Maleficent - Review
Maleficent – May 30, 2014 (7.5/10)
Disney’s Maleficent had the potential to be an innovative retelling of Sleeping Beauty. But too many changes to the original story overcomplicated the heroes and villains of this tale. The infamous Maleficent was diluted into a heroine because the focus was shifted to her journey. Just because Angelina Jolie is the biggest star in this movie doesn’t mean you have to make this legend all about her. Snow White And The Huntsman was able to savor the original characters. So there’s no reason why Maleficent couldn’t do the same.
Sleeping Beauty begins with celebrating the birth of Princess Aurora. Then Maleficent enters and curses the child without any reason other than she’s just an evil woman. So the inspiration for Maleficent was to create a motive behind that decision. But by creating her backstory, the audience can’t help but sympathize for her. Would The Joker in The Dark Knight still be scary if we saw his childhood? Probably not. Remember Disney: “Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
We first see Maleficent has a young girl who lives in a land of mythical creatures. She’s supposed to be fairy, but she’s the only one with horns and massive wings. Maleficent then meets a young boy, Stefan, and they fall in love. As they grow older, they start to drift apart. Then Stefan betrays her by clipping her wings, so he can become king. This is what ultimately turns Maleficent evil as she seeks revenge by cursing Stefan’s newborn child, Aurora.
This is where things start to get complicated. Stefan betraying Maleficent makes him the bad guy. So am I supposed to be happy that his baby is cursed? Then for the rest of the movie, you’re struggling to figure out whether you’re rooting for Maleficent or the king. What happened to simple good versus evil? Now we have good & evil versus good & evil. This does nothing but detach you from the characters.
Another odd change to the movie was how the fairies were portrayed. In Sleepy Beauty, the three fairies are all old women who disguise themselves as humans and raise Aurora in the forest. They are caring and nurturing to her during their sixteen years together. But in Maleficent, they are all stupid and almost kill Aurora because they don’t know how to feed her. Also, one of the fairies is Juno Temple. Why have one young fairy? Especially since it would be weird that she didn’t look any older after sixteen years.
Overall, Maleficent is still a fun movie to watch. There’s enough entertainment to keep you satisfied. It just depends on whether you want to see it now or rent it later. Angelina Jolie was perfect for the role and carried the entire movie. It’s only in Act III where the story starts to fall apart.