Aladdin is about as straightforward as movies come. You don’t walk out of it really wondering what could happen in a sequel. Everyone just lives happily ever after.
On the other hand, if you’re a huge fan of Aladdin and saw the new live-action version this weekend, maybe you scratched your head about one or two things regarding the music. Thankfully, we asked co-writer and director Guy Ritchie about a few of them.
First of all, Aladdin’s end credits are comprised of a few songs, including a full rap version of “Friend Like Me” by Will Smith and DJ Khaled. It’s very much in the vein of Smith’s songs at the end of Men in Black and Wild Wild West and is hilarious no matter which way you look at it. And, though he didn’t exactly admit it, it seems like the decision about that song was out of the director’s hands.
“That came quite late in the day, actually,” Ritchie told io9 when asked when he found out about Smith’s rap song. “Came quite late in the day. I mean very late...I saw the film last week for really the first time with everything and I knew that was happening, that tune, but...yeah.”
Well, OK then.
Next up, Aladdin’s music is mostly songs and reprises from the animated film, save for one major addition, “Speechless,” which was written for Ritchie’s movie. However, Disney made Aladdin into a Broadway musical in 2011, and that show introduced a bunch of new songs.
One of them (“Proud of Your Boy”) was even written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman for the original movie but got cut. So, before putting a new song into the movie, did Ritchie and his team look at the stage show for inspiration?
“Yeah, I think we did [look at it],” Ritchie said. “I mean, I went to go see it, but we had our hands full and I didn’t think we were short of ideas either. If we were short of ideas, maybe we would have tapped into other things, but I think we had enough.”
Finally, and this is a minor spoiler, but the film doesn’t include the famous reprise of “Prince Ali” by Jafar seen here...
There are plot reasons, of course. The Ali/Aladdin reveal is handled a little differently in the new movie. Also, Ritchie said it simply didn’t fit as organically as the other songs.
“You have to be very judicious about where it is that you can have any musical interlude, whether they are a reprise or not,” Ritchie said. “And that was just one of those ones that, you just didn’t feel like we had the space to put that in.”
Unfortunate, to be sure, but such is life in adaptations.
Aladdin is now in theatres. Roll Will Smith end credits song now.