This is the “real” story of how Maleficent came to be what we believe to be a villain and how her past influenced the actions that she takes in the story of Sleeping Beauty that we all remember…
Once upon a time, Maleficent was not evil. She was not brash, nor mean-spirited, nor disliked. She was happy… and she was beautiful.
For obvious reasons, I went into this movie thinking that this story would try to make Maleficent the protagonist, wanting the audience to sympathize with her and somehow providing justification and a blanket acceptance for why she cursed Aurora. And while Disney did a good job of explaining why Maleficent did what she did, the story evolves in such a way that the audience is not expected to be accepting of Maleficent’s curse. This movie does not want to convince the audience that there is a better, more understandable side to the story; it is actually quite the opposite. The other side of the story kind of leaves you feeling almost ambivalent but slightly more sympathetic, and I think that was the intention: to just appreciate that there is another important actor in this story whose motives may have been unclear.
This story also shows what happens in the sixteen years that lapse between Aurora’s birth and when she pricks her finger. Further, it follows almost a more logical, human way of thinking… Like, what former credentials do three fairies have that enable them to raise a human child? And why is the crow so dedicated to a witch?
As always, true love is tested to its limits, but this is a Disney movie, so there has to be a happy ending…
If I am being completely honest, Angelina Jolie is far from my favorite actress; however, this is an iconic role that I feel like was made for her. She is absolutely stunning and delivers an awesome performance. Elle Fanning also did a great job playing the open-minded, sheltered Aurora; I tend to forget that Aurora is a sixteen year-old shut-in who is ignorant to the majority of the outside world, but it was refreshing to see Elle’s acting as Aurora reacts to many experiences for the first time.
I have to mention the artistry that went into this movie as well. The detail—from the castle, to the creatures, to the fairy wings—was spectacular. I saw it in IMAX 3D, so it was that much more visually stunning. I definitely recommend seeing it in 3D at the very least if you can.