I don't think the question is whether or not to play AA preflop....
I think the question is whether or not it is worth the risk to have all your chips in early when the blinds are low and you could wait for a better spot.
I think that, regardless of tournament stage, you should never be shy to get your chips in the middle when you are pretty positive you have your opponent(s) crushed. This can be tricky post flop, but preflop our decisions are often much easier.
In your above examples I'd snap call with the AA and I'd fold the AQ. Yes he could have AJ but he could also have 77 and you're flipping or AK and you're toast. When I'm not sure I'm ahead, I go more by tournament stage and stack size and pot odds
etc. When I'm positive I'm ahead by a nice margin, I go for max value however I think I can get it.