Acts of true love are everywhere in our fiction. In many of these narratives, performing an act of true love—such as a kiss—has the magical ability to save someone from certain death brought about by a curse. In many older Disney films and fairy tale stories, true love is almost always portrayed as romantic. Recently, though, we’ve gotten a few new interpretations on the mythos. In the new Sleeping Beauty movie, Maleficent, a platonic kiss Maleficent gives Aurora saves her life. And in Once Upon A Time, Emma saves her son Henry with a motherly kiss on his forehead. Then there’s Frozen, which, between the sisters Anna and Elsa, gives us yet another interpretation of true love, one that I like far more.
Fairy tales have been retold time and again throughout our history, and the versions of popular stories differ depending on what year and in which culture the stories are being told. For example, in the oldest version of Cinderella, her slipper is made of gold, and in the version popularized by Disney, the slipper is made of glass. And who can forget Tangled’s Rapunzel saying, “I have magic hair that glows when I sing!” (I sure can’t.) These smaller differences only served to make stories that were meant to teach morals a little more fanciful. But there have been bigger differences as well.
Recently a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, Maleficent, hit theaters. As you know or might have guessed from the title, it’s a retelling of Sleeping Beauty from the evil fairy’s point of view. It added a whole magical world full of fairy creatures onto the original kingdom ruled by King Stefan. But in the original tale, fairies didn’t exist, and obviously none of the “magic” they performed did either.
Trigger warning for rape after the jump.
Huzzah, Maleficent is finally here! Ace wrote about this project back in November, which seems like a long time ago, but one could say this movie has been in the making much longer than that. The awe-inspiring “Mistress of All Evil” hails from Walt Disney’s 1959 film Sleeping Beauty. This means that for fifty-five years she has managed to captivate the imagination and fascination of viewers everywhere, culminating in this 2014 blockbuster starring one of Hollywood’s most famous actresses. Now, the wicked fairy has been a staple of original Sleeping Beauty-esque myths since their centuries-old origins; originally she is nameless, later she’s occasionally known as Carabosse, before making her unforgettable debut as Maleficent in Disney’s version of the tale. Maleficent’s unique aesthetics and commanding voice have made her sinister presence singularly stand out among many Disney villains, and Angelina Jolie captured these characteristics masterfully in her film. But aside from its powerhouse main character, how did the rest of the movie stack up? Unfortunately, I’d give it an “eh”.
I am super excited to see this movie. Villains have always been some of my favorite characters, so having an entire movie dedicated to one of Disney’s most notorious villains practically has me dying in anticipation.