Aladdin - 2019
Age-appropriateness: Rebellious behavior (stealing, lying). Some scary sequences.
Overview: A man finds a magic lamp that has the power to make his deepest wishes come true. Aladdin shows the downside of both perpetual lying and a lust for power. If your child has trouble telling the truth, it’s possible they aren’t aware of the negative effects of lying. Even though he wants a good thing (true love and a worthwhile life), Aladdin learns that getting there immorally isn’t worth it.
Themes: authenticity, character, magic, individuality, cleverness, freedom, power, friendship, marriage, stealing, self-empowerment
The Quick 3
Ask these quick questions to hit the major themes of the film.
1. Freedom. If you had a magic lamp and had 3 wishes, what would you wish for?
The Genie says if he had one wish, he would wish for freedom. Jesus came to earth to free us from the slavery to sin – and when he transforms our lives, he provides freedom from all of the things that keep us down and leave us unfulfilled.
2. Authenticity. Can you think of a time you lied and hurt someone?
Jasmine figures out that Aladdin was lying to her. How did that make Jasmine feel? Whenever we are dishonest, we always hurt others and ourselves. And God knows everything about us, even the lies we tell (Psalm 139).
3. Marriage. Why do you think two people should get married? What do you think the point of marriage is?
Jasmine is forced by the law to marry a prince. She says it feels forced upon her and she’d rather marry for love. Ephesians 5:31-32 says, "As the Scriptures say, 'A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.' This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one." God created marriage and its purpose is to represent the relationship Jesus has with his bride, the church.
After The Movie Discussion Guide
Follow this 5-10 minute discussion guide to drive an in-depth conversation.
1. Jasmine is forced by the law to marry a prince. She says it feels forced upon her and she’d rather marry for love. Ephesians 5:31-32 says, "As the Scriptures say, 'A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.' This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one." God created marriage and its purpose is to represent the relationship Jesus has with his bride, the church. Why do you think two people should get married? What do you think the point of marriage is?
2. At one point, Iago calls Jafar, “O, evil one”. Jafar is manipulative and has bad intentions for other people in order for personal gain. He’s selfish and cares only about how he can profit from any situation to gain more power and prestige. In John 10:10 Jesus contrasts himself to the “evil one” of the Bible (Satan), saying that, “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Have you ever heard of Satan? What are your thoughts? Who do you think he is?
3. Jafar craved more power to rule over everyone and Aladdin was motivated to gain more power and riches to no longer be considered a “street rat”. The Bible has a lot to say about power. First of all, God has more power than we ever imagined (Eph 3:20). Also, the Bible says that we will receive power not by working really hard for it, or by finding some magic lamp, but rather it will be given to us by God. We only have true strength because Jesus gives it to us. Acts 1:8 says that we will receive power by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God living in our hearts, guiding our actions day by day. Did you realize that God can live inside your heart? What do you know about the power of the Holy Spirit?
4. If you had a magic genie, what would be the 3 wishes you’d wish for?
5. Aladdin thought that if Jasmine knew he was a street rat, she’d laugh at him. The Genie encourages him to tell the truth. Is there anything about yourself you hide to others because you’re afraid they’ll laugh at you?
6. Jafar used his three wishes to gain more and more power. He was never satisfied with his accumulation of power, and it ended up ruining him. Every single person has a need in their life that only God can satisfy. We can try to find our fulfillment in anything this world has to offer, but the Bible is clear that popularity and power on Earth is not the best thing that can happen to us. Mark 8:36 says, "And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?" What do you think this means and how does it apply to your life?
Minute By Minute Guide
Use this break down of the entire movie in addition to the “After the Movie” discussion guide. Great for repeat viewings.
:06 Aladdin gives his food to kids who really need it. Did you know there are ways to help vulnerable children in our community? Can you think of any ways you and your family could help children in need?
:08 “One Jump Ahead”. Aladdin steals only the food that he cannot afford. Do you think it’s okay for Aladdin to steal food in order to survive? Why or why not? What are some other options he might have?
:16 Jasmine and Aladdin both feel trapped, even though they live in very different environments. Would you rather live like Aladdin (having to find food every day and not having a home) or like Jasmine (having people telling you what to do every minute or every day)?
:17 Jasmine realizes Aladdin is a thief. In Exodus 20, God gives us the Ten Commandments. In verse 15, one of the commandments says, “you must not steal”. Why do you think God commands us not to steal things that aren’t ours? What do you think the punishment should be for stealing?
:18 Aladdin says there’s much more to him than people see. Is there anything about you people fail to see? Any traits that you have that are underestimated?
:23 “Speechless”. Jafar tells Jasmine it would be “better for her to be seen and not heard”. Jasmine speaks out against injustice, even though she is warned not to. When she sees something wrong or something that needs to be done, she takes initiative and does the right thing. Have you ever had to stand up and speak out for what is right?
