Maleficent: “I had wings once, and they were strong. But they were stolen from me.”
Maleficent is a 2014 Disney movie that looks at the iconic Sleeping Beauty fable from another perspective, the villain, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie). The young Maleficent (Ella Purnell) lives in the magical realm the Moors, and because she is the strongest of all the faeries there, she is destined to become their leader. One day, she has to address a young thief, and meets Stefan, a peasant boy from the nearby kingdom with which the Moors are in constant war with. Stefan and Maleficent bond, and eventually fall in love, but it isn’t real love: Stefan is soon corrupted by the things that break most humans: greed, thirst for power and jealousy. Stefan drifts away from Maleficent and becomes a squire for the King, who wishes to infiltrate the Moors. Maleficent wins a fight against the King, injuring him badly, and the King promises all his squires that the one that kills Maleficent will be the next King.
Stefan returns to the Moors, intent on killing Maleficent, but the single shred of dignity in his body prevents him from killing her. Instead he cuts off her powerful wings and takes it to the dying King. Believing it to be proof, the King makes Stefan his successor and Stefan is married to the King’s daughter. Shortly afterwards they have a beautiful baby girl, Aurora.
Maleficent is nearly destroyed with heartbreak of Stefan’s betrayal and losing her wings, and swears revenge. After saving a raven from death, she turns him into a human, and Diaval (Sam Riley) becomes her eyes and ears, and soon tells her of Aurora’s impending christening.
Maleficent heads to the christening, where she lays the curse on Aurora: that on her sixteenth birthday she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel, and fall into a deep slumber, and that only true love’s kiss can awaken her.
Aurora is taken by three dimwit faeries to safety, but their incompetence causes Maleficent to save Aurora plenty of times. Times progress, and Maleficent soon notices that Aurora (Elle Fanning) has none of the flaws her father has, and is truly as lovely as everyone says. Is it too late for Maleficent to take back the curse? Can Aurora be saved? Does true love exists, because Maleficent doesn’t believe it does and specifically put that into the curse for that very reason?
Maleficent to Aurora: “I will not ask you for forgiveness. What I have done is unforgivable. I was so lost in hatred and revenge. I never dreamed that I could love you so much. You stole what was left of my heart. And now I’ve lost you forever.”
This is the second movie I watched in the cinema in two weeks, and I still haven’t seen the Fault in Our Stars, and I desperately want to. I haven’t seen that yet because the company I went with “didn’t want to cry”. Well, let me tell you I nearly damn cried in Maleficent more than once. It is beautifully done and tells a good, tragic story about a good person so maddened by grief that they do something they regret and ultimately can’t reverse, no matter how sorry they are.
The casting was near perfect. Sharlto Copley and Michael Higgins were both perfect casting choices as King Stefan with narrow faces and high cheekbones. Copley finally seems to be the hope of the South-African acting community and did well as the lowly Stefan. His true agenda was surprising – not to save his daughter, but rather defeating Maleficent to be the greater power. I found him so deplorable in the end, broken by greed and selfishness.
The internet has been raving about Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, and I am glad to finally have seen how right they truly were about it. She was amazingly cast and Maleficent’s looks are truly the live impersonation of the Disney movie. I’ve always had this bad perception of Jolie’s acting abilities and I can admit that I was wrong – her acting was real and deep and really made the movie.
Brenton Twaithes and Elle Fanning as the iconic Prince Phillip and Aurora also worked incredibly well. Prince Phillip was also one of the characters that stood out as perfect casting – once again the live impersonation of a story book character and all. I found that both characters actually looked sixteen – something highly unlikely in Hollywood where age perception is flawed. Their love story is charmingly underdone and that I enjoyed, because for all my love for Disney movies I have always felt derision at the love at first sight angle – WHEN has that ever happened? Without giving too much away, I thought the true love scene was so beautifully done and a brilliant fresh take on the story.
What people seem to forget about Maleficent is that it is a Disney movie. If you look at it forgetting who made the film, you might feel it is fluffy and not worthy of attention. If you remember that Maleficent is from Disney and look at it from that angle you will recognize it as a good Disney movie and very much worthy of attention. The take on the story is fresh and entertaining and I loved how they worked everything from the old storyline into the new story and how it all seemed plausible. The crow (that angle was pretty well done), the little monsters, King Stefan’s surprisingly deplorable character (feeling alone in the naughty chamber, Joffrey?) and how the three good fairies weren’t actually all that sweet and kind and capable.
I love the new direction Disney is taking with their movies. It is as if they are trying to rectify the fact that they have been whispering to girls for many years that you are only there to be saved by a prince, and that girl power is an actual fact and not a myth.
Maleficent is good enough to be watchable to adults and stays away from too scary, so the kids will like it too.
Have you seen it? Did you like it?