Maleficent has always been my favorite villain. As a child, I loved her in Sleeping Beauty. She never scared me, but she always awed me. I was really looking forward to Disney's Maleficent when I first heard they were making the movie, and I was anything but disappointed.
Here's my Maleficent review. I can sum up this movie in one word: WOW. It was that good. At every moment I was intrigued and my attention was held. It was a brilliant screenplay and so well produced. I can't wait to see it again with all of my kids. To be fair, I had high hopes for this movie, but it could have gone either way for me—I could have loved it or hated it, but I knew there would be no in between.
Angelina Jolie seemed like she would be the perfect Maleficent. I honestly can't think of another actress who could have been cast in that role. She's devilishly evil and perfect. And Elle Fanning as the fresh-faced 16-year-old Aurora was another brilliant casting move.Spoiler alert: there are spoilers in here…don't read any further if you can't handle the spoilers.
Part of the reason I loved Maleficent and always thought she was pure evil was because the story as we knew it essentially had her cursing a baby because she was pissed she didn't get invited to a Christening. I mean, who does that? The baby didn't do anything wrong. Sounds like pure evil to me.
The story of Maleficent goes back before the Christening and shows us how she used to be, before she was so hurtfully wronged and she grew to be evil out of despair, anguish, and revenge. The now King Stefan cut off her wings for his own ambitions. Frankly, he's misogynistic dick. He befriended her in the Moors years previously and then abused his friendship with her to get the thrown. I'd hold a grudge, too.
So the King and Queen have a baby, just like you know from the fairy tale and original Sleeping Beauty. Also as you know, Maleficent curses the baby so that she will prick her finger on a spindle the eve of her 16th birthday, falling into a deep sleep reversed only by true love's kiss.
The three pixies* from the Moors are asked to watch over Aurora until the day after her 16th birthday. Maleficent watches over the child from the moment Aurora moves to the cottage with the pixies. At first, I think she watches out of curiosity, and then it grows to bemusement, and eventually love for the “beastie.” (Maleficent refers to the child as “beastie,” which I personally find amusing because I sometimes refer to my own children as beasties.
As Maleficent realizes she cares for the beastie, she tires to reverse the curse. Unsuccessful, she essentially watches over her to protect her from the curse. And even as she knows the curse will be fulfilled, she races to the castle with Prince Philip in tow to reverse the curse with true love's kiss. A few twists and some moments that were reasonably well foreshadowed will draw the movie to a happy ending. For the naysayers out that there think this movie made Maleficent “soft,” keep two things in mind. First, it's a kids' movie and it's rated PG. And it's a fairy tale…they always have happy endings.
I won't tell you more than that. I don't want to spoil the whole movie for you. Obviously there still the issue with King Stefan that has to be resolved. Maleficent definitely channeled her inner Lara Croft Tomb Raider in that final fight scene and emerges as an empowered victor.
*Oh, and I actually wanted to see a more appropriate punishment for those three two-faced little pixies. That was the only loose end I felt was missed.Disclaimer: I was invited to see an early screening of Maleficent. As always, all opinions are my own.