:33 The Cave of Wonders seeks out a “diamond in the rough”. This refers to something very special where you’d least expect it. Jesus was born as a baby in a manger to an unwed teenager (Luke 2). You could say that Jesus’ entrance into the world wasn’t very special at all. When he was older, Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday riding a donkey – hardly an impressive entrance (John 12). Jesus was much more than what he seemed on the surface. Do you know of anyone who was more than what they seemed at first?
:43 “Friend Like Me”. The Genie celebrates the fact that he’s a friend like no other to Aladdin. Who are your best friends? Did you know the Bible calls Jesus our very best friend? In John 15:15, Jesus explains to his followers that he doesn’t consider them servants, but instead as friends. And Jesus is such a good friend, that he gave up his very life for us (John 15:13). How does it feel to know that Jesus wants to be your best friend forever?
:47 Genie says there is not enough money and power enough on Earth to be satisfied, so he urges Aladdin to stay away from pursuing those things over everything else. Genie would go on to say “the more you have, the more you want”. He’s basically quoting the Bible here, which says, "Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!” (Ecclesiastes 5:10). Do you think that’s true? That all the money and toys in the world truly couldn’t make you happy and fully satisfied?
:49 The Genie says if he had one wish, he would wish for freedom. Do you ever feel like you’re not free to do what you want? In what areas of your life would you like more freedom? Jesus came to earth to free us from the slavery to sin – and when he transforms our lives, he provides freedom from all of the things that keep us down and leave us unfulfilled. Check out the verses below. What do you think these verses mean?
2 Corinthians 3:17 "For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
John 8:36 "So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free."
Galatians 5:13 "For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love."
:55 “Prince Ali”. Aladdin thinks that in order to marry Princess Jasmine, he needs to pretend to be something he’s not. Why don’t you think Jasmine is impressed? It’s really the heart and character of a person that matters, not their money and skills. God feels the same way: 1 Samuel 16:7 says that “people look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” When God looks at your outward appearance, what do you think he sees? What about when he looks at your heart?
1:01 Jasmine wanted to make it clear she couldn’t be bought with expensive gifts. People are to be treated with respect, not as possessions. How do you think Jasmine feels about this? What would be a better way to treat her?
1:09 Genie encourages Aladdin to just be himself. While the Genie changed how he looked on the outside, Aladdin remains the same man on the inside. Genie is strongly recommending Aladdin stays authentic. Authenticity is being the real “you” in all situations. Genie would say that, “the more you gain by pretending, the less you’ll actually have.” Can you think of a time it’s hard for you to be authentic? Is there anyone you are trying to impress?
1:15 “A Whole New World”. Aladdin and Jasmine go on a magic carpet ride and experience something unique and different from their day-to-day. It’s spectacular and they begin dreaming about a better life. We, too, can look forward to a “whole new world” that awaits us in heaven. If we believe and follow Jesus, God promises that we’ll spend forever in heaven – a place with no sin, no sadness, and no pain. It’s a perfect place and the best part about it: we’ll get to literally be with Jesus all of the time. What do you most look forward to about heaven? How would you describe a perfect place to live at forever?
Parent resource: How to Talk to Your Child About Heaven
1:19 Jasmine figures out that Aladdin was lying to her. How did that make Jasmine feel? Whenever we are dishonest, we always hurt others and ourselves. And God knows everything about us, even the lies we tell (Psalm 139). Can you think of a time you lied and hurt someone?
1:21 Aladdin realizes that once you tell one lie, you’ll have to follow up with many other lies to keep it going. It’s a brutal cycle of deception and dishonesty. The best thing for him to do would be to come clean and tell the truth, so that he doesn’t hurt his friends even more. Is there anyone you’ve lied to that you need to open up to and tell the truth (followed by an apology for your lies)?
1:28 The Sultan realizes he was betrayed by his trusted advisor. Jesus was betrayed by one of his very best friends, named Judas (Luke 22). Judas lied to Jesus and it eventually led to Jesus’ death. Have you ever been betrayed by someone you thought was your friend?
1:39 Jasmine points out that Jafar seeks glory for himself. In John 8:50, Jesus said he wanted to do the very opposite of seeking glory for himself: "And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God is going to glorify me. He is the true judge.” Why would seeking glory for yourself be such a bad thing?
1:52 Jafar finds out that when you seek power above all else, it ends up badly. Genie says that we all need a master. Colossians 4:1 agrees, saying we all have a Master: "Masters, be just and fair to your slaves. Remember that you also have a Master—in heaven.” What does it mean for God to be your Master?
1:55 Aladdin wishes for the Genie’s freedom. Aladdin sacrificed his own wants/needs in order for the Genie to get what he wanted most in life. Jesus did the same thing for us. Jesus left the perfect life in heaven to come down and live as a human being, all so that he would suffer and die for us (Phil 2:7). And because he gave up his own life so that we could have eternal life. Amazing! How does that truth make you feel?