Spoiler Alert!! Stop if you haven’t watched or do not want to be spoiled. You have been warned!
Maleficent was a wonderful retelling of a classic story done through from the perspective of the oft neglected villain. The evil fairy is so much more interesting than the princess as is the case in most good vs. evil films. What motivates these villains? Where did they come from? These are the themes explored in Maleficent that you get to wrap your head around. I won’t ruin the ending but let’s just say not everyone gets a happy ending.
The cast in a word, was amazing. The titular character is portrayed by the enigmatic Angelina Jolie. You might assume that her portrayal in this movie might detract from the experience (in a Nic Cage kind of way). I’m here to tell you that is definitely not the case! At no time was the movie experience broken for me and she did an amazing job. The shear range of emotion she displays as events unfold was astonishing and, at times, heart-breaking. Her performance was haunting and she definitely embodied Maleficent.
Elle Fanning did a great job at what she needed to do. Be young, innocent, and pretty. It’s clear Maleficent is the far more intriguing character and it’s kind of amazing more Disney films don’t have more fleshed out heroes. You could even argue Maleficent IS the protagonist at times in the film.
I can’t go any further without mentioning the costumes. Maleficent would have given even Lady GaGa a run for her money. I don’t think she wore the same costume twice! Looking BAD has never looked so GOOD!
The story starts with Maleficent as a young girl, flying and exploring the moors, the magic kingdom next to the kingdom of Men. She meets a young boy , Stephen, and they grow up together and fall in love. He later leaves and loses touch with her. Classic case of a woman scorned.
In the moors, Maleficent is seen protecting her home from the threat of man. She has not yet taken to outright evil and only seeks to defend the moors.
One day, the King of men sends an envoy to flush out and destroy her once and for all. Among them, is her love, Stephen. It turns out, a trap has been set for our poor hero (villain). Playing on her trust and love, Maleficent is poisoned and unconscious. Upon waking, she finds her wings missing. Her most prominent and powerful feature has been removed. This was a truly heart-wrenching scene to watch. You can feel the betrayal and the hurt that must have crushed the goodness in her.
Through the power of her wings, we learn that Stephen has become King! This only enrages her further and causes her to act. At this point, the events begin to tie-in to Sleeping Beauty. Maleficent makes her grand entrance and seeks her revenge. Just like the original movie, the child of the King is cursed, but just like the original, there is a clause as well. The curse can be broken with true love’s first kiss.
Here, events begin to diverge from Sleeping Beauty and an old classic is told anew. The princess Aurora is hiding in the woods. As we learn, however, she has not escaped Maleficent’s notice. It turns out our evil “fairy godmother” and her trusty crow sidekick have been keeping a watchful eye on Aurora. Initially, it appears as if this is solely the act of an investor watching carefully over her investment. It turns out, however, that Maleficent might have a soft spot for Aurora. They begin to develop a relationship, her identity unbeknownst to Aurora. Maleficent shows Aurora the ways of the moors and Aurora begins to appreciate and love this other kingdom. In Aurora, Maleficent sees an opportunity to unite these two kingdoms (as any good entrepreneur would).
Things start to get shaky when the curse on Aurora is forcibly removed to disastrous affect. It turns out, due to careful wording, Maleficent cannot undo what she has done. The day before Aurora’s sixteenth birthday, she meets Prince Phillip and yada yada it’s a Disney movie. But as we all know, Aurora must prick her finger and fall into that deep sleep. Good thing there’s a Prince to give her “true love’s first kiss”. Except it doesn’t work! In her grief, Maleficent pours her heart out, knowing she has caused Aurora this terrible fate. She doesn’t beg forgiveness, knowing the curse she cast an unforgivable act. In this moment of sadness and deep regret, Maleficent places a single kiss on our princess’ forehead. Eureka! An act of true love! It seems Maleficent has some good left in her heart after all.
At the climax of the film, Aurora and Maleficent make a run for the moors. Hot in pursuit, King Stephen and his men begin the witch hunt. In an epic turn of events, Maleficent changes her crow sidekick into a dragon! Aurora finds Maleficent’s wings during the battle and sets them free. They magically reattach and the final battle is won. In an act of mercy, King Stephen is spared. Not one to miss an opportunity, King Stephen attacks again when her guard is down. This act, cannot be forgiven. King Stephen falls to his death.
Aurora is now ruler of Men and also crowed ruler of the Moors uniting the kingdoms. Maleficent lovingly crowns Aurora, and is allowed her redemption. With Aurora on the throne and Maleficent with her wings back, all is right with the world. With order restored, our hero (villain) flies off into the sunset.
Overall, a great movie and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it! If I have one nit pick (and I do), I wish that the actor they casted as Prince Philip was a bit older. He seemed very young and inexperienced. It wasn’t quite believable that he would be off alone, sent as a diplomat form another kingdom .
Amazing Maleficent shirts now available!