This weekend, Aladdin joins Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, and Dumbo as Disney animated classics to get a live-action remake. The Mouse House isn’t stopping there, either, with The Lion King, Lady and the Tramp, Mulan, Pinocchio, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and The Little Mermaid. There’s one post-Renaissance movie (which started with Mermaid) that certified Disney Legend Alan Menken thinks won’t ever get a reimagining, however.
“I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to do Pocahontas, I think that story is going to be difficult. With modern sensibilities, it’d be hard – you’re going to offend somebody – so I don’t know,” the nine-time Oscar winning composer, including for “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid and “A Whole New World” from Aladdin, told Digital Spy. “But I’m happy to come back to these films and continue to add to them.” Menken is right to call a live-action Pocahontas movie more difficult than, say, remaking the movie where two mice travel to the Australian Outback, but to not consider it because “you’re going to offend somebody” is a peculiar defense. We’re not talking Song of the South here.
Menken also discussed the revised lyrics in the new Aladdin:
“It is no longer ‘Sunday salaam.’ It’s ‘Friday salaam.’ Things got corrected, certain things got removed. Like, we used to have [in the lyrics to ‘Arabian Nights’], ‘The heat is intense/It’s barbaric/But hey, it’s home.’ But originally, what Howard [Ashman, Menken’s late collaborator] and I wrote actually was, ‘Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face/It’s barbaric/But hey, it’s home.’ That went fast. We thought it was funny. But I don’t think Arabic people thought it was all that funny, so that got changed. Then the word ‘barbaric’ came out. It’s a filter, you have to look at what’s happening today. Values go upside-down in a blink. It’s inevitable, you have got to take that really seriously.” (Via)
If Will Smith doesn’t sing-rap the lyrics to “Arabian Nights,” what’s the point.
Aladdin opens this Thursday night, May 23.
(Via Digital Spy)