Disney’s Aladdin Animated vs. Live-Action

Morgan Montgomery, Business Manager

Disney has made multiple live-action movies from their original animated versions, one being Aladdin. Although the live-action gives the more realistic feel, as there are actual people, the animated version is much better than the live-action.

The live action did not have the dynamic cast that the animated movie had. In the animated version, Robin Williams plays the genie. Williams plays an excellent genie because of the character he puts into it. He ad-libbed hilarious, iconic scenes, such as the pinocchio bit when they are on the island. Will Smith did a decent job, but didn’t bring the character to the genie as much as Williams. Smith did his own take on ‘Friend Like Me’, but it just wasn’t the same. There were changed lyrics, it was a different style, and it didn’t feel like the song. Smith is funny as the genie, but not in the conventional, Robin Williams way, he was funny at times, but during others it felt like he was trying too hard to fill Williams’ shoes.

The animated version of the film had Scott Weigner as Aladdin. Weigner did a great job with Aladdin’s character. He made Aladdin seem genuine. Even though he’s lying and pretending to be something he’s not, Weigner helps bring out the innocence in the character. He means well, but doesn’t know to go about it any other way. Mena Massoud was cast as Aladdin in the live-action and he wasn’t very good at the role. Massoud did a decent job with Aladdin’s quick wit and is a good dancer, but he also made the character seem a little more selfish and less generous and compassionate at the beginning. Massoud also wasn’t up to par with the singing. Brad Kane sang for Weigner in the 1992 original animated film, and did an absolutely phenomenal job at it. Massoud was rather monotonous. Massoud also made the character a little more awkward. For instance, the scene in which Aladdin was meeting the sultan, it was so awkward it was hard to watch.

One thing that the live-action has on the animated is the chemistry between Princess Jasmine and Aladdin. The viewer can actually feel the chemistry through the screen.

Jasmine, in the original, was played by Linda Larkin, who did a good job bringing the attitude and desperation of the character. In the live-action, Naomi Scott portrays Jasmine. Scott does a good job as well, she has the acting skills, and the voice, to really convey Jasmine’s desperation to be normal and out of the palace and her compassion for the citizens of her city. Lea Salonga sang for Jasmine in the 1992 film, and was phenomenal. Scott did a fantastic job with the songs, the added song for Jasmine couldn’t have worked for everyone, but Scott’s talent overshined all the other actors.

Jafar in the live-action is played by Marwan Kenzari; in the animated Jafar is played by Jonathan Freeman. Kenzari played the character much too stiff and cruel. In the animated version, Jafar puts up a front, pretends to be loyal and stand with everything the sultan says and does, but behind closed doors he’s plotting against the sultan. In the live-action, Jafar openly defies the sultan and disagrees with him. Freeman plays the character of Jafar better than Kenzari. 

Not only was the cast better in the animated version, but the overall acting was better. In the animated movie, you get more raw emotion in their voices, it makes it seem more real. In the live-action, there’s not as much emotion in their voices because the viewer can see their faces, but it’s not as convincing if their voice isn’t into it. 

The live-action version of Disney’s Aladdin, while enjoyable because there are real people in it and being able to see the actors faces, it isn’t as convincing or as good as the original animated version.