Okay, everyone has been freaking out about the Little Mermaid recently. The question was posed (the same thing I asked at age 6 when the movie was new, btw) – why doesn’t Ariel just write things down? We clearly see Ariel sign her name on Ursula’s contract, and I used to ponder why she didn’t just grab a stick and write in the sand off the bat. However, the most logical answer is usually the right one. People, how do we know that Eric uses the same writing style as the mermen and women? Think about it, even if they spoke the same exact language, the two cultures developed separately and would have created their own unique systems for writing. TA-DA! Internet solved!
However, I just watch Aladdin with my daughter, and there are a number of glaring plot hole that I think warrant far more intrigue then why Ariel didn’t pick up a pen in her film. Lets dive in!
1) Why does the movie Aladdin start with the Genie’s lamp in the hands of a vender?
There are lots of theories on this one. The person who voiced the role is uncredited, but it’s clearly Robbin Williams (the person singing Arabian Nights, however, is not). Sure, there’s a chance that the vender is actually the Genie in human disguise, but that doesn’t make a lot of sense. It sort of implies that the lamp has no value now that the genie is free, yet, in all later incarnations of Aladdin (the TV show, Return of Jafar, Aladdin and the King of Thieves) we’re repeatedly shown that Genie still lives there. So, what’s the deal? Does Genie have to hawk cheap wares to make a living now that he’s not all powerful? Well, no, because he could “poof” himself a house and food any time he wanted, as he retained all of his magical powers. Was his lamp stolen? Hard to say, but it’s definitely another story in and of itself. Although, I do recall an episode of the series where Genie’s lamp was stolen, and he was in a huff to go find it, carrying on about how wrong it is to steal someone’s home. So then, since the vender knows the whole story of Aladdin, is he, in fact, the Genie just wandering around, aimless and lonely now? That might be the sad, simple reality of his life after Aladdin is long gone… T_T All I know is that the vender does not reappear at the end, making him a very useless framing device for the film.
2) The Cave of Wonders declares that only “one may enter.” Except for you Abu, you can come in too!
Please tell me I’m not the only one that caught this? Sure, perhaps Abu, being a monkey and all, doesn’t count – but then why could Abu, a simple-minded animal, likewise be able to violate the “touch nothing but the lamp” clause?
3) Speaking of the “touch nothing but the lamp” stipulation – we all saw them touching Carpet long before the cave has a meltdown, right?
Abu steps right on him two seconds into the cave, then Carpet trolls Abu, then they’ll all buddies. But, if the Carpet doesn’t count as a treasure that should not be touched, I think the cave is really underestimating the value of a flying rug.
4) What was the point of Jafar trying to kill Aladdin after he claimed the lamp?
Sure, he’s pure evil and all, but what was the point of wasting that kind of effort? What was Aladdin going to do, stop him? He had the flipping lamp, he could have become Sultan, then a Sorcerer, then done whatever else and gone about his merry way before Aladdin even mentally caught up with the situation. And, dude, the kid DID just give you all that power. Since you’re dethrowning the Sultan and Princess anyways, maybe you could give Aladdin some rubies and let him have a shot with the now broke princess. Just seems petty to kill him is all…
5) What was Price Ali the prince of?
He had no title other than prince, he had no kingdom, he had no land. How did the Sultan know that he was a real prince and not a street urchin pulling an elaborate con? Or did the Sultan just not care at that point? Lets face it, the Middle Eastern world was not THAT BIG, especially in the 500 AD era (when Aladdin is roughly set). You ask a boy who his parents are, or where his kingdom is, and you are going to know who they’re talking about, because there’s only like five other kingdoms in the world at this stage in history! Even back then, there were wealthy people who had a lot of belongings, and there was royalty, so who is not checking that this random kid is in compliance with the law?
And I get that Aladdin wouldn’t think twice about this, since he doesn’t know anything outside of Argrabah, but Genie (who exists outside of relative time and space – he’s essentially Dr. Who) was worldly enough to realized that you can’t just be the Prince of Thin Air! Invent a back-story, man! That should be part of the wish to be a certified prince!
6) Why in the world do the guards work for Jafar?
“Hey, there’s a visiting prince in the castle, I want you to kill him,” said Jafar.
“Oh boy, oh boy, you betcha!” said the Captain of the Guard.
