When Disney’s Aladdin was released into theaters in 1992, it proved to be a tent pole smack in the middle of an 11 film stretch between 1989 and 1999 that has affectionately become known as the "Disney Renaissance." Now, Screen Junkies dissects the animated classic in a way only 23 years of hindsight can provide as Aladdin is the latest film served up perfectly as part of the outlet’s Honest Trailers web series.
Screen Junkies YouTube page posted the video and in just a couple of days has amassed nearly 1.5 million views. The clip takes the playful jabs that are the trademark of the innovative comedy network, while also making several salient points regarding the film’s subject matter. Honest Trailers generally chops up a film, adds some condensed, hyper-sharpened commentary, and presents a comedic Cliff Notes version in mere minutes. This Honest Trailers takes particular note of the cultural shifts that have occurred over the last two-and-a-half decades that would denote, as the video states, that the film would "would never get made today."
The video starts by asserting that Disney is "not exactly known for tastefully handling other culture’s stories," and showing a clip from the film of a giant, stereotypical Ali Baba-looking type wielding his machete and threatening to lop the arm off of a poor village girl who was caught stealing, and must pay the penance as dictated by "strict Sharia law," alluding to the modern day tensions in the Middle East that have been heightened since 9/11 and the subsequent series of events that have given way to extremists who act out violently in the name of Islam. While the video makes no further commentary on the sociopolitical nature of Mid-East relations, the subtlety in these lines alone allows the informed viewer to draw their own conclusions.
From there, the Honest Trailers video dips into the stereotypical young, dumb, and… in love impulsiveness and superficial angst of teenage romance, pointing out that Aladdin, a poor thief, chooses to lie in an effort to try an impress the scantily clad Princess Jasmine, as well as skewering Jas’ "first-world problem" of not wanting to be a princess. The Screen Junkies crew aptly point out Aladdin’s lack of nipples, as well as Jasmine’s overly trusting nature toward a boy who is "trying to get into her MC Hammer pants." (One of the best lines in the video, by the way.)
The video reaches a little bit after pointing out that Aladdin’s penance for pathological lying is "getting everything he wanted" when it turns its sights toward the conceit that Genie (Robin Williams) was doing impressions of people -- namely Groucho Marx, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rodney Dangerfield, Jack Nicholson, and Peter Lorre -- who "weren’t born for hundreds of years yet," an amusing observation, even if inconsequential, as well as pointing out the obligatory connection between Gilbert Gottfried’s Iago with perhaps his most famous role, the AFLAC duck.
Oh… and for good measure, as if Princess Jasmine’s midriff isn’t suggestive enough for the young’uns, the video’s most stark point is made at the end, when we are reminded that in the film, Jasmine is only 15-years-old. Aladdin is 18. Eww.
Overall, Honest Trailers' roasting of Aladdin earned its viral spread, if only on the strength of the remade songs, sang and produced with the same obvious care and effort as the originals. Screen Junkies takes their Honest Trailers seriously, and the result this time around is hilarious.