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Hidden Meaning in ALADDIN – Earthling Cinema


Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is Aladdin, a classic
Disney hit responsible for the barefoot / shirtless vest / tiny hat craze that became the defining
look for a generation. The film takes place in the land of Agrabah,
home to Earth’s booming population of primarily English-speaking Muslims, and ruled with a
cuddly fist by Sultan, the sultan. Jafar, the vice sultan, is a power-hungry
sociopath who only cares about magic lamps inside very exclusive caves. Using science, he determines that a homeless
peasant named Aladdin is the man for him. To get the lamp, not to date. Although he does have a pretty nice bod… No! It would never work. Meanwhile, Aladdin meets and instantaneously
falls in love with Princess Jasmine, who is doing an undercover boss thing to root out
unfair labor practices in the market square. Jafar has Aladdin arrested for owning and
operating a monkey without a permit, and then, pretending to be a fellow prisoner, frees
Aladdin so they can finally go on that date. Once inside the Cave of Oneders, Aladdin’s
monkey Abu touches a monkey egg, causing the cave to trap them like a monkey inside an
egg. Aladdin rubs the lamp and a Genie pops out
and does some cocaine-fueled stand-up before granting him three wishes. So he wishes to be a prince, which I guess
means the Genie creates an entire kingdom for him somewhere else? But not one for him to rule, since he’s only
a prince, so does the Genie make him a fake mom and dad to be king and queen? Unconcerned with the semantics, Aladdin parades
into town as Prince Ali A-barbara to force Jasmine on a magic carpet ride for what must
be weeks based on the amount of ground they cover. And just like that, they’re back in love city,
population them. Unfortunately, Jafar, who is clearly just
making it up as he goes along, has now decided he wants to become sultan by marrying Jasmine. So he sends Prince Ali to sleep with the fishes,
with the hope that Jasmine will break up with him when she finds out he f*cked a bunch of
fish. but the Genie uses wish #2 to keep his buddy’s dick safely in his parachute pants. To keep things moving, Jafar steals the lamp
from Aladdin and starts wishing up a storm. He turns into a giant snake, and using rudimentary
shape association, Aladdin figures it’s time to use the old noodle. He tricks Jafar into wishing to become a genie,
which seems like it should be against the rules, but whatever, it traps him. Aladdin uses his final wish to free the original
Genie, whose name is Kevin, and tells Jasmine the truth about his homelessness. She gives him some spare change and sends
him on his way. Aladdin explores the concept of freedom, which
Earthlings were obsessed with because they were trapped in only three dimensions. Many characters in the film feel inhibited
in some way. Jafar hates serving the Sultan, Aladdin is
frustrated that everyone he knows is a monkey, the Genie wants to be able to wear Hawaiian
shirts, and Jasmine’s got her whole deal. The film illustrates Jasmine’s plight using
the metaphor of a caged bird . This recurring trope appears in literature and film to symbolize
literal or metaphorical imprisonment, usually of a young woman. Or a bird. The characters believe they are limited by
who they are; thus, they constantly change their identities. Aladdin disguises himself as a prince in order
to win Jasmine some free concert tickets. Conversely, Jasmine dresses as a commoner
to get away from all the concerts they’re always having at the palace. But it is Jafar who has truly mastered the
art of obfuscation. By naming his parrot Iago, the film equates
him to one of the great manipulators in literary history: Shakespeare’s Iago, the sneaky lieutenant
who deceives Shakespeare’s Othello into murdering his own wife, Shakespeare’s Othello’s wife. However, any success gained through subterfuge
is just a temporary tattoo on the soul. Jafar can’t hang onto the lamp he acquired
under false pretences, and Jasmine sees through Aladdin’s inability to alter his face or voice
in any way. The film suggests that masquerade will produce
unsatisfactory results because it’s what’s on the inside of the human body that counts. The Cave of Oneders demonstrates this early
in the film, when it rejects the murderous thief with liver failure but accepts Aladdin,
whose organs are perfectly functional. Even as the film attempts to show that money
can’t buy me love, it ultimately reinforces the distinction between the haves and the
haven’t-anys. The film seems to suggest money is a trap,
either literally, as it is in the Cave of Oneders, or figuratively, as demonstrated
by Aladdin’s failure to impress Jasmine with his expensive hat feather. Therefore we aren’t really on board with Jafar’s
capitalist philosophy. But, in a sense, he’s right. While Aladdin’s street rat cunning enables
him to defeat Jafar, he and the princess wind up in the same predicament as before: separated
by status. Aladdin may be a “diamond in the rough,” but
that basically just makes him a lump of coal. It’s only when the sultan changes the law
that he and Jasmine are truly equalized, so as long as we can count on our leaders to
admit when they’re wrong, everything will be A-ok. For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. As-Salaam-Alaikum

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