Finally some back story about the villain.
Because no one just wakes up one day deciding to take you down. There’s always something that pushes a person over the edge.
I’m going to admit that I wasn’t familiar with the character called Maleficent who played such a crucial part in the Sleeping Beauty story. Sure, I remember that a spell was cast on the girl by somebody, but I didn’t remember her having a name.
In preparation for seeing this movie, last weekend my husband decided to re-visit the animated version of the fairy tale – and indeed, there she was horns and all.
Come to think of it, my experience with this story and many other tales like it, come from the illustrated books rather than Disney animation, so that may account for my bad memory.
“Maleficent”, the name reminding me of a cross between the words magnificent and malevolent really turns the Sleeping Beauty story on its head.
We see why the fairy became an evil force to be reckoned with. Who could blame her for becoming just a little distrustful of folks, because how would you feel if somebody stole something from you? In the first instance of date rape ever recorded in a fairy tale, the most powerful fairy has her wings stolen by someone she trusted and considered her friend.
She had already forgiven the sorry excuse, Stephan, for preferring to live in the human world, but when his ambition causes him to take from her the very things that made her who she was, her heart understandably turns to stone.
Maleficent crashing the christening party of his baby girl must have been most uncomfortable for him, seeing as how it was the first meeting between his former flame and the one who got the ring. It was during this meet and greet that he might have started to get an inkling (belatedly) that he had chosen the wrong girl – to mess with.
After this, nothing goes according to the original story line because the queen dies before she sees her daughter again, the king goes half crazy with his desire to kill Maleficent, and Maleficent’s “true love” kiss is the one to break her own spell. Proving once again that men (Prince Charming or not), aren’t the answer to all our problems.
In one of her interviews, Angelina Jolie said that she had always taken a liking to the Maleficent character, admiring how she carried all that evil with such poise and grace. In my opinion, the actress was meant to play the part. With her chiseled cheekbones (aided by some amazing contouring), and the penetrating stare, Jolie succeeds in bringing just the right amount of smoulder to the screen.
It’s a tad dark for a Disney movie, but I’m reminded that quite a few fairy tales have been sanitized in their re-telling, prior to the Disney machine getting its hands on them. (Did you really believe that Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” kept her legs and remained on land?)
So maybe this is really how the story went. This version of the fairy tale for all its special effects may have been the most realistic, because life isn’t always fair, and it definitely isn’t always pretty, but we all hold out hope that it will have a happy ending.