Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Disney in Arabic

Here are some Arabic versions of scenes from The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin. It's quite fascinating, especially since it's in the Egyptian dialect, hard G and all. You can find more stuff like this on YouTube.

I always found the Arabic dubbed versions of stuff to be lame, but these are actually pretty sweet. Plus, parents feel better showing their kids stuff in Arabic because not only are the children being entertained, they're also learning their mother-tongue. Two birds with one stone?

I have the sudden urge to watch the old Disney movies now. Even though Disney gave us all unreal expectations of love =)


sara said...


sara said...

I seriously love these. I don't even like Disney movies that much - but I think it's so great ... songs dubbed in different languages.

If you find anymore ... post them, or send them my way.

Rizwan said...

I agree that Disney generally does produce movies that offer people unrealistic/distorted ideas about love. I think, however, that "Beauty and the Beast" is an exception to this trend. What do you think Asmaa?

Since when did people start calling you Samosa? What's the story with that?

Asmaa said...

Sara 1, Sara 2, I can't actually tell the difference between you two now. I'm thinking the first one is the Egyptian one, and the second is the walrus-ride advocate. But I could be wrong. Man, I found some Japanese dubbed disney stuff and it was the bees knees.

Rizwan, only one person calls me samosa, and that's because she's high.

Wait, you think Beauty and the Beast is an exception to the trend of unrealistic love stories? Okay look, Belle falls in love with a monster--who is pretty good-looking in the movie actually, but he's really supposed to be hideous. There's definitely some messed up stuff going on there.

So this beast takes you captive in his house, you fall in love with him even though he's not human, because he's "nice." What exactly is the moral of the story? The moral is that you have to judge people by what's inside, not their appearance, right? Wrong. Everyone judges the female by her appearance. She's beautiful, even her name means beautiful. The beast first falls in love with her because "she's so beautiful."

Similarly, his name is just "Beast." So what does she call him after he becomes a man? No one knows.

Anyways, that's my rant about Beauty and the Beast. Actually, I have more, but I'll save it for a rainy day.

sara said...

Um, Samaa ... Sara 1 and 2 were both ME!!

And OMG Beauty and the Beast is SOOO not the exception. For all reasons that you mentioned and probably a million more.

If I had to choose any exception to the Disney love expectation thing, I would relunctantly choose Mulan ... only because their love story is so secondary to the whole movie. But still, it's the same Disney crap.

Asmaa said...

Oops they were both you? Haha! I'm so confused now because there are 3 sara's that comment here once in a while. I agree though, beauty and the beast is pretty weird if you really think about it.

I'm all for Mulan, minus all that weird shirky stuff, it's actually pretty good. Especially the songs. Not as good as Bollywood dance scenes though.

Safiyyah said...

Drunk on dhikr? I think Rizwan would approve. ;-)

Rizwan said...

Asmaa, I think there is some weight to the sketch of your argument that "Beauty and the Beast" is no exception to distorted stories about the nature of love produced by Disney. I'm not sure I completely agree with the following point you make:

*The moral is that you have to judge people by what's inside, not their appearance, right? Wrong. Everyone judges the female by her appearance. She's beautiful, even her name means beautiful. The beast first falls in love with her because "she's so beautiful."*

I do not think the moral of that story is that you *have* to judge people based on what's inside to the exclusion of what's outside. I think there is a healthy tension the film captures between appearance and reality and how difficult it is to choose the most virtuous thing to do. I think if you go back and watch it again, you'll see that Beast does not "fall in love at first sight" (i.e. impulsively like Hollywood would like us to do). And Belle does not fall in love with him at first sight. They are repulsed by each other (for different reasons).

When he does fall in love with her, it is only after he is challenged by her virtous behaviour and beautiful character. Making the film heroine beautiful in her appearance as well shouldn't be considered unrealistic or wrong in and of itself. The perspective of the story tends to shift mostly between Belle and the Beast. So for most of the film, the audience views Belle as she sees herself, as the Beast sees her and as the townsfolk see her. In their eyes, she is beautiful--but beautiful in what sense(s)? Remember that Gaston (clearly portrayed as a villain) focuses entirely on Belle as being *physically* beautiful without regard for her character/nature. She constantly tries to repel him for his ugly character--even though his physical appearance is "heroic" according to the Disney canon.

Gaston and the Beast represent two extremes of the possible spectrum of beauty. Gaston is physically beautiful and spiritually ugly. The Beast is physically ugly and he is becoming spiritually ugly (due in large part to his despair but for other reasons as well).

When the Beast encounters perfect beauty (the sythesis between physical and spiritual beauty that Belle is gifted with) he has to choose to give up despair and struggle to change what he can (at least his behaviour if not his appearance) or to wallow in resentment of what Belle has.

The point I'm trying to get at is that the film captures a certain tension between appearance and reality, it challenges us to reflect on what love is nurtured by, it reminds us that there is great struggle involved, and it suggests that human beings can transform (which it accomplishes through the symbolism of the Beast transforming into a human again by means of true love). When we have true love for God (by His generosity and mercy), we are also transformed into what God loves.

I think the film is rich enough for us to interpret it in different ways, so perhaps I am wrong that the film is an exception to the typical Disney/Hollywood film about love/romance. I do think though that my argument is fairly strong. If you see problems with it, I welcome discussion with you about them.

I look forward to any further thoughts you have about significant themes in Beauty and the Beast.

Ma`a al-salam

fathima said...

/ya helwal gameel./

oh wow, they had the dubbing down perfect.

Asmaa said...

Rizwan, you have valid points. But if you look into the history of Beauty and the Beast, as originally written by Madame De Beaumonte, you'll find a different story. She initially wrote it for young women in order to indoctrinate them with the idea that they should trust their faithers in their decisions of husbands. In the original story, "Beauty" (not Belle) is made to feel guilty by her father because him getting caught by the beast was her fault (long story). That's why she goes to live with the beast. Similarly, she didn't fall in love with him in the story. Rather, she felt guilty because when she left him to visit her father, she promised to come back but didn't. So he was dying of a broken heart, blah blah, then she went back and she's like "fine, I'll marry you because you're a good 'person' (i.e. animal)."

So anyways, it's not a lovey-dovey family situation going on here. That's only the Disneyfied version. Yeah, don't ask me why I know all this :S

Fathima, that's what's disturbing about it ;)