Maleficent Review

2 Jun

Yesterday, I saw this movie. I’m about to go into detail, so…

*Spoiler Alert* If you don’t wish to be spoiled, don’t read.

Maleficent_live_action

I’m just going to begin by sharing with you the general synopsis.

This story is about a fairy named Maleficent. She was just like any other spunky, lively little girl.

The land had been divided between two different kingdoms. The Moors, where Maleficent lives, is the only part of the land where greedy humans were not allowed to touch. It borders the human kingdom. The Moors is a place full of magical creatures and a lovely paradise-like environment.

One day, a little boy finds his way into the Moors. Little Maleficent finds him, and forms a friendship with him. His name is Stefan. Predictably, they become lovers. But the two can barely see each other because they live such different lives.

Stefan’s dream was to live and work in the castle. He grows up to be a loyal servant of the court. Maleficent grows up to be the protector of the Moors. Of course, the Moors meet with much opposition from the king of the human kingdom, who wants the magical Moors to be a part of his kingdom. The king of that land (who remains nameless to me), gets trumped by Maleficent, who uses her enormous wings to knock the wind out of him. She and her tree minions wipe out the king’s army. So, on his dying bed, he makes a decree that any man who slays Maleficent will be the next king. Stefan was so ambitious about being king, he took advantage of his relationship with Maleficent and cut off her wings, betraying her, and becoming the king.

Thus, Maleficent’s plot for revenge begins…

I want to focus on several concerns of mine.

This is another “villain-is-the-victim” story, not that I haven’t heard it before.

Wicked, The Great and Powerful Oz, and Frozen all seemed like they were trying to bring a “misunderstood” element to someone who appears to be a “villain” to the world. Disney has been trying to make everything “edgier” by moving away from their usual fairy-tale methods. Just about every movie is trying to turn authority figures into criminals, creating the image of a “dystopia”. Every movie is competing to be edgier than the last, to be deeper, and more thought-provoking. It appeals to “adults” that way. I guess this helps box office hits…

Because everyone’s doing it, this movie’s concepts weren’t very unique.

This movie pushes the “misandrist” agenda that turns the “evil female” villain into a victim because of a male, usually portrayed as the true “monster”. I really am tired of males being shamed in this way. The males in this movie were utterly useless or evil. The whole message is no longer effective. It’s a tired attempt to draw females into this movie, and push males to look at females as helpless victims blaming males for all of the problems in the world (though statistics support that men create more problems in the world than females, but that’s the point. What kind of role-models do we give our boys?).

What really disturbs me is that I didn’t see much difference between Maleficent or the Wicked Witch of the West from The Great and Powerful Oz. There is always curiosity when it comes to villains. People always wonder how they became so evil, and I suppose it is better to give a motive than for someone to be evil for no apparent reason. I mean, look at all the excuses we’re making for all of these mass murderers (he had autism, he was bullied, the divorce did it, etc), so it’s no surprise Maleficent was a victim, too. But why does every female villain have to have the same motive? Male villains are always so much more interesting because their motives vary.

Despite the fact that they tried to insert a motive, this movie really doesn’t tell us anything about the original Maleficent’s past. 1) It doesn’t tell us how she got the name Maleficent, which means evil. 2) They never explained anything about her parents or her relationship with the other three fairies. We don’t know where Maleficent comes from. At least in the Peter Pan spin-off, Tinkerbell, all of that was given, even if hinted. They were also successful in translating her feisty personality into her own series…Something this version failed to do.

Maleficent and the Wicked Witch of the West from The Great and Powerful Oz are almost the same in the fact that both became evil for the EXACT SAME REASON. I was actually hoping for a different kind of background story (perhaps the king had wiped out the Moors?)…and I was hoping they wouldn’t deal with the whole “broken-hearted” tragedy concept that had been done so often by Disney. I mean, they should know that Disney fans would see this movie, and some Disney fans who have seen every Disney movie would find this concept repetitive and not very stimulating.

Frozen did the same thing: Anna falls in love with a man who turns out to be taking advantage of her “naive” heart. It was…predictable.

I’m not against these lessons. I feel that today’s youth is very naive when it comes to romance. These tween movies today paint an unrealistic portrayal of love and relationships, causing harm and damage to youth who believe these movies to reflect a long-lasting future in reality. Most of the concepts in tween movies are just illusions. This movie presented a cautionary tale for female youths. But do you have to bash this message over their heads, over and over again? I couldn’t help it. I found myself saying, sarcastically, “Let me guess? That guy will turn on her.”

Now, the movie strays a bit from the original tale. If you come in looking for Sleeping Beauty, you might not get it the way you expect.

Spin-offs and sequels seem to mark modern-day movies. It’s really becoming a trend to make Villain-into-hero spin-offs.

