Title: Maleficent

Director: Robert Stromberg

In theaters: May 30, 2014 from Walt Disney Pictures

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: PG

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Maleficent explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic Sleeping Beauty and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.

I’m a fairy tale lover and while Maleficent is a re-make of Disney’s own re-make of Sleeping Beauty, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a gorgeous movie, from costumes to scenery, even the CGI creatures.

The movie starts out with Maleficent as a young fairy in the moors. She meets a farm hand and they end up falling in love. And he grows up, becomes an adult who wants power and riches, and he betrays her. He drugs her so she falls asleep, and chickens out of killing her, instead cutting off her wings. It was his quest to kill her in order to win a princess in marriage and become king, but he uses the wings as proof of his success. Interesting that the evil fairy here is the one violated while asleep. In “Sun, Moon and Talia,” it’s the sleeping beauty who’s raped while asleep.

I had wings once, and they were strong. They could carry me above the clouds and into the headwinds, and they never faltered. Not even once.

It was a nice step up for the man, but Maleficent is a dangerous enemy. And we get the scene where Maleficent curses the baby Aurora, very close to the original cartoon. And it’s a great scene. I do love Angelina Jolie and her Maleficent is spot on, not good, not evil, but a powerful woman. She’s a protector of the others, the moor’s creatures, the fairies and assorted odd beasties against the humans who, except in the party scene, are all males. It comes down to feminine magic against male chains and swords.

The story goes on a little differently than we expect. The hero who saves the girl is not a prince. It’s a story about love, but not the traditional love at first sight. It’s about a love that can grow and change you, about family that isn’t related by blood. It’s about confronting almost certain death to protect the ones you love. No wonder it made me tear up a little.

And there’s a dragon.

Of course, we get a happy ending – this is Disney. But it’s not a wedding, more of a coronation. And no prince/king in sight.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all.


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