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SYFY WIRE Guy Ritchie

Guy Ritchie explains how fresh Aladdin tracks will reflect the modern day

By Trent Moore
Aladdin Will Smith

Sure, Disney’s Aladdin was always set thousands of years in the past — but a whole lot has also changed since the release of the animated classic 26 years ago. So, how will the live action remake reconcile all that? Director Guy Ritchie says that’s where the new tunes come in.

Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes, Snatch) told Entertainment Weekly he’s well aware fans are attached to the original soundtrack, and he promises that will still be “part of the DNA,” adding he made a point not to “stray from the original stuff.” Which makes sense, because tracks like “Friend Like Me” and “A Whole New World” still hold up pretty well. But, as for the story itself, Ritchie said they’ve made a point to update it a bit for the modern age. To that end, they’ve added a few songs to the line-up to help tell that new part of the story, as the world has “marginally shifted” since the animated film was released.

“We’re 26 years later, the world moves on, so there is a shift, which is just an unavoidable aspect of time,” he said. “But essentially the soundtrack’s the same, just somewhat embellished with a couple of new tunes in it.”

The recent full trailer for the live action remake showed off more of the original tunes, as well as how they’ll be adapted (fairly faithfully) from the dances and beats of the original film. Star Will Smith, who plays the Genie, also told EW he worked painstakingly on putting a fresh twist on “Friend Like Me,” an iconic tune from the film brought to life by the late Robin Williams. Smith likened it to an “homage” that still keeps with the flavor of the character, but is different enough it won’t “compete” with the version fans know and love.

Aladdin opens May 24. The film stars Smith, Naomi Scott, Mena Massoud, Nasim Pedrad, and Alan Tudyk.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)