Aren’t their dreams the same?

So why is one more valid than the other? Aladdin sits in his street rat villa with an amazing view regarding the Sultan’s palace and opines: ‘Someday, Abu, things are gonna change. We’ll be rich, live in a palace, and never have any problems at all.’ We wipe a tear from our collective cheeks and nod our approval. Flynn Ryder (aka Eugene Fitzherbert) jumps on top of a bar and croons his dream consists of ‘an island that I own, tanned & rested and alone surrounded by enormous piles of money.’ But we cross our arms and assent when the hook-handed ruffian responds ‘your dream sucks.’ But why? Aren’t they the same dream after all?

Aladdin & Flynn

Aladdin and Flynn have a lot in common. Both come from poor, orphan backgrounds that led them to thievery as a means for survival. They both deceive the princess that they will later marry. They both even wear vests for goodness sakes! And both have dreams that center on a lavish lifestyle that has absolutely nothing to do with love of any other human but themselves. Sure, Flynn’s dream specifically has him on an island by himself, but there are no others mentioned in Aladdin’s fantasy either…besides his monkey.

Now, Aladdin does come around quicker to add love of an attractive lady into his happy ending so that is a definite plus for him. But Eugene sacrifices his life to free Rapunzel from the grips of Mother Gothel. That should put ole’ Eugene in lead, right? Then why do I still feel that Rapunzel could have done better if she just wouldn’t have latched on to the first man she met?  And why do I have a less unsettling feeling about Aladdin becoming Sultan than I do about Eugene becoming King…even if he had limited power under Rapunzel’s rule. Why is that? Is it just me?

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18 comments

  1. Because “Aladdin” came out in the early 90s when greed was good and we were all humping the dot com wave. Gettin’ rich was still sexy. No one had heard of Enron or the Koch brothers yet. What housing bubble?

    “Tangled” came out in 2010 after we had learned that the greedy bastards we thought we wanted to be turned out to be the villains in a horrible recession that would give birth to Occupy Wall Street and minimum wage picketing. Wanting affluence for its own sake become evil.

    Disney is not about faithful historical reference. It’s about putting butts in movie theater seats. Give the people what they want and maybe they won’t notice you’re one of the greedy bastards who is adding to the problem. $100 Disneyland tickets, anyone?

    If you really want your head to spin around like Linda Blair, look up the original, unabridged fairy- and folktales Disney loosely bases its movies on. Very rapey and murdery. Stephen King would be jealous.

    1. Thanks for the comment…and you are right on a lot of points here. I will say, I have read the old fairy tales and I am pleased with what Disney does to them…I wouldn’t want my kids watching those! Have you read Rapunzel? That one is crazy. Gouging out eyes…not a pretty sight.

      1. It’s the original Little Mermaid that freaks me out. Romantic adventure, my ass.

        Ready for more horror? I tuned into some evening drive time banter on a syndicated radio rock show where one of the hosts admitted to covering her son’s eyes during certain scenes in the new Godzilla movie. She couldn’t find a babysitter.

        The guy said, “Well, what about video games? Isn’t that just as violent?”

        She said she doesn’t let her kid watch anything with people dying. Shooting, destroying, leveling nature is okay, but no dying humans.

        His response: “Wow, you’re a really strict mom.”

        She replied, “He’s SIX!”

        Really? Godzilla? Find a babysitter, Mommy Dearest.

  2. See, I’d go for Eugene over Aladdin every time. But possibly that says more about my bad taste in men than it does about Disney’s drawing (no pun intended, ok, maybe a little bit intended) of their male leads.

    1. I have found that is the case with most girls. I think some of that has to do with the fact that Eugene is better looking than Aladdin….and girls like bad boys. *sigh* Now you got me thinking about when my 4 year old daughter starts dating…need to get her to like the good guys not the bad ones…thanks a lot! 😉

      1. A friend’s 6-year-old’s dream man is Darth Vader. She has an Anakin/Darth doll and is obsessed. Just a tad worrying.
        At least both Aladdin and Eugene have a bit of character, a talent for witty one-liners and ultimately good hearts. Better than early Disney heroes, up to around the ridiculously clueless Prince Eric. People complain about how vacuous Disney Princesses are, but Snow White’s beau didn’t even have a name.
        And what of Hans? He was just the same as Aladdin/Eugene – just out to increase his fortune, albeit from a better position of wealth and status – but he properly WAS a bastard, despite being good-looking and apparently kind. I LOVED that Disney did that. Hopefully it’ll help your daughter avoid the bad-guys-pretending-to-be-nice too.
        I absolutely ADORE your blog, btw. Keep over-analysing. It’s keeping me sane with the endless plays of Disney DVD.

        1. Yeah, Hans got the short straw. I don’t think he is that bad. Even if he would have kissed Anna, it wouldn’t have helped so he was not responsible for her death if she died. And killing Elsa…I think that was right on if you saw my Snow Monster post. I think the country would probably have been safer with Hans vs. Elsa at the helm.

          And thanks for the compliment. They really mean a lot!

