For many of us, every frame of the original Disney animation of Aladdin has been burned into our memories. When I watched Aladdin Live Action 2019, I was pretty much transported back in time as I sang through all the songs probably to the distress of the person sitting next to me. But since the original movie was imprinted in my brain, I couldn’t help noticing all of the differences. I promise you, this is not an article that complains about how the new movie missed out this and changed up that. The new 2019 Aladdin was, in spirit, very similar to the Original Animation. So here are all the differences and similarities of the Original Animated Aladdin of 1992 and the Live Action Aladdin of 2019. Oh, and there’s going to be a ton of spoilers.
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Opening Scene: The Genie’s Story, not the Peddler
The Original Animation of Aladdin had the voice of Robin Williams playing the role of a Peddler who is hilarious and tries to sell the audience a whole bunch of amazing handicrafts. This Peddler was supposed to show up at the end of the Original film as a sailor who was once the Genie, but they didn’t take that path in the Animated film. The Live Action Aladdin, however, went that path. We are straight away introduced to Genie as a human who is telling his kids the story of Aladdin.
While the 1992 Aladdin opens with the song Arabian Nights straight, the movie has Will Smith singing the song, as a sailor, to his kids and then we are taken to Agrabah. The film skips Jafar locating two halves of a scarab that leads him to the Cave of Wonders. Through the song, we are shown a person being consumed by the Cave, much like Gazeem did in the original. It was a good idea to do this and get straight into the main story.
All this for a loaf of bread?
In the 2019 Aladdin, he steals a necklace and exchanges for dates. As he sits to eat it, he notices a hungry family and gives the dates to the poor kid. In the Animated film, Aladdin steals bread which he, and a reluctant Abu, give to two hungry kids.
One Jump Ahead
The song is Aladdin’s opening in the Original Animation, where he’s just stolen bread. In the 2019 movie, he saves Jasmine first, and the song happens as they run from the guards. Aladdin uses slight of hands to pawn Jasmine’s Bracelet as they escape. In the 1992 film, however, Aladdin claims Jasmine to be his sister and that she’s a crazy person. Jasmine plays along pretty well calling a camel the doctor, and Abu the Sultan.
Do you trust me?
In the Live Action, Aladdin simply says “Trust Me” as he does his trick with the Bracelet whereas in the Animation he asks Jasmine “Do you trust me?” much later when they jump down to the streets.
Aladdin needs to coax Jasmine to use the pole to jump in the Live Action film while in the Original Animation Jasmine surprises Aladdin by leaping over him as he’s preparing a plank for her to walk on.
In the Live Action, we are told that the Queen (Jasmine’s mother) had been killed and this is the reason Jasmine is kept locked up and protected. In the Animation, it’s merely because she’s royalty. Both Aladdin and Jasmine talk about being Trapped as that is the central theme of the film.
The Truth About Jasmine
When the guards locate Aladdin’s safe house in the Original Animation, the two make a run for it. Aladdin is caught, and Jasmine discloses that she is the princess. In the Live Action, a prince is shown making his way to the castle, and Jasmine leaves in a hurry. Aladdin doesn’t get to know she’s a princess at this point, he believes he’s talking to the princess’ handmaiden (Dalia).
Abu Steals The Bracelet
Apart from being told about the dead Queen and the Bracelet, the 2019 movie also sees Abu stealing it. Jasmine mistakes Aladdin to be the thief, and he plans to break into the palace to return the Bracelet. In the 1992 movie, Abu doesn’t steal anything from Jasmine.
Prince Anders and not Prince Achmed
The Original Animation shows a Prince Achmed making his way to the palace. It is he who tells Aladdin – “You are a worthless street rat. You were born a street rat, you’ll die a street rat, and only your fleas will mourn you”. In the Live Action film, we have a different prince, Anders, who makes his way to the palace. The song that follows, Riff Raff, is pretty much the same.
The Original Animation had a small, cuddly, teddy bear of a Sultan while the Live Action has, well, a regular Sultan person. In the Animation, we are shown Jafar using the powers of his staff to get to the Sultan’s ring so he can locate The Diamond In The Rough. We’re also introduced to Iago, the evil parrot who shows us how a parrot can be pure, unadulterated evil, whose master plan is to stuff crackers down the Sultan’s throat. The 2019 film additionally shows Jafar to want to go to war with Shirabad (the neighbouring kingdom) as he wants Agrabah to become an empire. It is for this that he uses his powers of the staff, and Jasmine interrupts him.
Jafar and Iago – No, just NO!
The movie simply lacked that evil awesomeness. I know, I know, I promised I wouldn’t complain. But please, let me have this one. The soul of the original film, apart from the Genie, resided in two awesome characters – Jafar and Iago. The relationship of an old evil vizier and his eviler talking parrot was the most brilliant thing of the 90’s. Given Iago was reduced to a talking bird, Marwan Kenzari couldn’t really hold that role of Jafar. Where was that voice?! In the scene which introduces him, you’re still waiting for Jafar to appear in all his evil glory and then you realize that you have already been looking at him for the past five minutes. Okay, I’m done. I promise, for real.
