Ellee McClymont | On 10, Jun 2014
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned â€“ especially if the woman is Angelina Jolie wearing snakeskin devil horns.Â
A tale as old as time, Sleeping Beauty gets the full Missy Elliot treatment in Maleficent â€“ Disney puts itâ€™s thang down, flips it and reverses it. By that confusing lyrical reference, I mean to say that Maleficent reimagines the classic fairy tale from a whole new perspective â€“ that of the villain.
The film begins in a stunning, idyllic fairyland where a young Maleficent roams free. Sheâ€™s already the strongest fairy of them all and protects her land from the human kingdom who fear their magic. Soon enough, a love interest pops into her life and although he tells her he loves her, deep down heâ€™s thirsty for power â€“ isnâ€™t that always the way.
Stefan is a human, Maleficent a fairy, and soon things turn pretty sour – he chops off her wings in order to rule the kingdom, sending Maleficent into a spiral of anger, despair and vengeance. While we mere humans would bear the sadness of a cruel breakup with Ben and Jerryâ€™s and Imogen Heap, Maleficent goes one step further, shutting herself off from the world and turning her fairy wonderland into an emo forest, under constant nightfall.
Eventually Stefan and his new ladylove bear a child, and naturally Maleficent flips her lid. She rocks up to the christening, absolutely slaying it in all black everything, and performs the curse we all know so well on little baby Aurora. How you like them apples, Stefan!
The cursed yet adorable Aurora is shut away from the world and grows into a stunning, albeit sickly sweet teen (Elle Fanning) under the protection of three bumbling fairies. She unknowingly befriends Maleficent, who, as much as it pains her, has come to love Aurora from afar after all these years. Oh, the feels. Just as theyâ€™re planning a life of friendship together, Maleficent and Aurora find themselves up a certain creek without paddles â€“ Aurora learns her life is a lie, and Maleficent must bear the guilt of her curse as it comes to fruition.
Alas, the curse cannot be stopped, but it wouldnâ€™t be Disney without a triumphant ending, so donâ€™t fret. Everything works itself out in the end, and this time round thereâ€™s an expected, yet refreshing, slightly feminist twist.
As far as castings go, Angelina is a perfect 10 in this role. From her supernatural cheekbones to her horns and those wings, she should look like a face-contouring nightmare meets Hades in drag â€“ nope, still hot. Iâ€™m sure thousands of women are already planning their Maleficent inspired Halloween makeup but can I just say in advance I think it is something only Ange can pull off, so please, for your own good donâ€™t try it at home.
Elle Fanning is visually perfect as Aurora, and yet as soon as she opened her mouth I cringed. Thereâ€™s a fine balance between being so perfect everyone loves you, and being way too happy â€“ unfortunately for Elle she leans slightly too far towards the psychotically happy, probably a robot end of the scale.
Maleficent is a visually decadent reimagining of one of Disneyâ€™s most classic tales, and while itâ€™s copping a fair amount of criticism for deviating from the original â€“ whatâ€™s the point of a remake if nothing changes? Certainly Maleficent brings Sleeping Beauty into the 21st century, providing strong female characters and a complex character arc that was severely lacking in the classic of old.
Maleficent is in cinemas now.
Images sourced via screenrant.com & smcinema.com