Aladdin 2019

Aladdin is Disney’s newest live-action reimagining of a classic animated film.  The movie stars Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine, and the iconic Will Smith as the Genie.  Like previous Disney remakes, Aladdin has had to make some changes to adapt it for modern viewers. Things that would never be questioned in an animated film can become glaring problems in a live-action movie.  Here are 4 big changes between the original and the remake.

World of Aladdin

1. Action Star Aladdin

The original Aladdin was a nimble thief that got out of trouble with his quick wit and quicker feet.  But in the twenty-years since then, audiences have witnessed Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt tear through alleyways and leap over buildings.  The new Aladdin now tumbles acrobatically across roofs, flips through windows like a martial artist, and uses misdirection to lose his pursuers.  And while the original Aladdin was not a dummy, Mena Massoud’s Aladdin shows off a keen intellect that could rival any tv show detective.

2. Enlightened Princess

Many audience members can sympathize with Princess Jasmine’s feeling of isolation and desire for freedom.  In the 1992 animated feature, Jasmine wanted the power to choose her own husband, whether a prince or a pauper.  And while Naomi Scott’s Jasmine wants the same thing; she also wants to know why she has to. 

Naomi Scott in Aladdin

Jasmine’s father, the Sultan, wants his daughter to marry a man that can take care of both her and their country.  The princess points out that she has spent her entire life studying books so she can govern the country herself.  While Jasmine isn’t against romance, she doesn’t think marriage is the only answer to protecting the future. 

3. The Rom-Com Genie

The amazing Robin Williams brought the Genie to life in the original Aladdin and no one could top his electrifying performance.  Instead, the new Aladdin wows audiences with spectacular musical numbers, showcasing incredible dancers, and gorgeous costumes and sets.  It brings back the pageantry seen in older Hollywood musicals and the best Broadway shows. 

A lot of the comedy of Will Smith’s Genie is the conflict between his character and Aladdin.  The Genie acts as Aladdin’s mentor and is often frustrated by the clumsiness of his pupil.  The dialog between the two would not be out of place in any romantic-comedy.  The Genie is the knowledgeable best friend trying to build up the confidence of the hapless lead. 

Will Smith and Mena Massoud in Aladdin

Mirroring them is Princess Jasmine and her handmaiden Dalia, played by former SNL cast member Nasim Pedrad.  Dalia is the princess’s loyal confidante, biggest cheerleader, and sometime co-conspirator.

4. Jasmine’s New Song

Princess Jasmine was one of the few Disney Princesses to not have her own song. Whether it’s Aurora’s “Once Upon a Dream” or Ariel’s “Part of Your World,” Disney Princesses like to sing about their aspirations.  The new Aladdin showcases more of Princess Jasmine’s internal struggle with the song “Speechless.”  The main body of the song takes place during Jasmine’s lowest point and shows her decision to stand up for what she believes in.  Written by the original Aladdin’s composer Alan Menken and La La Land’s Pasek & Paul, “Speechless” is a big breakout song that could give “Let It Go” a run for its money.