A few weeks ago I went to the cinema to see the new Disney life action movie starring Angelina Jolie as Maleficent and Elle Fanning as Aurora aka Sleeping Beauty. I was a bit wary about this movie because it was turning everything I loved about Sleeping Beauty when I was a kid around. It changed the original story and I just was too stubborn to give it a chance. But after I while I cracked because of the good reviews it had been getting and my love for Disney convinced me to go anyway.
I was still wary so when I finally saw it I was happily surprised. This story goes into the story behind Maleficent her actions and evilness. It explains how she became the way she is. Where she and the three faeries came from. How she was connected to the kingdom and everything.
In this story the young Maleficent grows up in a land called the Moors, which is next to the land where humans live. These neighbors haven't been on good grounds lately. For some reason the humans always seem to want to start a war with the Moorlings, but they won't have it. Maleficent is just a young girl with wings. She seems like a mix between a faerie and a human. She is the only one of her kind but she doesn't seem to mind. She fits right in and loves her home and the people in it. She's the perfect innocent little girl. She will grow up to be the protector of the Moors.
One day she meets a young human boy called Stefan. He seems different than the other humans and over the years they get to know each other and fall in love. But even Stefan turns out to be more human than she anticipated and one day, he does not come to meet her and they grow apart. When the king of wants to take the Moors he fights Maleficent and the other Moorlings and gets hurt in the process. On his dying bed he demands his followers to kill Maleficent and whom ever succeeds will become king. Stefan decides to visit Maleficent and warm up to her again. She believes in his innocence and goodness. But takes her wings away in order to make the king believe he killed Maleficent. She is heartbroken, her wings where her strength, her everything. This is when she turns evil, makes the Moors darker and makes a raven, Diaval (played by the handsome Sam Riley) her accomplice and he promises to forever be her wings.
Here on after is where the story start to finally resemble the original Sleeping Beauty. The new king Stefan gets married to the dead kings daughter and they have a baby together. Aurora. When Diaval delivers the news to Maleficent she is determined to visit him. When she arrives the faeries are already there, scared of Maleficent and what she has become. This is when she curses Aurora, knowing that she will never find her one true love and can never be kissed awake because in her eyes, true love does not exits. It's what Stefan took from her aside from her wings. The three faerie godmothers take Aurora into the woods and raise her as her own. They are doing a horrible job though, not as they do in the original movie which is way more believable. What you see in this movie is that Maleficent and Diaval are watching over Aurora all along. She is doing a better job at raising the little girl than the other three are. She is like a guardian angel. Maleficent starts too soften and soon realized the severeness of her curse, her mistake. But it's too late to take it back.
"I will not ask you for forgiveness. What I have done is unforgivable. I was so lost in hatred and revenge. I never dreamed I could love you so much. You stole what was left of my heart and now I have lost you forever" (Maleficent towards Aurora when she is in her sleep). Sometimes a villain is just a victim who's story has never been told.
This story was still beautiful and way more realistic than the original. It's nice to see the story from a different point of view. It shows kids that no one is born evil, that there are reasons for everything. For how people are and why they act the way they do. It's all in the foundation of the childhood and the people around you and what they do to/with you. I love how they brought Diaval to life. He is no longer just a raven, he is a character with lines. A person who, without realizing it, makes sure that Maleficent stays loving deep inside. That she doesn't turn evil all together. Her humanity remains because of him and I never thought I could fall in love with this particular raven.
Nevertheless I had a few issues with this book. In order for Maleficent to be a good girl whom made mistakes, they had to make someone else the evil in this story. They put this on Stefan (played by Sharlto Copley, who's acting I found lacking) his shoulders which seems unfair. In the original story he was a loving father and a good human being. But in the remake he is confused, depressed and very evil. He does not see the error of his ways. If he and Maleficent had talked after his mistake, none of this would have happened.
Second, some of the effects, scenes and actors were lacking. For instance the young Maleficent. Sure a beautiful little girl, but not a very convincing actress and when she is flying around in the Moors, it looks very fake. Even though they did a great job on all the magical beings, the flying was not very nicely done. It was better once Maleficent was grown up.
Third, they made the faerie godmothers very very dump and clumsy. In the original movie they are three caring ladies who struggle with being human but at least they do a good job at raising Aurora. In the movie they didn't really seemed to care about Aurora. She was away for days but never asked her where she went or worried about her when she was gone, which bothered me a lot because I used to love those characters so much.
Last but not least, they totally left out Phillip his importance and his lovable father. He shortly shows up in the Moors on his way over to the king but THEY DON'T EVEN DANCE OR SINGE THE SONG! This really bothered me because to me that's the most important moment from the original movie. Where to long lost acquaintances finally see each other again, not realizing whom the are and confusing their parents. His characters is insignificant in this story, they might as well have left him out, which they obviously couldn't do but he just didn't make sense in this version of the story. Let me know what you thought of both movies and better yet, which one you liked better?