Aladdin

Time once again to talk about disney movies!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. How can I go on and on about how much I love disney, and then I proceed to make another article, nitpicking classic disney movies, effectively smashing our collective childhoods with a sledgehammer?

Well, my answer is very simple.

It’s Disney.

And I don’t mean that as in “It’s Disney, so it’s fair game”. I mean that there is literally nothing I could possibly say or do to ruin those beloved childhood classics.

After all, Disney was here before me and will probably be around after I’m gone. After almost a century of entertaining people, do you seriously think I could affect the adoration people have for Disney with a nitpicky article?

If so, I appreciate your faith in my abilities, but I assure you, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at Aladdin.

Before I start in earnest, much like Beauty and the Beast, there is one issue with the movie I will not discuss here. I don’t know when exactly I will, but I can promise you it will come somewhere down the road.

So, what is there to talk about with this movie?

Well, let’s start off with something simple. Specifically, the opening song.

Most of you will certainly know that the lyrics for the song were changed. Now, I have a small issue with this change.

Of course, my issue is NOT the changing of the lyrics in and of itself. It’s not a matter of “This is an iconic part of my childhood! How dare they change it!

See, people got offended at the implication that if you go to the middle east, you will be mutilated for no good reason. I think you’ll agree that is a fairly legitimate justification to make alterations.

And if you’re going to scream about Political Correctness gone mad, just remember… Disney is not just a beloved entertainer of children. They’re also a corporation. I’m not an expert at marketing, but somehow, calling millions of people backwards savages in a multimillion dollar movie is not exactly a good way to make people like you. It’s not like the entire movie is now ruined because of one changed line. So no, I don’t blame them for changing the lyrics.

No, my issue is just that they did such a poor job at it.

I mean, let’s look at the two lines

The original

I come from a land, from a faraway place,
Where the caravan camels roam.
Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face
It’s barbaric but hey, it’s home.

And compare it to the newer version

I come from a land, from a faraway place,
Where the caravan camels roam.
Where it’s flat and immense, and the heat is intense.
It’s barbaric but hey, it’s home.

Do you see the problem? They ruined the rhyme scheme! Instead of an A-B-A-B structure, with Place and Face rhyming, we got A-B-CC-B!

I mean, these are paid song writers! You couldn’t change the lyrics in any other way?

Just go to any rhyming dictionary and look up words rhyming with “place”. It’s not exactly hard. Don’t believe me? Look at this.

I come from a land, from a faraway place,
Where the caravan camels roam.
Where the hot desert sand rips the skin from your face
It’s barbaric but hey, it’s home.

That literally took me two minutes to come up with. I admit, it’s not perfect, but at least the rhyme is still there!

But that’s just a small nitpick. Now, let’s get serious.

Let’s talk a little about Princess Jasmine. First of all, if her father is a Sultan, should she really be a “Princess”? I’m not an expert on the appropriate terms, but I think the closest term would be “shahzade”.

(If that is also the wrong term, I apologize.)

Of course, I’m just speaking in regards of internal logic. I completely understand that they refer to her as “Princess” for the sake of the narrative. Let’s face it, how many of you even knew the title Shahzade existed before you read it just now? If they referred to her as Shahzade Jasmine, every kid watching the movie would probably assume the title was her first name.

However, later she tells Jafar that the good thing about being married is that “when [she] is queen, she will have the power to get rid of [him]“.

Now, THERE, I have to object. To call her “Princess” for the sake of clarity is one thing, but she will NOT become Queen. She will become Sultana!

And yes, it’s actually Jasmine in line for the throne, and not Aladdin. All the marriage should mean is that she will be eligible to eventually take the throne. But why do that, when we can give the title to Aladdin? It’s a good thing that in Agrabah, concepts like “line of succesion” is just something that happens to other people…

Anyway…

Jasmines whole reason for running away, which leads to her meeting Aladdin, is because of a non-specific law claiming she must marry a prince before her next birthday. The instigating factor for the love affair is that her father is a stickler for traditions (in the words of the broadway play)…

Except for the part where she doesn’t have to wear a veil and she’s allowed to CHOOSE who to marry… All things considered, it seems like the Sultan is pretty lax about the whole “traditions” thing…

Which might explain why he, at the end, decides to change the law so that the Princess may choose whoever she deems worthy. So of course, she chooses Aladdin, even though he’s not a prince.

Which brings me on to something that has bugged me for years about this movie.

That being… it seems a bit confused about its message…

See, a big focus of the movie is that Aladdin is lying by pretending to be a prince, when in reality he’s not. The Genie at one point tells him to tell Jasmine the truth, and Aladdin rejects the idea.

There’s even an visual cue about it, with the plume on Aladdins turban falling in front of his face when he lies. It would actually be a great message about being honest or to believe in yourself.

Except, of course, for two small things. Firstly, that it’s not lying that screws things up for him… Lying got him a girlfriend. He was then thrown in the sea by corrupt guards. And that wasn’t so much for pretending to be a prince as it was being in Jafars way.

When caught in his own lie, he kept lying. But again, that’s not what screwed things up for him. It was to forget to bring the lamp with him when talking to Jasmine.

I don’t want to seem cynical, but it seems to me that the movie says lying sometimes is a very good idea. Granted, he does feel guilty about lying, deciding to tell the truth. Which, if we’re sticking with the cynical viewpoint, says “Lying is fine, so long as you can live with yourself”.

And of course, there’s the second issue. Namely that he isn’t lying!

Do you remember the wish?

Genie, l wish for you to make me a prince.

He didn’t wish for the Genie to make him LOOK like a prince!

I mean, what was the point of the wish, if the Genie didn’t make him a REAL prince?! How “phenomenal” are those “cosmic powers” if all they do is change your damn wardrobe?! Where is his nation? Where is his palace? If he doesn’t actually have any power, then how can you claim you fulfilled his wish, you baby-blue bastard!?

Speaking of the Genie, he does the same thing with Jafar! The wish was to become Sultan, and all the Genie did was change his clothes and put the palace on a hill!

THAT IS NOT HOW GOVERNMENT WORKS!

Then again… Jafar somehow unmakes Aladdins wish by just changing his clothes… Either the genie is crap at his job, or we’re dealing with a seriously screwed up system of government here, with clothes being the defining trait of nobility…

Anyway, I think I’ve covered most of my issues with the movie. There’s one other thing, but I’m saving it for a later date. Really, I don’t think there’s anything else to talk about with this movie.

Dave: Are you sure about that?

Oh god, no…

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