A Look Back: Maleficent

Maleficent

There are people who are loud to claim that they are the biggest fans of a certain Disney Princess movie, and there are some people who aren’t so loud about it. I’m a mix of both. I’m a fanatic for all things Sleeping Beauty, but alas! I’m one of those who stick to the “Her dress is BLUE, not PINK” part of the argument. That said, I have very little to no memorabilia of Sleeping Beauty. I will admit that when I first heard about Angelina Jolie being cast as my all-time favorite villain, I was hesitant about watching it. Then, I heard that Elle Fanning was cast as Aurora, and I became more nervous about the movie. Well, when my husband and I went to watch it in theaters, I kept a bit tight lipped about the whole thing, except to say: Go watch it. It’s worth it. Jolie was good. Forget everything you know about the story. With that, I give you my warning: ***WARNING: THERE WILL BE SOME SPOILERS. SO, IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE MOVIE AND PLAN ON WATCHING, PLEASE STOP READING. THANK YOU. ***

As usual, I’m not going to go through the entire movie. First and foremost, I want to applaud the movie’s graphics team and Jolie’s makeup/costume design team. They really did a great job. When I started reading about the behind the scenes stuff, the horns really got me. I *bow* to Jolie for having to deal with the different variances of the horns.

Okay, now for the nitty gritty… Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed watching a totally different take on my favorite Princess story. I was fascinated by the “history” of Maleficent, but my brain just couldn’t approve of the whole King Stefan and Maleficent twist. It saddens me to see that all stories about “Sleeping Beauty” abandons Aurora’s mother to a non-speaking role or worse (as is the case in this movie), kills her off. Alas… I understand why Hollywood does it, but it’s still unsettling for the part of me that is a fan of the story.

I do have to give kudos to Isobelle Molloy for her portrayal of young Maleficent. I absolutely fell in love with her! She was a natural in the role, so much so that when Stefan betrayed grown Maleficent, my thoughts went straight to Molloy’s Maleficent. What would she think of such a betrayal? Would her innocence be completely destroyed? Though it seems as if Jolie’s Maleficent (before the betrayal) was completely innocent, she already knew the ins and outs of battle against man. Young Maleficent knew the danger of man, yet she was still curious about man’s world… aka the world of humans… the non-magical ones. HA!

A couple of pet peeves of mine regarding the movie: Aurora’s fairy godmothers. Many in the general public do not see a difference between faeries and pixies. Faery is the name in general form and sense. Pixie is a specific type of faery, and Aurora’s godmothers were not pixies. A pixie is usually a young fae that is mischievous and playful; not a responsible type. Imelda Staunton’s Knotgrass was not a young fae. Depending on who you ask in the Pagan circle, mythical studies, and/or Wiccan practice, you may also hear that pixies are the “uh oh” type among the faes. This is because their pranks tend to cause accidents, whether it be good or bad. They are – in my opinion – borderline sprite (again, depending on who you ask, a sprite can be good or evil and their pranks tend to have a dangerous hint to them.) instead of worthy of caring for a princess. In this case, when I heard “pixies” mentioned, I cringed and mentally scolded the script writer and everyone in Hollywood for abandoning the word “fairy” for the movie’s sake. *sigh*

flora-fauna-merryweatherAnother “thing” I had regarding the godmothers: NAMES! What in the world does “Flittle” mean? Is “Knotgrass” and “Thistlewit” flowers? You can’t mess around with what is already a commonly accepted thing, and names are one of those things. The original godmothers’ names had meaning behind them. (I’m going to show my true colors of the literary sort for a second.) Flora (aka Knotgrass) – the red fairy – gave the gift of beauty as she is the fairy of the flowers (thus her name FLORA… for flowers) and is able to manipulate the appearance(s) of flowers. Fauna (aka Thistlewit) – the green fairy – gave the gift of song as she is the fairy of animals (again, her name reflects her ability) and is believed to have taught birds to sing. (Which is another reasoning behind Aurora’s ability to communicate well with the woodland creatures.) knotgrass-thistlewit-flittleMerryweather… My favorite godmother… (aka Flittle) – the blue fairy – was the one who gave the counter spell to Maleficent’s curse. In this movie, she gave a gift, and it wasn’t to counter the curse! Maleficent retracted her spell and *spoiler* broke her own spell. Merryweather’s namesake is what it is: merry-weather… or good weather… as she’s responsible for the kingdom’s good weather (and bad, depending on her mood). Now knowing what Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather have to do with the story of Aurora, doesn’t “Knotgrass”, “Thistlewit”, and “Flittle” make very little to no sense except to make a mockery of what was supposed to make sense?

I could go on for hours about the three pixie godmothers of the movie, but I’m going to stop myself and reflect on a few smaller pieces:

  1. I found it interesting how Diaval was given a human form, and Sam Riley was excellent! It was also intriguing how Maleficent was able to turn him into whatever she pleased and how obedient he was. Though, I don’t recall him being so… soft… when it came to Aurora. In the movie, he was the Maleficent’s voice of reason or so it seemed. In the story, he was merely her confidante in bird form, so he could have been a she for all we knew.
  2. Copley A-TeamStefan was/is Kruger from Elysium! He’s my favorite of the revamped The A-Team, Murdock! I love that guy! That guy being Sharlto Copley, who I always forget his first name due to its uniqueness, which is really weird, I know. Talking about Stefan: What was up with the ending? So messed up! Not cool! On the other hand, it does make for a great story.
  3. Prince Phillip – portrayed by Brenton Thwaites, who is also the lead in the end of summer movie, The Giver – was so shallow. He wasn’t even witty or charming or anything like the story. phillip long hairPhillip was AGAINST the arranged marriage from the beginning. (I’m not even going to go into the whole “He didn’t even exist in the original story”.) He was in the woods to clear his head and rationalize the fixed marriage when he bumped into Briar Rose, and half the fun with Phillip was his loyal and noble steed, Samson. So not impressed.
  4. The part I was most looking forward to… the Dragon. *sigh* It was quite awe inspiring, but it was Diaval who was turned into a dragon. That’s not a terrifying for me as Maleficent herself turning into a dragon. While the graphics was amazing, it would’ve been cooler to see her transform instead of her turning Diaval from bird to dragon. Either way… I love dragons. They’re so big and powerful and *squeal*!

Diaval dragon

Diaval (top) and Maleficent (bottom)maleficent dragon

In the end of it all, I was thoroughly entertained by Maleficent. Though I had to erase my memory during the whole movie of the story I’ve come to love and cherish since I was four years old, I enjoyed the twisted version of the story.

Overall, I give Maleficent:

movie clappermovie clappermovie clappermovie clapper

4 out of 5 clappers

(a) Point of View
(b) Great main cast (Maleficent, Stefan, Aurora)
(c) Excellent graphics design
(d) Excellent costumes

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