It’s what you’ve dreamt of since you were a little girl: a broke dude with a bit of magic coming into your life and lying to you and your family in an effort to get close to you and your wealth. No? Well, that’s the plot of Disney’s Aladdin. Aladdin is a classic come-up tale. You see, as averse as our society is to gold diggers, sugar babies, and/or sex workers, that’s ultimately exactly what he is.
Aladdin (Scott Weinger-speaking, Brad Kane- singing) is a homeless thief who wanders the streets of Agrabah with Abu (Frank Welker), the pet monkey whom he’s trained to pick pockets, pilfering in order to eat on a daily basis and trying to avoid detection lest they have their hands cut off or worse.
When Aladdin runs into Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin- speaking, Lea Salonga- singing), it’s love at first sight, though I’m not sure whether he fell for her beauty, or the opportunity for a free meal. The Princess, who was trying to escape the monotony of the castle and her endless parade of suitors, is taken back home and Aladdin and Abu are throw into the Cave of Wonders, by the Sultan’s Grand Vizier, Jafar (Jonathan Freeman), whom Jasmine’s father is too incompetently naive and self-absorbed to realize is openly lusting after his teen daughter.
When things get chaotic, Aladdin frees a magical genie trapped in his lamp and uses one of the three wishes he’s gained to wish for his rescue. Once out, Aladdin promises to use the final wish to grant Genie (Robin Williams- speaking, Bruce Alder- singing) his freedom and release him from a life of bondage and servitude. As Aladdin manages to convincingly pass himself off as Prince Ali of Ababwa, so that he has a chance at marrying Jasmine, we find out that he is an equal opportunity liar who’s cool with Genie remaining enslaved for eternity so that he can continue on with his charade. He meant what he said about releasing Genie at the time, at least that’s what we’re led to believe, but now having a slave has just become too damn convenient. #sideeye
As waters grow more dangerous, this myopic little hustler realizes that he’s running with the big dogs now, and Jafar raises the stakes, it’s up to Aladdin to save Jasmine, his meal ticket, I mean his one true love. The slave that he royally screwed over is then forced to save him.
Would Aladdin have told Jasmine the truth before their marriage, had his hand not been forced? Would Jafar have gone full predator without the Genie having brought Aladdin back into Jasmine’s life, and taken her father’s throne as that tiny little man absentmindedly walked to his death? We will never know. What we do know is that, as the most successful movie of 1992, Aladdin was seen by a lot of girls who internalized the message that men can’t be gold diggers, that men who plot and scheme for the attention of affluent women do so with the very best, purest intentions, and that it is only right that a man use a woman as a rung on his social ladder. Little girls were taught that even after they reveal themselves to be blatant liars, these men should be forgiven if they’re young and hot, all in the name of love.
In the end, Aladdin does rescue Jasmine (I mean, it’s not like he had anything better to do), and partakes in the ultimate come-up as Jasmine elevates him to Prince, I-doing him into a position of greater social and political power than herself, and making him her father’s heir. That’s right, folks. Instead of waiting for her daddy (Douglas Seale) to die and becoming queen, with full power and autonomy, this silly girl practically hands over her father’s wealth to Aladdin on a silver platter. I would say it was because she’s dickmatized, but this is Disney, and they never even had sex!
Don’t be like Jasmine. Or like Aladdin, for that matter. You can be a hoe, but be an honest hoe and tell the rich folks you’re dealing with your financial situation up front instead of making up fake kingdoms and shit. Like damn, at least lie sustainable lies, for fuck’s sake! Also, using a slave so you don’t have to work? That’s some colonialist bullshit if I’ve ever heard it. But this movie rewards lying, manipulative, slave-owning kleptomaniacs, and they wonder why my generation is so messed up.
But I have to give Aladdin some credit. He is ultimate sugar baby goals! This young’un finessed his way from dirt streets to silk sheets in like 2 weeks! From wearing a tired old vest to fine linen! He snagged himself a gorgeous young sugar mama and a damn title! Granted, most of the Disney Princesses started off poor, too, but it’s nice to see Disney (kind of) promote gender equal hustling! I give Aladdin 4 stars on the strength of the soundtrack alone. It was fire, we all know the lyrics to A Whole New World, and unlike Aladdin, I’m not a filthy liar. So there you go.