Do you know how long I was looking forward to Maleficent? I had big expectations for Disney's rewrite of its own film of Sleeping Beauty, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed! There are so many things I want to rave about but can't without giving away spoilers, so I'm doing a compromise: the first part of this review will be spoiler free, and the second part will be SPOILERS GALORE. I will give a warning before the shift happens. So the first rewrite is the character of Maleficent, the famous villainess turned sympathetic anti-villainess. There is not a moment in this movie that I dislike Maleficent, because even though she does bad things, I understand why. My mother and I noticed that after the big betrayal that hardens Maleficent's heart, her costume changes from earthy brown colors to midnight black. It's a great symbolic representation of the shift in Maleficent's attitude, but at the same time there are still many hints that she has not lost her inner goodness despite her pain.
Even though she calls Aurora a "beastie," she is shown to be the one who really watches over and takes care of the princess, not the three (incompetent) other fairies. Maleficent (and her crow friend whose name I'm sorry not to remember) work behind the scenes to make sure Aurora is safe. Meanwhile, I laughed out loud several times during this movie, which I hadn't expected but I was pleasantly surprised by. Maleficent has all the good comedic lines, which thrills me. In so many ways, the movie reverses the traditional roles of fairy tales that Disney itself has promoted in the past. Y'all know how much I appreciated that after taking Core 2: Approaches to the Fairy Tale at Scripps. In the fairy tales, any woman with power is evil and ugly, while all the good women are beautiful but entirely passive. With Maleficent, things get a little more (way) complicated than that. Between her character arc, the amazing special effects, and total revamp of the tale we used to know, I'd say Maleficent is a MUST-SEE.
SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT
At this point, probably only my dad is reading this because Maleficent literally just came out this weekend and so he's the only one following me who's probably seen it. That's okay. Hey, Dad. Anyway, so the best part for me is actually something that I really loved about Frozen: namely, the true love's kiss being turned on its head. I was really hoping that we wouldn't get a regurgitation of Prince Philip's kiss saving Aurora, so I was glad that Maleficent was the one who ended up doing the rescuing. Not only was it an ironic twist that the one who cast the spell breaks the spell, but also, it is a delineation of feminine power in a much more positive light in comparison to fairy tales and old Disney princess movies. In the meantime, the ambitious Stefan becomes the villain that's very reminiscent of Macbeth. His doomed romance with Maleficent and his slow descent into insanity leave me nothing to sympathize with by the movie's end. Unlike Maleficent, he was a relatively flat character that really isn't worthy of further comment. I think I've at last finished my ranting about Maleficent, so I'll end the post with this: the movie is awesome, and DOWN WITH THE PATRIARCHY! :P