I've learned a new truth about myself recently, and it's that "Aladdin" speaks to my soul.
Don't get me wrong, I love every Disney film wholeheartedly, but seeing "Aladdin: The Musical" and Disney's live-action remake in the same year apparently sparked some Arabian Nights awakening for me. I don't know if it's the music or the wit or the way Abu wears his little hat, but "Aladdin" really does it for me. And with reports circulating that head honchos over at Disney are seriously considering a live-action sequel, well -- twist my arm.
So, naturally, watching the remake wowed me, and I quietly sang along to myself in the theater while Mena Massoud (Aladdin) and Naomi Scott (Jasmine, and also my latest girl crush) belted out the familiar tunes. I wasn't thinking about all the special effects that went into the remake -- well, maybe I was a little curious about CGI Will Smith -- but instead found myself completely sucked in.
Now, though, a behind-the-scenes look at exactly how the cast and crew simulated the flying magic carpet during the "A Whole New World" scene has surfaced, and it's of course a lot less magical than the end result.
While narrating the video, Massoud detailed how he and Scott were required to climb up 15 feet into the air and perch on top of a moving rig. After being literally tied down so they "wouldn't go flying" (I may be the only one to appreciate that pun), they were situated in front of a
green blue screen and an entire camera crew with just two LED screens displaying an aerial, nighttime city scene as their "ambiance." The rest came from their imagination -- which they pulled off beautifully, obviously.
The whole set-up with the rig and everything wasn't shocking to me, but what did amaze me was how invested I still was in the few seconds of acting the behind-the-scenes clip showed. Like I said, I was captivated in the movie theater watching what became of that rig and LED screens, but this quick moment of Massoud singing to Scott, even surrounded by machinery, overhead lights and giant, moving cameras, still gave me chills.
Maybe I'm just a sucker for a cute couple and a catchy melody, I don't know, but this just goes to show me -- especially in the wake of the animation feat that is "The Lion King" -- that Disney's affinity for creating magic goes beyond the special effects.