Who doesn't like Aladdin? Seriously, anyone? It is considered by many to be one of Disney's best up there with other classics from their "renaissance" like The Little Mermaid or The Lion King. It is a great combination of classic fantasy and pop culture spewing comedy akin to the Shrek movies. However after recently re-watching it, I found out like many other Disney films that Aladdin actually has a moral lesson. One so subtle that I didn't get it until I was nearly an adult. It's kind of disturbing actually that I really liked this movie as a kid yet I never realized what this film was trying to teach me: that if I simply want something, then I will get it.
Now go with me on this. I don't accuse the film makers for purposefully making the film's lesson about life being handed to us on a silver platter. But I do believe that is the end result. And here's why I think that.
Evidence 1#: Aladdin gets Jasmine
Let's face facts. Aladdin should not look that good. He has been spending most of his life on the streets, possibly being near all sorts of unsanitary places, and most likely should have muscle atrophy due to the fact that he hasn't eaten a lot. Yet he still looks like a male model. Even though Genie is unable to grant love from another person, Aladdin still gains the affections of this princess. Once again, pretty unrealistic. Jasmine-even though she is very kind- I bet has very high standards. And a man with nothing to his name wouldn't get that kind of affection from a girl like her. Brotherly affection at best. Probably not even that considering that he lied to her about who he really was.
I am sorry but it is-in my opinion-the most realistic outcome. Wouldn't that have been a better ending for the film anyways? Aladdin is unable to gain Jasmine's love whether it be through his own ways or with Genie's help so he has to come to grips with the fact that sometimes you can't always get what you want. Speaking of the princess.
Evidence 2#: Jasmine gets her freedom
Another sad but true fact about the time period Aladdin is set in, is that women were treated like crap. Now there were many different cultures and places out there that I am sure supported female rights ,but for the most part women were under unbelievably strict rules. This is the case here since Jasmine is being forced to marry a suitor so that someone will eventually take the role of Sultan. Back then, the bride-and sometimes the bridegroom- had no real say in whom they married. Yet Jasmine believes otherwise.
That's precious. You think someone in your time period would give a number 2 about how you feel. Yet she still gets the ability to choose whom she wants to marry at the end. Why? Because it's the ending of the film and we need to keep it happy so all the good guys get what they want. Speaking of only the good guys getting what they want.
Evidence 3#: Jafar loses
Jafar is honestly one of my favorite Disney villains. He is quiet, scheming, diabolical, hysterically evil and a total genius. Yet he is only an adviser to the Sultan-who is a complete moron.
Sultan, I love you but you have no idea what you are doing. Honestly, how is Agrabah not in total ruins right now either economically or through some sort of outside military force? Jafar-though evil-has much more competence in terms of running a country. Yeah, he is selfish but so are the other characters in this movie (okay maybe not the rug). I personally feel like he was just a guy who had all sorts of talent but had to deal with the bumbling Sultan so much that years of bitterness and anger built up inside of him. But you may ask "What does this have to do with the idea that everyone gets what they want? Doesn't the fact that Jafar lose prove that the movie isn't about how everyone gets what they want?" And most of you who hate me for making this article are probably doing this right now because of that point.
Don't worry, I am not done ruining your childhood just yet. As I stated earlier, Jafar is actually very talented as we see that he is clever, can make great disguises and knows quite a bit about how to use magic (how else would Iago be able to talk?). He works hard to gain position and authority in the land. Yet that's not the case with every other character. Aladdin just comes across the lamp which took Jafar years to find and the Sultan has undeservedly earned the highest position in his country's government. Add that to the fact that Jasmine-out of nowhere-is just given the right to marry and all of the main characters haven't worked at all for all the rewards they are getting. That's right. The lesson isn't just that if I want something then I can have it. If I want something, I can not only get it but I can earn it without any hard work.
Yeah Aladdin is teaching our kids that laziness reaps rewards! Wanna kill me yet?
Okay look, this new perspective isn't going to stop me from loving this film. It's a wonderful musical and a great fantasy comedy up there with The Princess Bride. But this is what I honestly believe the movie is about. What did you think of Aladdin? Better yet, what did you think about what I had to say? Did you agree with me or do you just wanna slit my throat now?
Either way, it's cool. Okay not with the latter but you get my point. Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!