It’s full steam ahead for Disney and its live-action remakes. One of the biggest criticisms about these films is that they don’t do enough to separate themselves from the originals. So, how will Disney’s next big remake, Aladdin, be different from the 1992 animated film of the same name? Here’s what lead actor Mena Massoud thinks makes the new Aladdin stand out from its predecessor.
Because that’s exactly what you want from a movie about a boy from a fictional city who finds a wish-granting genie and fights a wizard: realism.
All kidding aside, Mena Massoud, who will step into the shoes of Aladdin (did Aladdin wear shoes?), told Entertainment Weekly that the most significant difference with the live-action film is that by using real people, it allows viewers to connect more with the characters. Essentially, you can connect to the story more because you’re seeing emotions and struggle through human actors.
For what it’s worth, Aladdin has already gotten some controversy about sticking too closely to the original. Terry Rossio, who co-wrote the 1992 Aladdin, expressed dissatisfaction that the 2019 Aladdin teaser used the same lines of dialogue that he wrote for the animated film, and he received no compensation.
I think that Mena Massoud makes a point that it’s easier for some people to connect to a film when it’s human actors showing emotion and not characters drawn to do so by animators. But it doesn’t really address the criticism that these remakes are the same as the animated films.
For example, last year’s Beauty and The Beast had the same plot beat-for-beat with some scenes unchanged. If you saw the animated classic, then you have pretty much seen the live-action one. Then again, considering the money the new Beauty made, that may be exactly why Disney seems content to continue on that path.
Disney is banking hard on nostalgia for these remakes, and while it’s tough to change up moves that are regarded as classics, it’s a challenge that it will have to continue to face as it adds more remakes to its release slate. However, with Will Smith as Genie, some things are bound to be different from the original version of Aladdin.
Aladdin releases in theaters on May 24, 2019. For more movies hitting theaters next year, check out our 2019 movie release guide.