What?! I get that guards are not supposed to question orders, and Jafar was in charge of peacekeeping, but when someone tells you to kill a prince, don’t you think someone might question that command and take that issue up the ladder to the Sultan? And, look carefully, the guards are not enchanted with Jafar’s snake staff – they are totally into being jerks! Alright, lets just start a war here by killing off a royal visitor…
Side note: isn’t this the same jerk that didn’t recognize his princess in the Market Place and literally threw her to the floor? How is his head not on a platter, or at the very least banished from the castle? No one can trust a guard that doesn’t know who his chain of command is, and, last I checked, princess outranks adviser.
7) So Ali turns out to be merely Aladdin.
And…? Jasmine acts so shocked, but did he not just sort-of cover that he had an alter-ego that goes shopping in the market place? Heck, that is the same outfit they met in! Even though the prince-hood was a lie, how does Jasmine have the mental context to know that Jafar isn’t messing with her more? He did just put her father in his underwear and move the castle on top of a mountain, after all, why wouldn’t he lie about who Aladdin is?
8) Why does the endowment of “Prince” wear off?
Really, it was Aladdin’s first wish, and I don’t see how Jafar changing his clothes back to normal erases that wish. It’s like, if you download a game on the iPhone, and your phone crashes and wipes out all the data – you just go back into the App Store and redownload it for free. How do wishes not work like that? Aladdin never wishes Genie to un-make him a prince, and Jafar really did nothing by way of titles and possessions (although, Aladdin’s swag also mysteriously vanishes with no explanation – what new Sultan doesn’t need forty golden camels?).
So then, if Aladdin was outed as a pauper, then that was the extent of Jafar’s damage to that wish. It was all verbal damage (minus the cost of the Ali duds). Genie tells Aladdin to use his third wish to make himself a prince again – but, unless Genie is peddling inferior wishes that can be undone by second-rate sorcerers, that shouldn’t be an issue. After all, if Jafar was THAT powerful at that point in the film, the “make me a genie” ending wouldn’t really have worked, would it? And, either way, wouldn’t everyone just know he’s a fraud now, which would null and void his standing anyways? So what good would re-wishing himself a prince do without a memory wipe to all of Agrabah?
9) Maybe Jasmine could rub the lamp?
Okay, lets say Jafar was able to make Aladdin a Street Rat again, and a wish was the only fix to allow he and Jasmine to legally marry. Uhh, obvious solution – let Jasmine rub the lamp! Maybe she would have wished Aladdin back into Prince Ali and then ended poverty in her kingdom. I mean, we see a LOT of homeless kids running around hungry in this film, and we don’t see the streets for very long. What if Jasmine even used her third wish to make sure Agrabah could never be harmed by any supernatural or human forces again? She could have come into power making her kingdom well fed, peaceful, happy, harmonious, plus get a prince to marry – and THEN Aladdin could have wished the Genie free (since Jafar used his wishes between Aladdin owning the lamp, this fits into the continuity that Jasmine could make wishes before Aladdin has to make his third wish) – but, nah, man, don’t let the girl touch the lamp, she got her a man, what else could she possibly need? No, lets not think ten seconds past our personal feelings to help those that we struggled with our entire life! Come on Aladdin!
10) The whole film highlights being trapped.
Think about it: Jasmine is trapped by her royal obligations. Aladdin is trapped by his poverty. Genie is trapped by his servitude. Jafar literally gets trapped by his greed. But, is any of this internal unrest really addressed in the film? Aladdin becomes rich, thus not being trapped in poverty any longer. Oh, but now he’s trapped with the burden of running a kingdom – something he knows nothing about and seemed to cripple him with fear in a number of scenes. Yeah, I bet that stress will be great on a new marriage, too!
Genie gets freed, but, in the long-term (outside of this film) we find out that he still lives in the lamp, he still hangs around with Aladdin, and he’s still granting wishes unofficially. So, even though he gains freedom and could go do other things, he’s still trapped by being alone in this world. 10,000 years in the lamp doesn’t offer a lot of surviving friends to go visit.
And Jasmine – does anything even change for her? She still has to get married, and even though it’s three days until her next birthday, and her father only changed the stipulation of WHO she could marry, not WHEN (which ended up being a lengthy TV series and two films later until their wedding occurs – wowzers, that was a long three days!). But, Jasmine is still confined by her obligations as a princess. The only difference is that she found someone she’d like to marry (or so she thinks, they really know each other about as well as Anna and Hans), but her situation overall is the same.
Clearly, the crew of this film were fans of Swiss Cheese – because they left plot holes all over this story!