Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Some musings about Maleficent

The big movie at the box office this past weekend was Maleficent, the modern live action take on the classic Disney animated feature Sleeping Beauty.

 Not only did the film take in a hefty cash flow, it also stirred up a brew of debates amongst reviewers who were torn between liking the fantasy elements on screen and being troubled by certain dark aspects of the story.

A major bone of contention has to do with Maleficent's motives for cursing the infant princess in the first place*spoiler alert, dead ahead!*-it seems that once upon a time, the current royal father was a childhood sweetheart of the fairy ruler and in order to claim the mortal throne, he needed proof of her demise. Using their former bond of friendship, he drugged Maleficent and cut off her wings which understandably made her desire some righteous payback. It's also not hard to understand how that particular plot point could cause a few shudders in the audience.

One thing that everyone does appear to agree on is how amazing Angelina is in this role. She does possess a villainous flair( I would've cast her as  a vampire long ago) that certainly suits this project to a fare thee well:

The decision to see or not see this movie(I haven't yet) really depends on how invested you are in the Sleeping Beauty mythos. Personally, I'm more of a Snow White person and that is mainly due to the Evil Queen and yes, even the seven dwarfs who have a lot more personality than Princess Aurora does.

Don't get me wrong,Maleficent is a great Disney diva with a fiercely fabulous look and the whole turning into a dragon deal at the end is pretty sweet. It's just that Aurora is rather bland(she has the least amount of lines of any Disney princess, past or present) and while the fairies having a fight over the party dress color routine is cute, it's not enough to satisfy my fairy tale flavor palate:

Also, I hate to point this out but in the interest of literary accuracy, I have to bring forward the fact that the true version of this story is deeply disturbing to begin with.

If you only know the 1959 Disney cartoon, you might be surprised to learn that the original French version(and subsequent others) have the magically induced coma maiden not be awakened by a kiss from her true love. Instead, she is taken advantage of sexually and in some cases, gives birth to two children!

That doesn't excuse any of the upsetting details in Maleficent but it is important to note that the majority of fairy tales that are seen as harmless children's bedtime stories have extremely twisted roots in folklore and legend from a harsher period of time than our own:

A redeeming factor in this version,however, is that Maleficent and Aurora form a surrogate mother-daughter bond(due to her other fairy guardians being crappy babysitters) that changes their overall relationship.

That twist to the tale sounds interesting and if given the opportunity, I might want to check this movie out at some point. In the meanwhile, it's good to have an excuse to revel in the Disney evil diva glory there. I'm not alone in loving the bad girls and would love to see more madams of mean get the chance to strut their stuff, so have at it, ladies!:

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