Disney’s live-action Aladdin remake is now in theatres.
Initially, hopes for Aladdin were low, with many expecting it to be the least successful of the three live-action Disney remakes hitting theaters this year.
However, the film has risen above some shaky trailer reactions to become a hit at the box-office.
The 1992 animated film is a timeless classic, and it would be a bold claim to say the new movie improves upon the original. Still, the Aladdin remake definitely makes some decisions that add to the film’s story.
1. A backstory for Jafar
In the original film, all we know of Jafar is that he has been the Sultan’s supposedly loyal Vizier for some time. We know he wants to take the Sultan’s power for himself, but no exact reason is given as to why.
Quite early in the remake, Jafar reveals that he used to be a thief, just like Aladdin. While he does this to build a rapport with Aladdin to convince him to enter the Cave of Wonders for him, it ultimately serves to prove how unalike they are. While Aladdin steals only as much as he needs to survive, and often uses a portion of what he steals to help others, Jafar steals only to help himself.
This is why, despite there similar humble beginnings, Aladdin is the ‘Diamond in the Rough’ who can safely enter the Cave of Wonders, while Jafar could not.
So far, Disney’s live-action remakes have made a habit of adding characters who did not appear in the original. Aladdin is no different, introducing Princess Jasmine’s handmaiden, Dalia.
Dalia is a worthy addition to the film for a couple of reasons. Firstly, she gives Jasmine someone to fully interact with and bounce off of during the early stages of the film. Someone with whom she can actually share her ideas and opinions, whereas in the original, Jasmine is confined to a number of one-sided conversations with her tiger, Rajah.
The love story between Dalia and the Genie is also a great addition to the Aladdin remake. It gives a more human side to the Genie’s story that wasn’t present in the animated version, adding emotional weight to his desire to be free.
In the animated Aladdin, Princess Jasmine does not have a solo song. In fact, the only musical number the character participates in is ‘A Whole New World’. This does make some sense, since the original is more Aladdin’s story. However, it does seem a little sad that Jasmine was the only Disney Princess (at least, the only one in a musical film) without a solo song.
This is corrected in the remake. Here, Jasmine serves as a co-protagonist rather than a simple love interest. Therefore, it makes sense that she gets her own solo number, the show-stopper ‘Speechless’. The song is a fitting tribute to Jasmine’s position as one of the more independent Disney Princesses, as well as her larger role in this film as a whole.
4. Jasmine’s more active role in the climax.
This point contains some minor spoilers. Although they aren’t huge revelations, if you’re keen to go in with a clear mind, definitely know it’s worth watching.
As mentioned earlier, the original film is very much Aladdin’s show. Most of the other characters spend the movie’s final act incapacitated by Jafar’s magic. Jasmine, after failing to distract Jafar with an act of seduction, ends up trapped in an hourglass rapidly filling with sand.
Once again, the live-action remake mixes things up a bit. Princess Jasmine becomes an active participant in the film’s climax, joining Aladdin for a heart-stopping chase sequence on the Magic Carpet. Also, it is Jasmine herself, not the Sultan, who changes the law so she can marry Aladdin.
Few could say the Aladdin remake is better than the original. It is different, but a different take on a much-loved tale is not always a bad thing.