Every Millennial remembers watching Aladdin when it first came out to the theaters in 1992. Robin Williams was the unforgettable voice of the wish-granting Genie, and he remains, for many fans who discovered the movie as children, the only real Genie. Nevertheless, Walt Disney appeals to the next generation of fans by making a live-action adaptation of the animated film, with Will Smith in the role of Genie. Critics were divided about the new adaptation. The hardcore fans of the original material felt that the story didn’t need retelling, while others welcomed the adaptation positively. However, despite the change of cast and the slight modifications to the plot, Aladdin remains the story of a romance in a foreign land and distant past. As beautiful as the CGI effects can be, it’s impossible not to wonder what today’s Aladdin would do.
He’s a modern guy
In the 21st century, you can expect Aladdin to have developed new ways of meeting girls. Indeed, after all, it’s fair to say that real-life Jasmine would be savvier than the Princess who’s lived all her life sheltered in a palace. As such, Aladdin is more likely to notice her on an Arab dating site than acting lost and confused in the middle of Agrabah. Perhaps, they could meet in one of the local facilities, such as queueing at their local coffee shop or the market – we’d also like to believe that Aladdin would not need to steal food from the market anymore.
He’ll be selling himself honestly
The kind-hearted street urchin pretending to be a prince might be a romantic idea, but there’s no such thing as a wish-granting Genie to come to your rescue. It would be nice to picture modern-day Aladdin as an ambitious guy who is selling his skills and background honestly. There’s no need for lying or underselling himself. But aiming high in his life while being clear about where he comes from would be a welcome change in the story. Jasmine deserves better than lies.
He’ll treat her as his equal
The whole plot is about Aladdin rescuing Princess Jasmine, repeatedly – firstly because she seems unable to find her way in town and secondly because she can’t fend for herself. Let’s forget about all the clichéed gender roles and establish Aladdin and Jasmine into a relationship based on equality. What’s the big difference, you ask. It’s simple. It means they can share decisions, duties, compromises fairly by ensuring that Jasmine never feels indebted to Aladdin – for rescuing her. Additionally, it also means that Aladdin never needs to feel like he has to lie to impress Jasmine because, as far as he’s concerned, they’re equals.
They can both capable
In both Disney adaptations, the blue Genie saves the day, making the romance possible for the couple. In real life, as we’ve mentioned earlier, Genies are a lot less frequent than the films might suggest. In other words, their getting together may be slightly less heroic and adventurous. But it would be the result of their combined skills and interests, rather than an act of magic.
Is there room for a modern-day Aladdin? It’s hard to say. The story 21st-century Aladdin and Jasmine doesn’t deserve to be told. It’s a simple story of love. Without the magic and the songs, their meeting becomes less of a blockbuster. But perhaps, we need a breath of realism to learn to believe in love again.