In the Original Animation, we see Prince Achmed storm out with torn pants, a doing of Rajah. In the 2019 film, Prince Anders gets attacked by Rajah but it’s off camera. He doesn’t, however, leave. He continues to stay as a guest.
As opposed to the 1992 film, in the 2019 movie Jasmine doesn’t want to merely pick her own suitor, she wants to become the Sultan of Agrabah. She’s gets turned down, and after that she gets her own song which is not in the Original Animation.
In the Original Animation, Jafar has taken Aladdin prisoner and lies to Jasmine saying he had him beheaded for stealing. In the Live Action, there is no such play by Jafar.
Dalia, a new character
The 2019 film sees Dalia, a new character, who is a handmaiden to the princess. She and the Genie like one another.
Aladdin’s journey to the Cave
In the Live Action film, Aladdin breaks into the palace to return the Bracelet and ends up being taken by Jafar who has identified him to be the Diamond in the Rough. He then tells Aladdin that the Bracelet belongs to the princess and that she was just toying with a commoner. He also tells Aladdin – “You’re either the most powerful man in the room or you’re nothing”. The Original Animation has Jafar pose as an old prisoner who explains the Golden Rule – “whoever has the gold makes the rules”. After that, he offers an escape and takes Aladdin to the Cave of Wonders.
The Cave of Wonders and The Lamp
This part is kept pretty much the same. The Tiger God, the entry, seeing the jewels, finding Carpet, seeing the Lamp, climbing up to get it, Abu touching the forbidden treasure, Tiger God getting pissed off, cave flooding with lava, the carpet ride, Jafar taking the Lamp and betraying Aladdin, Abu stealing the Lamp, Carpet catching a falling Aladdin.
Summoning the Genie
In the Original Animation, Aladdin rubs the Lamp because he’s having trouble reading something that is written on the Lamp. In the Live Action film, Carpet points to the Lamp, and Aladdin rubs it.
I know there is way too much to be compared here. Even Will Smith regards Robin Williams’ Genie to be too pristine to be meddled with. All I can say is that Will did a pretty good job because he really respected that role. While the Original Genie was stuck in the Lamp for 10000 years, the new Genie didn’t have it that rough, he was in there for 1000 years. The song Friend Like Me was done up nicely, and Will Smith got to do some Old School jam just before the song.
Rules For Making Wishes
In the Original Animation, a wish was made by simply saying “I wish”, while in the Live Action, you have to actually rub the Lamp and say “I wish”. The rules are otherwise the same – three wishes, can’t make people fall in love, and can’t bring back the dead. While the 1992 film sees Aladdin tricking Genie into getting them out of the Cave without saying “I wish”, the 2019 Aladdin doesn’t rub the Lamp when he wishes them out, thereby gaining an additional wish.
What would you wish for?
This conversation is pretty much the same. Aladdin asks Genie what he wants, and Genie wants to be free. Aladdin promises to do this with his third wish, and they shake on it. After that, Aladdin talks about Jasmine and how she’s a princess and finally wishes to be a Prince. This bit is the same, including Abu being turned into an Elephant.
Prince Ali … from Ababwa?
In the Original Animation, Ababwa was his name. In the Live Action, Genie suggests it to be the place where he’s from. The song Prince Ali Ababwa is done similarly, except they don’t come crashing into the palace. In the 1992 film, the cuddly Sultan tries out the Carpet which gives Iago a good chase. In the 2019 film, Aladdin bumbles by saying he was planning to buy Jasmine and goes on about the Gifts and Jams.
Jafar could be the Chump Husband
Evil little Iago from 1992 tells Jafar that he should simply marry Jasmine and become Sultan. After that, they could drop papa-in-law and the little woman off a cliff. Jafar uses his staff magic on the Sultan to get him to agree to marrying Jasmine, but Prince Ali’s arrival breaks the spell. In the 2019 film, there is no Iago’s evil little brain, so there is no idea of becoming the chump husband.
There is no party or a dance sequence in the Original Animation. Also, Aladdin from 1992 doesn’t know that Jafar is the old man from the dungeon. In the 2019 film, Aladdin knows that Jafar is the one after the Lamp.
A Whole New World
In both films, Genie asks Aladdin to be himself. As Ali, he goes to meet Jasmine. In the 2019 film, the Genie, who is interested in Dalia, comes to take her out for a stroll. Ali talks to the princess, asks her, “Do you trust me?”, and takes her on a magic carpet ride to show her a Whole New World. The song does have differences in the way they fly about, but the 2019 movie tried hard to work with the physics of being on a flying carpet. After the song, Jasmine uses Abu’s name to trick Ali into admitting that he is Aladdin. As in the Original, Aladdin maintains that he is indeed a prince and was only in disguise as Aladdin. One thing you do miss in the sequence is the visual dynamics that Carpet brings by trying to coax Aladdin into telling the truth.
