Maleficent, from Walt Disney Pictures, is out in theaters now, and I got to see an early showing in 3D. While this review is relatively spoiler-free, but there are bits of pieces of plot here and there so be warned!
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first thought about seeing Maleficent, and had toyed with the idea of watching Disney’s 1959 classic movie Sleeping Beauty again before I went to refresh my memory on the original story in order to appreciate this re-imagined screen play.
I am glad that I chose not to do that, because despite the comparisons this movie really stands by itself and flips whatever you expected of it.
Maleficent is the first 3D movie I have seen in the movie theater, and I’m glad it was as the effects were amazing and the scenes just beautiful!
When we first see Maleficent, she is a young girl, queen of the fairies (played by Isobelle Malloy & Ella Purnell) and despite animosity between their kingdom and the humans, she befriends a young boy who wanders into their land. Their love blossoms over the years, yet it was not meant to be. Soon his drive and passion to one day be King takes over, and their bond is broken.
Without giving away too many spoilers, the link between the animated Sleeping Beauty and this re-imagined story, cross over at the christening of the King and Queen’s daughter, Aurora. Yet here we are given a more plausible and heart wrenching reason as to what motivates Maleficent to curse Aurora in the first place.
It is at this point that Maleficent places that curse on Aurora, that on her 16th Birthday, she will prick her finger on a spindle and fall into a coma like sleep. The only thing that can awaken her is true love’s kiss.
The King, in fear of his daughter’s life, sends her off to a secret location in the woods to live with 3 flying pixies who are to raise her and bring her back to the kingdom one day after she turns 16 and no sooner. Maleficent, with her sidekick Diaval, a raven she saved from being killed earlier in the story that she changes from raven to human and other forms, find the house Aurora is hiding in and they begin watching from afar.
Eventually they end up meeting in the forest, and the moments between them as Aurora grows up, are some of my favorite parts of the movie. Aurora at 5 is actually played by Jolie’s daughter Vivienne Jolie-Pitt. The interactions between them are both beautiful, yet chilling, marred with the knowledge that Maleficent put this curse on Aurora years earlier.
The final part of the movie I will let readers experience first hand, as the twists and feelings of the scenes were visually and emotionally stunning. I wasn’t expecting quite the array of emotions that I experienced watching this movie, and I really feel like Angelina Jolie did a wonderful job as Maleficent! Jolie reportedly hand-selected Lana Del Ray to cover the original film’s song “Once Upon A Dream” (based on Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Waltz).
There are some fight scenes within this movie and strong imagery within the characters of the story, so while I recommend parental advisory for young or sensitive viewers, I do think families will enjoy discussing the comparisons and differences between Maleficent and the animated Sleeping Beauty Classic.
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