Picture Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios and Motion Pictures
Maleficent is the live action retelling of the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty (Elle Fanning) but from the point of view of Maleficent (played by Angelina Jolie). As with all classic tales there are different variations, but the Disney variations are the most memorable. The majority of people when asked of the events of specific fairy tales will always give you the Disney version as opposed to the original variations which aren’t as widely known.
Sleeping Beauty is known by many names, but it seems Disney is the first to give name to the “evil” fairy Maleficent. Depending on which version you refer to there are anywhere from 4 fairies to 13. Walt Disney Studios creates a story giving us a look at Maleficent’s life from a young girl to the events that are more familiar to us. The tale is heart wrenching and creates a sympathetic view of Maleficent, the one viewed as pure evil, reacting in survival and revenge to the evil of others.
Maleficent is the fairy keeper of The Moors. A mystical and magical place full of creatures unknown and a place of happiness. In order to portray this, the film spends much time giving a back story for the viewer to understand Maleficent better but also for the visual appeal. Throughout the film there are creatures that are both cute and awe inspiring. For those less cute and less awe inspiring we are introduced to the King (played by Sharlto Copley); who is in complete contrast visually and by skill, next to Angelina Jolie.
What made this film great, was also it’s weakness. A double-edged sword. Much time was spent on creating the backstory of Maleficent. They wanted to show true qualities of her character through time but in addition to trying to stay true to the original tale of Sleeping Beauty. The two tales were battling each other rather than co-mingling. Towards the end it seemed that they were unsure of how to handle this situation; so visual effects were left to smooth it over.
The creative minds behind Maleficent’s back story deserve a lot of credit. They spun a wonderful tale that sheds a different light on an old villain. In the end, the original tale and unnecessary fillers could have been the pin prick that won, threatening to put us into an endless sleep. The film was an intriguing adaptation but is by no means a classic in the making. Angelina Jolie was our saving grace who portrayed an excellent hero and villain in one. I would not rush to the theatres to see this but it is worth a view for Disney fans.