‘Maleficent’ takes flight in the modern age

Angelina Jolie stars in Disney's "Maleficent." (Disney Enterprises, Inc./MCT)

Angelina Jolie stars in Disney’s “Maleficent.” (Disney Enterprises, Inc./MCT)

Angelina Jolie’s wickedly charming role brought in $70 million during its opening weekend. The enchanting twist on a Disney classic was released May 30, with fans rushing to see Jolie take on the evil villainess.

“Maleficent” revamped the classic Disney tale of “Sleeping Beauty” by focusing on the evil fairy, challenging existing assumptions about the troubled character. Maleficent’s story is expanded, and viewers are able to see her youthful cheer, love and love lost.

The movie begins with beautiful and lush CGI-created forests and hills called the Moors. Panning over the landscape, which opened into a field and the castle, the view was reminiscent of the opening moments of ABC show “Once Upon a Time.”

Maleficent as a young girl was content; she flew around with her feathered wings and helped to protect her landscape from the political hunger of kings. Maleficent meets a young boy named Stephen who changes her mind about the people outside of the Moors. As they grow up together, they fall in love.

But Maleficent becomes a lover scorned when Stephen stops visiting her as often as he takes on a more involved role at the castle.

On the King’s deathbed, he tells Stephen and his other subjects that whoever kills Maleficent will be his successor. Stephen goes to the Moors to rekindle his romance with Maleficent and, instead of killing her, cuts off her wings.

“Maleficent” is the story of a good girl turned evil who meets redemption and remembers her younger attitude by the end of the movie. She realizes the definition of true love.

The idea of “true love” is a concept highlighted in almost all Disney movies. In Disney’s popular animated film “Frozen,” true love took a twist away from prince and princess and became the fruit of two sisters. “Maleficent” follows suit by steering away from “true love” between a prince and princess.

Speaking of true love, the prince sent to wake Princess Aurora from her sleep had a head of hair akin to a member of a boy band. His horse was headed in “one direction” when they took the “backstreets.” The prince became comedic relief for the film.

Overall, “Maleficent” was visually stunning (Angelina Jolie, those cheekbones!) with the Moors and costumes. Despite the predictable storyline, it was fascinating to see the good side of such a terrifyingly scary character.

 

Reach the reporter at arabusa@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @marie_eo