“This mystical land of magic and sand, is more than it seems” is actually a quite accurate description for Disney’s new reboot of their 1992 film, Aladdin. The movie transports the audience to the magical and make-believe land of Agrabah, which is filled with vibrant colors, lush backgrounds, unique characters, and a little lamp that can grant anyone three wishes. The movie has stayed quite true to the original 1992 animated film, but it has definitely changed a few things around and added new details as well. Examples of this include Princess Jasmine finally getting a character arc and song to herself, changing lyrics to favorite and iconic songs that make them more culturally sensitive, and adding new characters.
Aladdin (1992 animated film)
Aladdin (2019 live action remake)
The movie starts off with a traveler, with no name or any other significance, introducing the movie and singing “Arabian Nights”.
Lyrics in the opening song, “Arabian Nights”, include “Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face. It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home.”
However, in the original, there were older women wearing revealing clothing and that looked as if they were a part of a harem.
In the original marketplace scene where Jasmine gives a child something to eat without paying, the seller grabs her hand and goes to cut it off as if to say, “an eye for an eye.”
In the song, “Friend Like Me”, Genie already knows Aladdin’s name and mentions it a few times throughout the course of the song.
In “Prince Ali”, the lyrics were “He’s got slaves, servants, and flunkies!”
At the top of the movie, it starts off with Will Smith as a mariner on his boat and telling his children the story about “Aladdin, the princess and the lamp”, where he begins to sing “Arabian Nights” which causes the story to shift and give an introduction to each of the characters.
The lyrics in “Arabian Nights” were changed to “Where you wander among every culture and tongue. It’s chaotic, but hey, it’s home.” The change was made to make it seem less violent and not to stereotype the Middle East and their culture.
During the song, “One Jump Ahead”, Aladdin stumbles into a room of school girls and gets scolded by the teacher.
In the new version, Aladdin intervenes before things get violent and offers him her bracelet instead.
The Genie says to him in the song things such as, “Man, what’s your name?” and “Mr.?”, until Aladdin says his name and to which he responds,“Yes!”
Will Smith had added a few lyrics to the iconic song, “Friend Like Me”, which gives it hip hop and rap vibes (ex. “I’m a genie of the lamp, watch me sing, rap, and dance!”)
The lyrics were changed to, “He’s got ten thousand servants and flunkies!”
Another lyric change was made as well in this song. The original had said, “Brush up your Sunday Salaam.” and now it is “Brush up your Friday Salam.”
The song, “Prince Ali (Reprise)”, had been cut and turned into dialogue towards the end of the movie.
Iago, Jafar’s parrot, does not have as much commentary as the 1992 animated film. He only repeats a few things that Jafar says here and there.
New characters have been introduced to further the plot
Hakim, head soldier of the guard in Agrabah
Dahlia, handmaiden and good friend to Jasmine
Jasmine has received a new girl-power song titled “Speechless”, which expresses her inner feelings about how she wishes to stand up and speak up for herself
Aladdin gained another song called “One Jump Ahead (Reprise 2)”, which is a refrain of the other “One Jump Ahead” songs earlier in the movie. In the song, he admits that he has been extremely selfish and has to give up the image that he has created for himself, even if it means losing Jasmine.
Major changes that were made in the live-action film revolved around Jasmine and her development as a character. In the animated film, she does not really have development as a character due to her lack of interaction with others and not being one of the main focuses of the movie. However, this changes in the 2019 version. Jasmine gains a character arc, backstory, and song to go along with all of it. Throughout the course of the movie, she tries to prove to her father that she has the capability of being Sultan and possesses all the characteristics and qualities necessary to lead a country. Her father does not approve of this at all and tries to silence her by marrying her off to foreign princes. At the end of the movie, Jasmine proves her worth to her father by not going “speechless” and he officially makes her Sultan. Jasmine also gets another character to interact with, which helps further her character development. Dahlia, Jasmine’s handmaiden, becomes her closest friend and the one person she confides in. She is very sweet, helpful, and an audience favorite because of her funny commentary and reactions.
The changes made to the movie, big or small, did not affect too many fans’ reactions because the movie is a box office hit. The movie has grossed $500 million USD and is currently one of the top three Disney movies at the domestic box office. It has also surpassed Disney’s other live-action films that have been released recently, such as Dumbo, Christopher Robin, and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. According to some fans, it is also one, if not the best, of the best live action remake movies that Disney has ever made. Keeping up with their current trend of live action remakes, Disney is releasing The Lion King in July this year and they have also announced that The Little Mermaid and Maleficent 2 are in the works.
Photo comparison of scenes from the animated and the live-action film (Disney)