Disney has put their magical touch on and revamped the movie Sleeping Beauty. Maleficent is not a story simply about a beautiful princess who falls into a deep slumber only to be awakened by the kiss of her truest love. This Disney story is darker. Maleficent travels into the bitter heart of a broken woman who swears she’ll get the last laugh.
The retelling of the Disney classic Sleeping Beauty does something new by making the evil villain the star and telling her side of the story. With Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, this powerful character comes to life in a whole new story that still has many of the traditional elements of the original.
In Maleficent, we learn how the greed of man turned her evil. The man she falls in love with turns out to be the one who tries to destroy her. In true villain fashion, she declares revenge by hurting the thing dearest to him—his daughter Aurora.
Maleficent still keeps some of the traditional themes like absent parents and a beautiful, kind princess, but there is a twist at the end that will have women feeling like they can be their own hero. This newfound strength in women was first seen in Disney’s Frozen which broke numerous records.
The sentimental feelings that Maleficent gains for Princess Aurora through the years are ironic. The woman who grows to love and care for Princess Aurora ultimately is the one who curses her. This is an interesting way of Disney showing the audience history repeating itself. It seems that in this movie, the ones who love you can also destroy you.
Disney appears to be making a new statement with this movie. Perhaps we can expect to see more retellings of the traditional princesses where maybe the villain turns into a hero or the princess isn’t saved by some handsome prince riding a horse. These princesses can be their own heroes.
The movie captured the traditional characters well. Jolie makes a very empowering villain, but also has the lovable motherly feel as she begins to turn good. Elle Fanning, who plays Princess Aurora, is also a good cast choice because she still portrays the beauty and innocence of Sleeping Beauty, but she actually looks 16 as opposed to casting someone with more sex appeal like other princess story retellings have done.
It is a little disappointing that this story portrays the three good fairies as dimwitted, irresponsible guardians. Their behavior in the film is nothing like what you saw in the original cartoon version. The loveless marriage between the king and queen is also disappointing.
Maleficent has great scenery as well. The fairy kingdom and magical creatures look amazing, however the movie is a little too dark and creepy at times so it may be too scary for some children.
Overall, Disney did a pretty good job trying to change the direction of a classic film. The cast is strong, the effects are decent, and the storyline is good. It achieved a new trend of female empowerment that is usually absent in traditional children’s movies.
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