Aladdin’s Live-Action Edition is the Escapist fantasy I didn’t know I needed

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For many, a live-action remake of Aladdin It was “unwanted” addition to the Disney list, but to me, it felt like coming home. As a South Asian, I had long been giving up acting in Disney for the movie. and then Aladdin It came along. The inclusiveness in Disney’s live-action movie fare is still poor, but the remake was a step in the right direction with a cast full of colorful actors, great sets, and costumes.

I know the original animation Aladdin Loved by many, but my relationship with the film is weak. The movie popped onto the Disney list because it was based in a “far away” with brownish cartoon characters, places that seemed like home to me. But the cast was mainly white, and so was the movie Understandably subject to examination for its strangeness and racism. The remake was an attempt at course-correcting, and it went a long way to getting things right, but not quite. (Obviously, this is a Disney movie after all.)

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Despite hesitating to see the movie at first, it didn’t take long for me to change my mind. I was particularly drawn to the local areas of Aladdin Because when the movie came out, I had moved away from my home country. Crowded markets, opulent landmarks, and bright and colorful clothes are sights I’m used to, even in the middle of the big cities I’ve always lived in.

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Agrabah, the fictional kingdom in the movie, is a bustling city populated by people of different backgrounds. The melting pot of multicultural personalities reminded me of my decade-old home, Dubai. The city is teeming with people from all over the world, they speak many languages ​​in a variety of dialects, and their cultures intertwine to create a vibrant atmosphere. International cast cast in Aladdin A new edition added to the multiculturalism in Agrabah. Mina Massoud, who plays the titular character, is a Canadian actor of Egyptian descent; Jafar’s representative Marwan Kanzari Dutch actor of Tunisian origin. leading lady Naomi Scott She is British-Indian, and writers of mixed descent wrote to Yasmin by stating clearly that her late mother was from neighboring Sherabad, while Sultan (performed by an Iranian actor) Naveed Najhban) from his wages. Yasemin’s friend and assistant Dalia, performed by an Iranian American actor breeze pedradand of course, will Smith The stars are like a genie. Presenting a fictional film with North African, South Asian, and Arab actors meant that this film did not present its predominantly brown cast as one piece. They – or rather, we – are all unique.


The new version is Bollywood-lite – there’s the song and dance aspect of Disney/Bollywood, but not the melodramatic baggage. The series “Harvest Dance” is particularly reminiscent of Bollywood films, which is another nod to Jasmine’s mixed heritage. I won’t lie, I really like the way the film evokes the style and tone of film industries from Asia and the Middle East.

The characters look more refined in the remake which adds depth to the film, not to mention a richer experience for the viewer. Finally, we’re not stuck watching cartoons and stereotypes, instead, there’s a reason these characters act the way they do. Jafar is not just evil. He has revenge on Sharabad, where he is imprisoned, and tries to use his power to declare war on the place. The Sultan is a sad man, afraid of losing his daughter, to the point of strangling her. The Genie is given a romantic subplot that plays hilariously, but sweetly. Dalia’s addition was a surprise, but it gave Jasmine a more rounded personality. Also, Dahlia is a gem – everyone should watch the remake in order to perform only Nasim Pedrad.


The biggest change is jasmine. She was very interested in love with the sole purpose of marriage in the animated version, and I’m so glad we evolved beyond that metaphor. Jasmine got a promotion in the new version regarding her motives. She has the best girlfriend she can talk to, but she also struggles against the limitations placed on her by an overprotective father and a cunning, power-hungry minister. Jasmine wants to take over her father’s kingdom, and that makes me so happy that little girls have Disney princesses who have ambition and aren’t afraid to fight for it.

Jasmine living an overly sheltered life is one of the most authentic elements of the movie – most South Asian women know a thing or two about it. Look, our parents had good reason to worry about us when we were kids, and it’s hard for them to get over those fears even when we’re adults. Thanks to movies like turns red and shows like Mrs. Marvell And the I have never done beforeMore and more audiences are becoming aware of this peculiar (albeit understandable) trait of Asian parents. But Aladdin He was ahead of the curve.


Getting more depth for Jasmine makes it easier to root her relationship with Aladdin. Yes, they get married 2.5 days after meeting each other, but apart from that, they are both clearly taken by the other for their adventurousness and intelligence. Aladdin is also less power hungry in this version, using genie magic not to trick Jasmine, but to circumvent the system to be with her. He’s smart and cute, but he’s also imperfect, which makes Aladdin relatable.

I love that when Jasmine becomes Sultan at the end of the movie, Aladdin doesn’t even blink because he knows she deserves it. Gender imbalances still plague many cultures, so this was a nice change of pace for a movie featuring characters from the Middle East.

Aladdin It may be, Disney-like for some, and it certainly stirs up complex feelings among viewers in the Middle East and Arabs. But inside the Hollywood scene, the movie It stood for me for another reason. For once, characters of color didn’t have to deal with racism or misrepresentation – they’re just characters in a story. Heroes and villains sing and dance, lose and win, all against the backdrop of minarets, ghagra-cholis, markets, camels and, of course, magic. There is still an expectation that every story by people of color should have a message, but a strength Aladdin The means is the message. This is a huge movie unabashedly about brown characters trying to live their best lives, and that’s a victory in itself. Watch Aladdin , You can literally leave your worries at the gates of strangers.

granted, Aladdin Not perfect. Disney story origins Still controversialAnd the making of the movie received a lot of feedback with each update. Additionally, since the creators are white men, the film lacks elements of originality such as the use of Arabic script and multilingual dialogue. Aesthetically speaking, Jasmine should have had more work in the final chapter and the vocals could have been more powerful. But these issues far outweigh the final product. Given how poorly Hollywood is in presenting people of Muslim origins, Arab and South Asian culture, watching a movie is just an escape fantasy featuring actors of color that has been long overdue for a very large portion of Disney’s audience.

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