Guy Ritchie's live action take on beloved Disney classic 'Aladdin' is in cinemas now.

The remake of the 1992 Disney animation stars Will Smith in the role of Genie, Mena Massoud as Aladdin and Naomi Scott as Jasmine.

Here's what we thought of 'Aladdin' but if you're curious as to the main differences between the original animation and this live action remake, read on (mild spoilers follow).


Framing device

Those who watched the animation should remember that the film opened with a peddler (voiced, like the Genie, by Robin Williams) singing 'Arabian Nights'. He shows us his wares - among them, the magic lamp. Then he proceeds to tell us the story of - you guessed it - Aladdin.

The remake uses a somewhat different framing device. It sees a sailor (played by Will Smith) telling the story of Aladdin to his children on the family's boat. Like the peddler, the sailor sings 'Arabian Nights'. The storytelling device calls back to the fact that 'Aladdin' originates from the Arabic folktale collection 'One Thousand and One Nights'. The device comes full circle in the film's finale with the addition of a charming twist.


The new character of Dalia

Dalia is a new character in the 2019 edition of 'Aladdin'. She is played by Nasim Pedrad, who viewers should recognise from 'SNL' and 'New Girl'. Dalia is the handmaiden of Princess Jasmine and her best friend. At one point, Dalia pretends to be the Princess while Jasmine pretends to be her. She is also a source of comic relief for the movie and provides a love interest for the Genie.


Expansion of Jasmine's character

Jasmine, played in the new film by Naomi Scott, has much more to do this time around. She even gets her own song, 'I Won't Go Speechless', which is very fitting for the character indeed.

In this version, Jasmine wants to be Sultan but is hushed by her father and Jafar, who believe her to be inexperienced (Jafar even adds that her role is to be seen and not heard). Her song thus becomes an expression of her frustrations and true desires. In the end, her becoming Sultan is the pivotal climax rather than getting to choose who she wants to marry as in the animated original.


More courting

Related to the idea that the new 'Aladdin' could be described as more 'feminist', it includes more scenes of Aladdin and Jasmine 'courting' (for want of a better word). After meeting in the marketplace, Aladdin sneaks into the palace to see Jasmine again and to return her mother's bracelet, which Apu stole.

Later, when Aladdin has taken on the persona of Prince Ali, there is a scene where he and Genie attend a dinner at the palace. Aladdin attempts a dance in order to woo Jasmine but his efforts fall flat. It takes 'A Whole New World' to get Jasmine to really fall for him.



The finale of the live-action remake has changed significantly compared to the animated version - and in fairness, it makes sense. After all, Jasmine dressed in alluring red and attempting to seduce Jafar probably wouldn't have gone down with the kids of today - nor would the attempt to drown her in an hourglass of sand. We don't miss those parts but we really wanted to see Jafar turn into a giant snake. Shame.