Hello, I’m a unicorn. From preschool to the fifth grade, Sleeping Beauty was my favorite Disney movie. I had Aurora costumes, knew Once Upon a Dream by heart, and watched the movie all the time. I even wanted a Sleeping Beauty themed wedding when I was older.
Seriously? You were already planning your wedding?
I was five, okay? Anyway, I was initially indifferent to Maleficent, believing that I had grown out of Sleeping Beauty, but as I saw the trailers, I grew more and more excited. After coming back from seeing it? My opinion is that it’s okay, but, as usual, I’ll separate it into the good and the bad.
The Good: This movie is gorgeous. The cinematography is fantastic, with every shot taking my breath away. Just look at these stills:
The movie is full of shots like these, and some even prettier. Angelina Jolie just kills it as the eponymous Maleficent, with her presence nearly as commanding as the original. The casting was perfect, with Elle Fanning playing a sweet Aurora and Sam Reilly as a charming raven named Diaval. There were even some funny moments sprinkled in, especially between Diaval and Maleficent.
The Bad: The movie have three major sins.
1. All of the plot holes such as why does Maleficent keep following Aurora around after cursing her? It makes no sense why she’d choose to keep tabs on the girl, especially since Aurora’s father is out to get her. It’s like secretly poisoning the drink of your worst enemy’s cousin, then befriending him before he succumbs to the poison.
Well, that’s a creepy comparison…
But it’s true. Maleficent protecting Aurora makes no sense. She just hangs around the cottage, guarding over the girl she cursed and annoying the three fairies that take care of her. Another thing that doesn’t make sense the fact that Maleficent doesn’t use magic to grow back her wings. She has the ability to turn a raven into a human, a wolf, a horse, and a dragon but doesn’t think to grow back her wings? Also, how do the three fairies not recognize her when they see her at the celebration. They interact in an earlier scene. And how did those twits get put in charge of taking care of a baby even though they have no idea how anyway? They nearly starve her to death by accident.
2. All of the voice over narration. The movie is mostly told to us via narration while pretty pictures flash across the scene. The majority of King Stefan and Maleficent’s relationship is glossed over in a few line, so we are not emotionally invested during his inevitable betrayal. He just goes from being in love to being mildly conflicted, to full on Macbe–
Don’t say the name? Do you want bad luck?
Oh, come on, you don’t really believe that do you?
Yep, and judging by what’s coming at the end of the post, you will too.
Great, your first fourth wall joke. My point is, all of the voice over narration makes it hard to become emotionally invested.
3. Not sticking to the original animated movie. Let’s talk about Wicked and Twisted really quickly. Most Broadway musical fans know that Wicked is a musical told from the point of view of the Wicked Witch of the West. It’s also my second favorite musical. Twisted is pretty much the same, only Aladdin told from the point of view of Jafar. Both of these musical changed my perspective on the villains of their respective franchises. Do you know how? They stayed true to the characters and the plot. In Wicked, the Wizard of Oz is still a faker hiding behind a curtain, Glinda is still cheerful and ultimately good, Dorothy still is captured, and the Witch is still melted. In Twisted, Princess Jasmine is still spoiled yet naive and good hearted, the sultan is still a bumbling ruler, and Jafar still gets the genie’s powers before going into the lamp forever. By sticking to the familiar plot and keeping the characters mostly true to their nature, they allowed the audience to see what they never saw in the original work. They see that Elphaba and Glinda were once friends who were separated by ambitions and ideals. They see that not only was the Wizard a fraud, but he was also a terrible ruler. They see that Jafar is just a politician doing the best he could with an idiotic ruler, a spoiled princess, and a crumbling kingdom. The writers kept the story familiar enough that tiny changes are barely noticeable, and kept the characters and their arcs consistent. Maleficent, though, goes from loving and kind to bitter and angry, and back to kind far too quickly. King Stefan has it worse off. In the original, he’s a loving but slightly bumbling ruler. In this one, he goes from in love to Macbe–
That Scottish king from a Shakespeare play, faster than you can say “once upon a dream”. The random addition of a war between the humans and fairies, the difference in motivations, and the ending that ripped off Frozen made the story too different. It didn’t change my perspective of the original like Twisted and Wicked did to their respective stories. That is its biggest sin. The fact that I’m not going to be looking at my favorite childhood favorite movie with fresh eyes and a new outlook.
Overall, it’s entertaining and a great family film. It’s easily one of the prettiest films I’ve seen in a long time, and the casting was great. While there were parts that made no sense, lots of telling but little showing and it didn’t profoundly change my perspective of Sleeping Beauty, it was still a fun mmovie. If you are a fan of the character for her being evil, then you won’t enjoy it, but if you have a little girl in love with Sleeping Beauty, both you and she will love it. I know I would have if it was made a few years ago. Oh, and Macbeth!
*A crack of thunder and a flash of lightning shakes the bedroom. A book falls into Kirin’s lap*
Marked from the House of Night series? Crudmonkeys, this is gonna hurt.
I warned you, but did you listen? No. You just had to say it! You never listen, and now you have to read that. I hope you’re happy because I am. Do you know why I’m so happy? I get to say I told’ya so.
Oh, shut up! I’ll get into that book later this summer, but first I have at least two blockbusters I need to get to, including one I’m really behind in reviewing. So, X-Men Days of Future Past next post, everyone.