Goodbye, Prince Abubu
In the Original, Prince Ali gets in the way of Jafar’s plans to get married to Jasmine, and that’s why he tosses him into the sea. In the 2019 film, Jafar suspects Ali to be Aladdin and captures him and tries to get the location of the Lamp. He never calls him Prince Abubu. When Aladdin continues to claim he’s Ali, Jafar tosses him into the sea. While the 1992 Ali has the Lamp on him, in 2019, Carpet and Abu bring the Lamp to the drowning Aladdin.
In the Original Animation, Genie tries to wake Aladdin up. He uses Aladdin’s drooping head to treat it as a “yes” to save him. In the Live Action, Genie creates a contract and uses Aladdin’s hands to take a signature, and uses this wish to save him.
Jafar is Exposed
Both the films have Jafar being exposed by Aladdin, and he smashes the Snake Staff. In the 1992 film, Jafar only realizes now that Ali is actually Aladdin and uses a smoke bomb to make his escape. In the 2019 movie, Jafar is arrested, and Iago brings him the key to his cell door.
Genie, I can’t wish you free
Ali is celebrated as he has saved the kingdom from Jafar. Jasmine has fallen in love with him too. All is well until the Sultan asks him to become the King. Aladdin feels he’s nobody without the Genie. These bits are pretty much the same. While in the Original Animation, Aladdin explicitly mentions not being able to set the Genie free, in the Live Action it is only implied. Also, in the Live Action, Genie doesn’t care for that last wish he just wants Aladdin to do the right thing. In the Original Animation, the Genie gets upset because Aladdin is breaking the promise of setting him free.
You got a problem, Pinky?
In the 1992 film, Iago fakes Jasmine’s voice to distract Aladdin and has a pink flamingo lusting on him in the process. Iago sneaks the Lamp to Jafar. In the 2019 film, Jafar intercepts an already distracted Aladdin and picks the Lamp from Aladdin’s bag. Iago has nothing to do with it.
Sorry, kid. I got a new master now
Jafar’s wishes are precisely the same in both the movies. He first wishes to be the Sultan of Agrabah. We don’t see the transfer of robes in the 2019 film as we do in the Original Animation. Hakeem is given a little more importance in the 2019 film with him standing up to Jafar after Jasmine talks sense into him. Also, Jasmine gets her second song, which is a little more “Let it go” in nature and didn’t seem to amplify the mood.
A warm Agrabah welcome for Sorcerer Jafar!
Jafar’s second wish is to become the most powerful sorcerer in the world. In the Original Animation, Jafar revamps everything around him and through a song, he turns Ali back into Aladdin exposes him to Jasmine. After that, he puts Aladdin, Abu, and Carpet in a tower and smacks it away to the frigid end of the world. Aladdin saves Abu from the rolling tower and finds Carpet and heads back. In the 2019 film, Jafar simply tells people that Ali is actually Aladdin and banishes him and Abu. It is Genie who then sends the Carpet to aid Aladdin.
Love vs. Marriage
In the 1992 film, Jafar wants to punish Jasmine and wishes for her to fall madly in love with him. The Genie tries to explain that he can’t do that. Jasmine sees Aladdin, who has returned. She uses the opportunity to act like she has fallen in love with Jafar and even plants a kiss on him. But Aladdin gets caught, and Jafar puts Jasmin in a large sand glass. He turns Abu into a toy (the same toy that Genie makes him at the beginning of the 2019 film) and Carpet into a ball of yarn. Jafar then turns into a snake to take on Aladdin. In the Live Action, Jafar wishes to punish the Sultan and forces Jasmine to marry him. Just as they are about to complete the ceremony, Aladdin returns and takes back the Lamp. A chase ensues where Iago becomes a giant bird and the Lamp finally makes its way back to Jafar.
Phenomenal Cosmic Powers, itty bitty living space
The third wish that Jafar makes is to become the most powerful Genie in the Original Animation. In the 2019 film, he wishes to be the most powerful being, but the Genie interprets this purposely as a Genie. After that, Jafar becomes a prisoner of his Lamp and takes Iago with him inside it. In the Live Action, we don’t get to hear any further dialogues from inside the Lamp like – “Get your blasted beak out of my face”. The Genie sends away Jafar and Iago to the Cave of Wonders.
Genie, you’re free!
In the Original Animation, the Genie suggests making Aladdin a prince again so he can get married to Jasmine. But Aladdin wishes for Genie’s freedom and they test is by wishing for the Nile. Genie doesn’t become human, he is still magical but free. He plans to go see the world on his own. Aladdin’s action causes a chain reaction, and the Sultan rewrites the rules allowing Jasmine to pick Aladdin as her husband. In the Live Action, Genie suggests removing the law that only a prince can marry a princess. Aladdin sets him free, Genie becomes a regular human. He asks Dalia to join him as they sail the world and have kids. The Sultan hands over the throne to Jasmine and she becomes the new Sultan of Agrabah. She picks her husband, Aladdin.
That’s all folks, do drop in a comment if I’ve missed other interesting differences or similarities, let’s discuss!
Some people tend to have a question around why Aladdin couldn’t just give the Lamp to Jasmine or Dalia for the extra wish. Click on the image for the answer:
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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