2) An inconsistent character We meet Jasmine wondering innocently through the marketplace as in the animated version. She sees some hungry kids and hands them bread from a food stall. She doesn't have money to pay for the food and is surprised by the owner's anger at this stealing. We think, "Aw, the poor, sheltered princess grew up where everything belonged to her father and she could do what she wanted with it. We can excuse her stealing as pure ignorance. She meant well." Now, we have live-action Jasmine, who does this "innocent" stealing, but then later tells us how she's been training to be sultan all her life and has read books. (She's only been out of the palace once, but she has read books.) She feels she'll be a great sultan. Explain how someone in training to be sultan doesn't understand personal property and stealing? She's either inconsistent as a character ("old" Jasmine and "new" Jasmine intermixed) or simply doesn't consider it stealing when she takes something she isn't willing or able to pay for. She's mad when she thinks Aladdin has stolen a bracelet that belonged to her mother. Taking a sentimental trinket is apparently a crime but taking a man's goods--the stuff that earns him money to feed himself and his family--isn't? Or are we supposed to say it's okay because the kids were hungry (were they starving or wanting a snack, because I get hungry between meals) and the stall owner was mean? Since when did the owner's likably determine whether an act was stealing or not?
3) Morals Unworthy of Fairytales Fairytales are supposed to teach good morals. Be kind, be honest, be honorable, don't be deceived by appearances, and so on. What I'm getting from new Jasmine is that it's okay to steal from mean people--they're just selfish, after all, and have no right to their own property; that if you don't agree with me, you're not listening to me; and that passion and confidence are all that's required to be whatever you want to be. It's great that Jasmine wants to help people, but she doesn't even know what she doesn't know. She's on the level of those people on American Idol who're convinced they can sing but can't. Passion and confidence aren't enough. Respect and positions of influence and power should be earned, worked for over time (usually well into adulthood), and not taken lightly. They require maturity and humility. Granted, not everyone is going to get the same take aways as I do, but they're probably not thinking too much about what's really being said either, simply enjoying the overall story, for better or worse.
A month or so ago, I watched DC's Aquaman. The tattooed, long-haired Aquaman (Arthur) is a bit different from my typical heroes, but I really liked and respected him. One reason is because he's humble. Not an insecure, untalented weakling. Just humble. He knows what he's good at ("I'm a blunt instrument, and I'm good at it") from experience and others's comments. He's been out in the world and knows a thing or two. He knows his limits. He has the sense and maturity to know that ruling a kingdom isn't easy. Despite his training and the encouragement of knowledgeable people (like an advisor to kings and Princess Mera), he feels inadequate. That humility helped him win the day. I'll take Aquaman's sense and humility over Jasmine's ignorance and arrogance confidence any day.
As a writer, it's our responsibility to not only write great stories, with proper theme and character development, but to be careful what messages we are sharing. Tacking on a theme instead of sticking with the story's real theme can have unintended consequences. (And can really annoy certain types of readers/viewers.)
Have you seen Aladdin and Aquaman? What did you think of them? Does it bother you if extraneous themes are added on to push whatever is popular at the time or do you not care so long as the overall story is good?