When a classic tale gets re-told to a new audience, we always ask if it will hold a candle to it’s predecessor. In Maleficent, not only does it measure up to the story in which the title character is born (Maleficent was created for Disney’s classic, Sleeping Beauty) but gives movie goers a whole new look at Maleficent. One that may not be as terrifying as she seems.
The movie begins just as any classic fairy tale, with a narrator and a tale of a young fairy (Isobelle Molloy) with big, gorgeous wings acting as a protector of the moors against humans. When she meets a young farmhand, and befriends him. An unlikely friendship blossoms to a puppy dog romance between Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and Stefan (Sharlto Copley), who we learn is not as he seems. Stefan is an ambitious young man, and when he over hears the King offering not only his daughter’s hand in marriage, but to be appointed his successor to whoever defeats Maleficent (after she embarrasses him when she protects the moors from his army), he devises a plan. He does the unthinkable, and not only takes Maleficent’s wings but breaks her heart, and turns her into the Maleficent we know of today.
Stefan marries and is King, and on the birth of his daughter, Aurora…well, this part you know, Maleficent curses Aurora to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and, yea… sleep til first love’s kiss. Everything that happens after is the tale we never heard before and I don’t want to say too much, other than Maleficent is really not evil, and, in fact, she’s more like the grown Aurora (Elle Fanning) sees her, a fairy godmother.
So, the burning question- is Maleficent for kids? My answer…maybe. It really depends on your child. My 6 year old daughter is going to love it and I am taking her tonight. There are some slightly scary scenes (like the dragon and some violence), and the cinematography is a bit dark, but it also teaches some moral lessons like not judging a book by it’s cover and true love is not always a prince coming to save you. Angelina Jolie is stunning (and I mean beyond her always gorgeousness) as Maleficent. In a way, it just seems like a role she was meant to play. From the look to the voice and mannerisms, Jolie nails it and will leave fans hoping for another installment just to here her say “Well…well.”
Let’s not forget the adorable Elle Fanning, who is ridiculously sweet and yet perfectly layered with emotion as Aurora, Sam Riley as the perfect balance to Maleficent as her servant-turns friend Diaval and Sharlto Copley as the conniving boy who turns into a King that descends into a sort of madness. Overall- a fantastic fairy tale for today’s new family.
Maleficent is rated PG and opens May 30.