I think most of this film's reviewers have all got it wrong.
Yes, Robin Williams' comedic genius is marvelously on display. Yes, the animators who kept up with Williams' rapid-fire antics and those who animated the adorable magic carpet all deserve the mountains of praise they received. Yes, Princess Jasmine was anachronistic (not portrayed accurately according to the times and traditions of the film). But was it a 'will the boy get the girl' film? I don't think so.
Aladdin, himself, asks the greatest question of the story: Will anyone ever see that I'm so much more than just some street rat?
The answer is given by the sultan at the end of the film: "Today, you have demonstrated your worth." Aladdin was even qualified to be sultan!
What positive traits did Aladdin demonstrate that set him apart from the other characters in the story? Perseverance, gentleness, compassion, patience, kindness, ingenuity, common sense, gratitude, sincerity, principle, and acknowledgment of the worth of other people in both lower and higher classes than himself. And once his question had been answered and someone had seen he was more than just a street rat, he responded with modesty, humility, and joy.
Okay, yes, he was a liar and a thief. There would be no story without that. All good stories take the hero on a progression, usually a successful progression through something they must learn to win the prize at story's end (in this case the prize being Princess Jasmine). Aladdin's progression started with thieving for physical survival. By story's end he had learned the importance of honesty and integrity, even when he knew it might cost him the girl he loved. "The diamond in the rough" had begun to be polished--and isn't that something we all long for?
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(c) 2011 Christine Hunt.
For over 35 years, Christine Hunt has been Bible teacher and storyteller, worship leader and home educator, writer, editor, publisher, and film reviewer at www.GoodNewsFilmReviews.com.
Learn story structure & God's place for story at www.YouAreWhatYouSee.com.
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