Tag Archives: One Thousand and One Nights

Flashback Friday: Arabian Nights (2000)

Over the generations, some stories stay with us and others fade into history. Those that stay with us have a certain something that appeals to readers time and again.

The two-part miniseries, Arabian Nights (2000) is based on One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of narratives from the Islamic Golden Age.

Sultan Shahryar (Dougray Scott) is a King in an ancient land. Shocked to learn that both his wife and his sister-in-law have been unfaithful, he decides that all women are unable to be loyal to their husbands. He marries a series of virginal brides, only to execute them the next day, fearing that once more, he will be cheated on.

Scheherazade (Mili Avital) is the daughter of one of the Sultan’s ministers. Going against the wishes of her father, she volunteers to be the next bride. On her wedding night, she starts to tell her new husband a story. Enthralled by what he is hearing, he asks for more. Knowing that her life is on the line, Scheherazade knows that she must continue with her storytelling.

I remember liking this program. Combining the main narrative with the individual tales that comprise One Thousand and One Nights, the questions of Scheherazade’s fate pulls the audience in, regardless of the ending we all know.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Television, TV Review

Thought On The 25th Anniversary Of Aladdin

25 years ago today, Aladdin hit theaters.

Loosely based (and I do mean loosely based) on the folktale One Thousand and One Nights, Aladdin (Scott Weinger) is an orphaned boy living on the streets in fictional Agrabah.  He falls in love with Princess Jasmine (voiced by Linda Larkin) and asks Genie (voiced by the late and sorely missed Robin Williams) to make him a prince. But the king’s right hand man, Jafar (voiced by Jonathan Freeman) sees through Aladdin’s disguise and has plans to use Aladdin and Genie for his own ends.

As much as my former child self adores this movie, my adult self has a few qualms about this movie.

  • These characters are stereotypes. I get that this Disney’s attempt at cultural sensitivity and multiculturalism, but their attempt is merely an attempt, not a success.
  • Jasmine is 15 and an unnatural size 2. She is also the only major female character and tries to come off as a strong female character, but doesn’t really come off as the creative team intended.
  • All of the actors are Caucasian. Not even the scene stealing performance of Robin Williams can dull that fact.
  • The ending can be seen a mile away.
  • There is a subliminal message about underage teenage sex. Stop the video below at :19.

While more current adaptations of the movie (including the stage production, the upcoming movie with Will Smith as Genie and the reboot via Once Upon A Time) have tried to correct the errors of the 1992 film, there are some things about this film that as a thirty something, doesn’t sit well with me.

Readers, what are your thoughts about this film? I would be curious to know.

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Filed under Fairy Tales, Feminism, Movies, Once Upon A Time, Television