    2. I don’t think so…I feel the same. Because unlike Aladdin, Eugene is not a notorious liar towards the woman he loves. From the camp fire scene onwards he is the most considerate partner one can imagine. He does everything to ensure that Rapunzel has a special night, even though he risks everything just by being in town and would be better off if he just told her to go alone and meet him out of town afterwards. He risks everything for her even though none of the mess Rapunzel is in is in any way his fault (while Aladdin basically fixes what he himself has broken). He actually listens to Rapunzel’s dreams (Aladdin somehow misses Jasmine’s even though she tells him in great detail during their very first meeting…it is kind of insulting that he believes that she is that shallow). And in the end, he gives up his life….not “risking his life” like most princes do, no he gives his up. What is more heroic, risking your life for the woman you love because you don’t want to lose her and want to have a happy life with her, or giving up your life in order to set your love free so that she can have a happy life without you?

      As it stands, I think Eugene, Prince Phillip and Shang are definitely the best boyfriend material between the princes Disney had to offer. The others are either not fleshed out enough or more or less the opposite of what a sane girl should go for (especially Naveen).

  3. I think Eugene has a lot more personality than Aladdin, so he comes off as more invested in his dream. He has more of a presence, more of a tangible desire for his island alone, whereas Aladdin comes off very innocent and just more starstruck than greedy. Recent Disney movies have a very different style of characterization, and to me the new characters come off more like real people while the old movies have more fairy-tale characterizations where a character is mostly defined by just a few qualities (and mostly positive ones). It’s been a while since I’ve seen Aladdin though, I don’t want to say anything too definitive!

  4. Not to over-simplify the post–I do agree Aladdin and Eugene share a lot in common–but Aladdin wanted to be rich so he could stop stealing. Eugene was stealing so he could be rich.

    1. Also, Aladdin is introduced as a character who cares about other people – which went right out of the window as soon as he had money and power. Suddenly he only cared about himself (if I were Abu, I would be pissed off about getting turned into an elephant, and didn’t Aladdin one thought what would happen to all the people and animals in his parade as soon as they weren’t needed anymore?). In short, money spoiled his character, though he eventually saw his wrongdoings and gave up the notion of power.
      Flynn on the other hand is introduced as a character who pretends to care about nobody and just wants to be alone…but then the movie proceeds and we discover under the mask of Flynn “Eugene”, the little orphan who told the other children stories and apparently did care at one point, he just didn’t believe that anyone cared about him. When Rapunzel does, he more or less immediately does everything for her and gives up all notions at richness. In short, unlike Aladdin, he doesn’t throw away friendship and love in favour for riches…the moment someone offers him both, he gives up on riches. Ironically he eventually gets a palace on an island plus friendship and love, but there is no question that for him the latter one were always what he really wanted, no matter how much he told himself that money was his goal.
      Aladdin tells himself that he wants money to be better than the people who have money…but it turns out that he mostly wants the money for himself, even though he eventually rejects it after a hard lesson learned. Eugene tells himself that he wants the money for himself, but it turns out that he actually wants to be the heroic Flynn Rider, adventurer and helper of the ones who can’t help themselves.

  5. Eugene is the man to be respected between the two. Eugene created an alternate ego for himself to give him the confidence he never had to encourage his dream. As shallow as it may have been, he was taking the steps he thought necessary to achieve his dream and was working towards it. Aladdin was content living in the slums and befriending a monkey to have a partner in crime with no real ambition at coming out of his current caste status. To say he helps out a hungry child means Aladdin cares for others is giving him too much credit. He should be setting an example for that child and instead of giving him something he stole himself one time, and work hard at a real job so he could help others with hunger consistently–that would tell me he cares not only for himself but others as well. Also, Aladdin knew who the princess was before he fell in love with her. He fell in love with the idea of what Jasmine’s status could bring him, not to mention her crop top and being easy on the eyes made it that much easier for him to think he had fallen in love with her. Eugene, however, had no idea He stumbled upon the lost princess until after he expressed his feelings towards her, out loud. But we see his actions of caring for her throughout their trip to the lights. He agreed to help some random, trapped girl along the way listening to her battle her emotions for leaving Mother Gothel and her tower for the first time, even though he is uncomfortable and doesn’t like it. He worked hard to scare her back into her tower at first but then worked hard to save the princess when they were discovered at the bar, trapped in a cave, and when he went to return the crown to the twin ruffians because he realized true love meant more than the riches he was chasing after. Eugene should be praised for his work ethic and selfless actions throughout the film and for not only finding, but freeing the lost princess from her bondage. That to me is the kind of man I would want to run my country. Not someone who has accepted his slum lifestyle and pursues his first easy way out with the royal family.

  6. Nice article! I was thinking along the same lines. You didn’t take in account the princesses themselves. Rapunzel is more of a victim than Yasmin is. Sure she is a princess, but she hasn’t been belittled and isolated by her parents her whole life as Rapunzel was. I firmly believe that both Rapunzel and Yasmin could do much better. But in Tangled we have no context. We don’t know about any other suitors. Yasmin has had her share of bad suitors so Alladin seems to be the least worst option. Rapunzel hasnt met anyone yet so we don’t know if Eugene is the best option. Maybe these things are what fuels your thoughts. Not the men themselves.
    I would not want to have any of them as king. King, because we don’t know Coronian law. Maybe the position of prince consort doesn’t exist there. It hasn’t existed in our world before queen Liz I.

    My opinion is that Eugene is a better, stronger person than Alladin. He is older and more worldly and he doesn’t have a genie. In fact the only magical being he comes in contact with has to be constantly watched and saved.

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