Princess Jasmine sang only one song in Disney’s 1992 animated version of “Aladdin.” And it was a duet.
Sure, it was “A Whole New World,” arguably the film’s most famous song. But it wasn’t her own.
Now the headstrong princess has a lot more to say — and sing — in the live-action musical starring Will Smith, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott, who plays the Middle Eastern monarch-in-waiting.
“Speechless” is a new song written for the character. The music video featuring Scott dropped on Friday and the British Indian actress belts out the power ballad that addresses how her character was mistreated in the animated film.
“I won’t be silenced / You can’t keep me quiet / Won’t tremble when you try it / All I know is I won’t go speechless,” she sings in the video, as an orchestra backs her in the recording studio and scenes from the feature film play on.
Legendary composer and songwriter Alan Menken, who wrote music for the original film, collaborated with songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“La La Land” and “The Greatest Showman”) on the soaring power ballad. It arrives in the film much like “Let It Go” from 2013’s “Frozen” and helps redefine the character for modern audiences.
“In the original movie, as great as it is that she’s fighting for the choice of who she wants to marry, that’s where her ambition kind of stops,” Scott recently told The Times. “In this movie, she’s more ambitious and she looks outside herself. She’s trying to protect her kingdom against this evil dictator [Jafar]. It’s showcasing that you can lead and you can have love. You can have both, girls, and the two aren’t mutually exclusive.”
That certainly has parallels to Queen Elsa’s plight in “Frozen,” and her song helped the film rack up multiple Oscars, Grammys and a Golden Globe. Perhaps more important, it became the film’s catchphrase and a cultural phenomenon by securing repeat plays for any parent driving carpool. If “Speechless” can manage the latter, it’ll be no surprise that Disney managed to make lightning strike twice. Again. In the same spot.
“Speechless” is the latest offering from the live-action musical’s soundtrack. Last week, Disney debuted a new version of “A Whole New World” sung by Zayn Malik and Zhavia Ward, which plays during the film’s end credits.
Follow me: @NardineSaad