I always try to add a touch of sarcasm & wit on this blog, but the news I just read has made me place that on hold for this post. I just read that Robin Williams has died. I am not trying to capitalize on this tragedy or ‘break this news,’ I am merely trying to give a little salute to this Disney icon. When I first saw Aladdin, I wanted to be Robin Williams. His voices, comedic timing and pure insanity amazed me and inspired me to embrace my inner goof and pursue theater. The Genie will remain one of my favorite Disney characters of all time. He will be missed.
Remember the opening scene of Aladdin where he is chased mercilessly by the palace guards for stealing a loaf of bread? Or when he is arrested by the same guards who also brazenly disobey direct orders from the Princess? Or the time they grab the foreign dignitary & potential suitor visiting the palace and try to drown him? What about when the Sultan & the Princess are enslaved by a former adviser and they are conspicuously absent from the rescue party? I bet you remember. I bet someone else probably remembers too: Aladdin. Yet he allows each and everyone of this seedy bunch to remain the primary protectors of the kingdom. How could you trust this group? I’m sure he probably tells himself they were just ‘following orders,’ but that brings into question where their loyalty lies. If it were me, I would have seen if there was any room for a few more guests in Jafar’s lamp before the Genie chucked it into the Cave of Wonders. It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s atonement.
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 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?
I think we can all agree that the Sultan just might be the worst father ever. It’s obvious that he is a terrible judge of character (ie. Top Advisor = Jafar), but did you notice how quickly he gives away his daughter to a complete stranger? Granted he has been frustrated by her inability to choose a mate thus far yet does that make his decision any less terrible? I mean, a guy comes in on an elephant from who knows where and he is ready to pawn off his daughter for a magic carpet ride? Come on man!
And Jafar is the one who questions Prince Ali’s credentials…of course he had ulterior motives but shouldn’t Jasmine’s father be the one doing the detective work? Who knows who this ‘prince’ really is after all…he could not be a prince at all…he could be a homeless guy pulling off an elaborate hoax with the help of a half naked blue man…far stranger things have happened right? For shame Sultan. Maybe Allah should have forbid you should have any daughters. Sheesh.
And don’t get me started on having a full grown tiger as a pet. Why don’t we ask Roy how that worked out? Too soon?