Hell hath no fury as Maleficent scorned. Maleficent opens in theaters today and is a fresh look of the story of Sleeping Beauty that is sure to become a classic.
This is not the Sleeping Beauty I grew up with and was rather skeptical of what to expect. I loved this story. I felt the development of the characters helped to create a story that will stand the test of time.
The story starts with a young fairy named Maleficent, who is loved and adored by all the inhabitants of the Moors. She grows up to be the protector of the Moors and is called upon to lead a battle against the humans who have come to take over the Moors and plunder its riches and resources.
While Maleficent does defeat the king, he offers his kingdom to the man who will get rid of her for good. Maleficent is betrayed. Her wings are gone and now there is a new king on the throne.
When Maleficent learns the king has a baby girl she decides to attend the christening and give her own gift to the young baby. This sets off a series of events and interactions that produce a wonderful story that is filled with excitement, wonder, humor and adventure.
Teaser: Listen for the term “Fairy Godmother.”
To best enjoy this film, forget everything you know about the Disney’s 1959 Classic Sleeping Beauty and just look at this movie as a new story.
Maleficent, played by Angelina Jolie, is the central character of this story. She is a fairy who has a love for life and her people but is betrayed by someone she has given her heart to. This betrayal leads to a blind rage that leads her to place a curse on the infant Aurora. Maleficent must now wait 16 years to see her curse come to fruition.
Multiple characters play the character Aurora. Five year old Aurora is played by Vivienne Jolie-Pitt. This has to be one of the most heartfelt scenes and a wonderful opportunity to see Angelina working with her daughter.
Elle Fanning plays Aurora through the majority of the film. Aurora has lived her entire life believing that her parents have died and that she was to live with her three aunts. Aurora is raised in a little cottage in the woods and has a love for nature. Aurora is fearless and desires to what is beyond the wall of thorns.
Diaval, played by Sam Riley, turned out to be one of my favorite characters. Diaval starts as a black crow that Maleficent turns into a human. Diaval becomes the “wings” for Maleficent and gathers information for her since she can no longer fly. As needed, Diaval is changed into different animals throughout the movie.
Sharlto Copley plays Stefan. Stefan is the new king who is obsessed to the point of insanity in his desire to get rid of Maleficent.
Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, and Juno Temple play the fairies Flittle, Knotgrass, and Thistlewit. These three fairies are charged with taking care of Aurora and bringing her back to the castle one day after Aurora’s 16th Birthday. While their intentions are noble, their skills at taking care of Aurora are less than stellar. If it were not for the intervening of Maleficent, Aurora would not have made it to her first birthday.
The musical score composed by James Newton Howard is amazing and helps to bring the story together. I enjoyed it so much I downloaded it and am listening to it now while I write this review.
Should children see Maleficent?
I would not recommend this for younger children, especially little girls who love the Disney Princesses. While I believe Elle Fanning makes a wonderful Aurora and a good role model for little girls, I feel that the events and characters that surround her could be disturbing.
There are extensive large-scale battles with scary looking creatures and humans in fierce combat. While these scenes are in not graphic or bloody, they are still very intense.
Early on, we learn that Maleficent can burned by touching iron. There are multiple scenes in the movie where people intentionally use iron to try to burn her.
At one point in the movie, Maleficent’s wings are stolen from her. While we do not see the actual act, we do see the end result and later on see her wings displayed in a large glass case.
There is a rather violent scene towards the end of the movie involving a very large fire-breathing dragon.
The development of Stefan’s character throughout the movie is rather intense and disturbing. Stefan’s anger towards Maleficent blinds him and drives him to the point of insanity.
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[quote]”Maleficent” explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic “Sleeping Beauty” and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.[/quote]
Photography by Walt Disney Studios. Used with permission.
Media tickets to an advanced screening were provided to facilitate the Maleficent review.