By Claudia Romeo
Disney’s Maleficent, which premiered May 30, combines fantastic costumes, effects and acting to create a memorable backstory to the timeless fairy tale, “Sleeping Beauty.”
The movie was directed by Robert Stromberg, whose other credits include Avatar and The Hunger Games. Keeping the viewer engaged from beginning to end, Maleficent provides an unexpected look into the life of the iconic villain Maleficent who first appeared in Disney’s original 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty.
Similar to the musical Wicked, Maleficent uncovers the “true” and untold story behind Maleficent, hence the movie’s tagline, “Don’t believe the fairy tale.”
Maleficent follows Disney’s villain, documenting her transformation from an innocent child to an evil fairy godmother. The movie effectively portrays her as a dynamic character, contrasting her wicked acts with benevolent intentions. Viewers are left sympathizing with the twisted fairy.
The already enthralling storyline is augmented by computer animation, costumes and makeup. The animation of the enchanted forests and magical creatures is surprisingly realistic.
In addition, the makeup application is impeccable. Incredible prosthetic cheekbones were added to enhance Angelina Jolie’s face. She was also given realistic horns that faithfully brought the animated character to life. According to nola.com, the entire transformation from Jolie to Maleficent took nearly four hours every day.
The movie starts with a young, fresh-faced Maleficent. When Stefan, a human explorer with royal aspirations, and Maleficent cross paths, they fall in love and share true love’s kiss. Although this relationship plays a crucial role in the film’s plot, Maleficent and Princess Aurora’s relationship ultimately takes center stage. Maleficent’s love for Aurora highlights the crucial humanity of the villain.
Jolie was well cast as the lead and her fierce screen presence holds the viewers’ attention throughout. The film strays from the typical “damsel in distress” persona. Instead, Maleficent’s leads are portrayed as strong women, and the movie places more importance on friendship rather than romance between Princess and Prince.
Maleficent effectively provides a fresh twist on the classic fairy tale, making it perfect for all ages.