe-worthy moment when Jasmine becomes a sexual slave was cut
Thankfully, we don’t have to watch Scott reduce herself to this original Disney scene. In the 1992 film, Jafar takes Jasmine against her will, as he attempts to forcibly make her his wife.
4. Nor are there any dancing ladies in bikini tops in any of Genie’s imaginations
Massoud’s Aladdin admires only one woman.
5. In fact, Genie becomes more family-oriented, and his storyline bookends the film
It was important for the producers to continue the Middle Eastern tradition of having a story within a story. But instead of a shopkeeper narrating Aladdin’s journey, a human version of Will Smith’s Genie introduces viewers to Agrabah’s infamous “street rat.”
6. After stealing, Aladdin is never sentenced to be beheaded
Jafar is still a threat, but the biggest challenge for Massoud’s Aladdin is arguably his flirt game. Luckily for him, Genie steps in to coach.
7. There’s less shapeshifting, but you can probably blame that on the live-action
While Robin Williams’ Genie transformed into countless creatures and even impersonated Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jack Nicholson in the 1992 film, we see fewer variations with Smith’s take.
8. Jasmine gets a new friend
“Saturday Night Live” meets Disney with the addition of former cast member Nasim Pedrad, who portrays Jasmine’s best friend and confidante.
9. There’s a surprising new love story
Smith’s Genie practices what he preaches and impresses his crush.
10. While Jasmine has always been defiant, she breaks gender norms this time
Jasmine’s trajectory shifts from resisting a forceful marriage to wanting to become sultan.
11. There’s hip-hop
Letting Smith add some of his flair to “Friend Like Me” was a “no-brainer,” said music producer Sullivan.
12. And DJ Khaled is on board, too
DJ Khaled’s own spin on “Friend Like Me” is the first song you hear as the credits roll, a decision made during post-production.
And then there’s Jan over at Flicks And The City; her new video takes us through all of the updates.
Finally, while you are at it, read my review and tell us which changes you appreciated and whether you think the live-action film will change up how Aladdin’s characters will be portrayed in the parks.