Imagine if you have three wishes, will you waste them or spend them like Aladdin? When live-Action Aladdin was in cinema, the idea of cultural dilemma was all over once again. While the 1992 animated Aladdin Disney classic did include cultural inaccuracies and insensitivities, the newest version of the movie came along to try to set things up.
Our old beloved story is back, bringing all the nostalgia of the folk tales; however, the origins of the story have been a place of debate. The famous story Aladdin is from the well-known Arabian Nights collection, which was added between the 8th and 13th Century. A number of stories has also come from different roots Persian, Mesopotamian, Indian, Jewish and Chinese.
The original story is placed in Western China. You might ask how this story became so Indian with all the outfits and dancing in the movie? The answer is that China and India were linked due to the trade at that time and that’s why it was easy for the story to be spread and adapted. The original story might look the same, but there are a few differences. For example, Aladdin isn’t an orphan, but he is a poor boy living with his mother. Jasmine was called Badroulbador and she didn’t find out about the Genie until they were married but later on, they fought the evil sorcerer together also known in the latest version as Jafar, then the Genie helps Aladdin. The rest is the same story that we all know.
Moving on to the 21st century with our modernized Aladdin. You might think it’s the same old story but it is definitely not! They modernized the movie in a whole new way that will blow your mind, and these are reasons why you should watch the new Aladdin (if you haven’t already):
1-Egyptian, Indian and American:
The movie cast has a whole new mixture that brings all the people together. We have the young Egyptian Mena Massoud for his role as Aladdin. There is also the Indian actress Naomi Scott. In addition to the American actor Will Smith for his role as the Genie. At first, it wasn’t that convenient for the audience as it increased the cultural dilemma. Some people were against the cast as they were expecting more from Disney to break the stereotype. On the other hand, it made it harder for us to define the origin of Aladdin ;in fact, those three didn’t disappoint us and dazzled the audience.
2- The Outfits:
In the movie, most of the outfits are Indian despite that the setting is supposed to be in the Arabian deserts as the adapted story tells. Princess Jasmine has always been known with her vibrant crop top and harem pants that she wore throughout Disney’s 1992 animated classic Aladdin, but now Naomi Scott brought a whole new wardrobe that modernized the princess look. The film featured about 10 new outfits for Jasmine. Michael Wilkinson the Costumes Designer made sure that the fabrics would be originally from India, Morocco, and turkey. He was also keen to show less skin on the outfits. The outfits took him 6 months to be done.
3- We can’t just miss out Will Smith’s dance moves!
It brought the movie a new texture. He mentioned in an interview he did that he was trying to bring an unseen “hip-hop flavor” to the character and he certainly did, but the rest of the choreography was Indian based with a bit of Hip-Hop.
4- Empowering Women:
This movie version came along with some plot twists , as in the end Jasmine is the Sultana. Throughout the movie, women empowerment was shown, which could be an encouraging message to young girls.
5- The Genie’s Happy Ending:
Another spoiler the Genie gets to be marrying Jasimine’s handmaid Dalia and also has kids.
Overall despite the origin of the story, this new movie brought the idea of diversity with its different cultural mixture. Last but not least, we have to appreciate the casting choice of actors, as they tried their best to give an opportunity to different people of different ethnicities to have a chance. So what do you think? Is it Chinese, Indian or Arab? Either way, we will always love our Aladdin and his Genie.