5 Reasons To See Maleficent!
Since the release of Disney’s classic animated film Sleeping Beauty in 1959, Maleficent has been Disney’s most beloved villain. This dark fairy first appeared to wreak vengeance on the king by casting a curse on his newborn daughter. But whilst Maleficent was the villainess, her mischievousness, memorable one-liners, and genuine dark glee made her one of the most interesting and compelling characters in the story. Her appeal has endured for more than 50 years and now Disney has given her a live-action film of her own.
“Don’t believe the fairy tale,” the tag line reads, promising a whole new spin on this fascinating character. Played by Angelina Jolie, the film will show us a new side of Maleficent and explain her descent into evil!
The film is released today, so why should you go and see it?
Taking the helm is director Robert Stromberg, best known as the production designer on Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and James Cameron’s Avatar. He certainly has the experience to pull off a film heavy-laden with special effects and that’s precisely what he’ll be doing here. Sleeping Beauty tantalises the audience with magic, flying creatures, and even a dragon, so seeing those brought to life will be a treat.
2. Linda Woolverton
Linda Woolverton is a staple of Disney’s writing team, having penned The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (and its forthcoming sequel) and even having worked on Mulan. With that kind of writing experience behind her, it’s hard to imagine anyone else who could take a classic Disney story and give it a modern twist. To flesh out a classic villainess and give her a full back-story, whilst keeping that Disney flavour, Woolverton is a great choice.
3. Fairies, ravens, and magic!
In the original animation there are flying fairies, eerie brambles full of thorns, green smoky magic, and even a dragon. Seeing some of these classic moments come to life will be especially satisfying for long-time fans.
Sam Riley, who was fantastic as Pinkie in the film adaptation of Graham Green’s dark tale, Brighton Rock, stars as the classic character of Diaval, a raven-made-man and Maleficent’s faithful servant. We also get to see the three good fairies, whose hopeless clumsiness and mischief adds to the comedy. Imelda Staunton is Knotgrass, Juno Temple is Thistletwit, and Leslie Manville is Flittle. But the one creature everyone will be waiting to see is the dragon!
4. Re-writing the past.
Sleeping Beauty is a classic, but parts of it haven’t aged too well. Prince Phillip’s spontaneous wooing of Briar Rose in the forest may have been charming in 1959, but it comes across as a little creepy nowadays. Over the years, Disney has been on the receiving end of some harsh criticisms about the problematic staples of their films: helpless princesses and romantic love triumphing over all. In recent years, they’ve made great efforts to change this – from Brave’s independent and spirited Merida, to the brilliant subversion of “true love” at the end of Frozen. Updating tired tropes for a new audience is something they do well, and hopefully that trend continues with Maleficent!
5. Heck, it’s Maleficent!
She’s dark, sexy, wise-cracking, sarcastic, gleeful, and powerful. Why wouldn’t you want to see her star in her own film?!