It’s alright not to have everything the same. There were many changes to the story that I appreciated and understood. For instance, the fact that love’s first kiss wasn’t by Prince Phillip, but from Maleficent. Maleficent had formed a close mother-daughter bond with Aurora in this tale. Aurora only knew Philip for one day, so his kiss failed. Yea, the trailer was misleading. But this twist wasn’t that bad. I can understand it. It makes it more appealing to the LGBT community. Not everyone looks at love the same, and I think it’s fair to focus on family love because it relates to all people. It also shows people the idea that love can come from many different kinds of people. It teaches children that true love is developed, and it is never instant. However, does it really matter who saved the day if the damsel-in-distress is still a GIRL?

While some changes made things more fair, it didn’t necessarily make a better story. It’s alright to push an agenda…when it’s done in an original story with original characters. In an already constructed story, it just feels forced to appeal to modern society. While Angelina Jolie did an amazing job as Maleficent (she was the best part of this movie), some of Maleficent’s dark charm was gone. The magic was gone. The true evil was destroyed to make her into one of these sickeningly righteous characters. She became…well, a victim. Which is kind of lame. Sometimes, there’s no sense in fixing what isn’t broken. I can’t even enjoy Sleeping Beauty the same. And Maleficent means evil…I still don’t understand why that was her name BEFORE she became evil…

Because she lost all of her charm, I feel like I didn’t know this character. She was not Maleficent, the sinister villain of Sleeping Beauty, but some other character that’s called “evil” for no apparent reason…Who just so happened to also be named Maleficent. I’m sorry, I came because I thought I would hear the story of Disney’s original Maleficent, not this new woman who just so happens to look like the original Maleficent, but act nothing like her…

For once, I want to see a female play a really juicy villain, like in old-time film We Drive By Night (ooohh, she was sinister, but that’s why it was good) . Women are always made into super good-girls, with no bad thoughts or motives (unless played by martyr or victim). But villains make a story good. Without a good villain, there is never a good story.

If Disney really wanted Maleficent to seem like a victim, why not use the original Sleeping Beauty tale? If anyone knows the real tale of Sleeping Beauty, she kind of was already a victim in the original story. She wasn’t invited to the party, was overlooked by the king, and was angry at being treated like an outcast by everyone, including the fairies. I wish Disney had really gone back into Maleficent’s true roots. But throwing in the romance? Almost useless and pointless.

Read about the Original Sleeping Beauty Tale-Click Me

At least Disney got the fairy part right. In the original tale, Maleficent WAS a fairy.

I really don’t enjoy stories told this way. It feels like a fan fiction.

While these changes seemed forced to bring a sympathetic crowd, the overall movie moved along. There was plenty of action. The movie was okay if we separate it from the original story and look at this movie as it’s own tale. Though most of the story centers around Maleficent watching Aurora, which wasn’t very interesting and very creepy, the development between Maleficent and Aurora was still not strong enough…Well, I’ll say the development between them was done better than the development between Prince Phillip and Aurora. Aurora herself was a bit one-dimensional and boring.

Some historical inconsistencies were distracting (a black guy living in Medieval England? Maleficent in leather pants?), but if you don’t pay much attention to detail, the movie was pretty smart for a PG movie.

Another plus for the movie is that it’s number 1 at the box office. Women are kicking butt! Female heroines are proving that not just men make excellent box office hits. I feel we have Katniss Everdeen to thank for that trend ;). And hey, I’m happy women are doing better at the box office, I just wish the concept was a little more original, the gaps were filled, and I wish Maleficent was actually true to her character. Because of this, it almost feels like it doesn’t really deserve to have such high box office hits. But they did succeed in making it “edgier”. Even Lana Del Ray’s version of “Once Upon a Dream” was more sober and melancholy, though it was disappointing that it wasn’t played anywhere in the actual movie.

Overall, I give the movie a 7/10. It’s an alright movie. Forgettable, a little off, and unoriginal, but there were a few cool action scenes. They butchered Maleficent’s character horribly. But the acting was good behind a horribly written script.

I was a bit disappointed in this movie. The trailer was misleading. I personally wouldn’t have spent money on the movie had I known it would be like this. I felt I wasted my money. I feel this movie is something you should get on DVD. But I can’t speak for everyone.

Here are other good reviews:

http://io9.com/how-could-disney-do-this-to-maleficent-1585013187

http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2014/06/maleficent-pitch-meeting

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3 Responses to “Maleficent Review”

  1. generationnext 2014/07/16 at 15:29 #

    Reblogged this on Generation Next and commented:

    This comes up again… #Throwback Summer

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Trailer for the Live Adaptation of Cinderella + GN’s Top 14 Favorite Disney Movies of All Time | Generation Next - 2014/11/27

    […] My opinions on the trailer? I LOVE it! For once, it appears to be EXACTLY like Disney’s animated movie. Hopefully, it isn’t deceitful like the Maleficent movie was. That movie was such a let down. If you want to know my reasons why, I have the review right here —>Maleficent Review . […]

    Like

  2. Frozen Review | Generation Next - 2016/06/01

    […] in butchered up stories that don’t make sense. That’s exactly what they did with Maleficent. That means more rushed, stuffed, and “merchandising” movies in the future. The movie […]

    Like

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