“Maleficent” asks you to believe that in a world of humans versus creatures endowed with magical powers...humans can win. Swords and shields versus tree monsters, fairies and giant boars? Any human in that predicament would stand down. Instead Hollywood once again pushes for the prideful, ambitious, lunacy archetype of men that would believe world domination is entitled to them. So it’s the worst parts of us that turned the purest fairy and classic Disney villain into a cold hearted meanie! How original!
Building the character of the innocent young Maleficent (Isobelle Molloy) shouldn’t be so platitudinous. Imagine this: a young orphan who protects and loves the creatures around her dreams of finding love. One day she meets a young boy who happens to have stolen from her people. After returning what he stole, a friendship and love blossoms between the two. Sounds familiar right? Twenty minutes of character building you won’t get back. Try harder Hollywood.
The film gets going once Stefan (Sharlto Copley) steals Maleficent’s (Angelina Jolie) wings in order to take the throne in the kingdom of men. The betrayal turns Maleficent into a woman scorned, or more like a teenager scorned. She keeps tabs on what Stefan is doing through her shape-shifting crow Diaval (Sam Riley). After learning of Stefan’s child being born she decides she’s had enough of hearing about his happiness and wants to give him some of the grief she feels. She crashes a celebration and puts a curse on Aurora (Elle Fanning) aka Sleeping Beauty straight from the classic tale.
To the writers credit, even though over the next sixteen years Maleficent stalks Aurora in the woods like a bitter teenager who has nothing but time on her hands, she also has sixteen years of maturation in which she realizes she made a mistake. She ruined the life of an innocent girl who had nothing to do with her heartache. You could say Maleficent evolves into a grown woman. (SPOILER ALERT) Maleficent tries to undo the curse that she created, but to no avail. As Aurora nears her sixteenth birthday, King Stefan ups the ante on securing the castle for the big fight he’s believed was coming his way for the past sixteen years. (SPOILER DONE)
The film ends differently then you may expect, somewhat. Being open minded to a new twist on a classic villain is the best way to approach “Maleficent”. I was expecting more and visually I wasn’t let down but much of the story made me wish I had seen it for free or on Netflix. I suggest you do.
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