If there are two things you can take away from Disney’s Maleficent 3D, it is that there truly are two sides to every story. She might be deemed Mistress of All Evil, but what series of events led to her becoming that way?
Maleficent takes us way, way back to the Fairy’s childhood. As a radiant young girl, she falls in love – despite a great divide between Humans and Fairies – with a young boy named Stefan. As it happens in life, ambition takes us in different directions and her heart is broken irreversibly in abandonment. We move forward several years where Stefan (Sharlto Copley) aspires to become King, succeeding a frail King Henry (Kenneth Cranham) who is shamed by Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) in a battle of territory. To earn his place on the throne, Stefan must rid of the ever-threatening Maleficent and he accomplishes this by ridding her of the all-important wings which empower her.
With the wrath of a Lover’s scorn, we witness the arrival of beautiful Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) – daughter of King Stefan – who is cursed by Maleficent to fall into deep slumber on her 16th birthday to be awakened only by True Love’s kiss. To protect his precious Aurora, King Stefan sends her far, far away, to be cared for by three watchful, bumbling Pixies named Knotgrass (Imelda Staunton), Flittle (Leslie Manville) and Thistlewit (Juno Temple). Little do they know though that Maleficent never is further than a shadow away. As Aurora’s affectionately-coined Fairy Godmother, even she to is not immune to Princess Aurora’s effervescent charms. As time passes, even Maleficent realizes she too is unable reverse her own dreaded curse. Is it too late for Princess Aurora’s life to be spared of a doomed fate and what will it take for to thaw Maleficent’s frozen heart?
I commend Disney for making a conscious decision to right some of the delusions and slanted ideals which our Generation possesses about life and love. Recent Powerhouses like Brave, Frozen and now the magnificent Maleficent, communicate a positive message to young girls and boys that perhaps finding love isn’t the be all, end all. The friendships and bonds we form along the way hold just as much bearing on the people we become.
Yes, Director Robert Stromberg takes several liberties from The Brothers Grimm’s iconic Sleeping Beauty blueprint, but it is impossible not to be drawn-in by the extravagant display of visuals and of course, Jolie’s compelling performance. She empowers Maleficent with the strength of an Action Hero and is heartbreakingly vulnerable at once as a tortured soul. Never for a moment do we not revel in delight when she is her most evilly- delicious self. The A-List Star has absolute fun with the role and one cannot help but think that the seeds have been planted for a potential Franchise?
Fanning continues to make her mark among Young Hollywood as one of a handful of important names to watch, possessing a natural magnetic presence on-screen which we got a great glimpse of in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere and Sally Potter’s Ginger & Rosa. Rising Star Sam Riley as Diaval, Maleficent’s shapeshifting Sidekick, pairs perfectly with Jolie adding elements of humour throughout this engaging Tale.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada release MALEFICENT 3D on Friday, May 30, 2013.