Whichever way you think this movie will go, it might just take a sharp turn in the other direction.
While I enjoyed the first Maleficent, despite some of its lackluster plot and predictability, this one I liked more, even while it’s a bit, what’s the word…not at all what it should be?
The good things: it opens the world up, which the first one did not. It adds a few new interesting characters. It expands Aurora’s character. It adds some history to Maleficent’s race.
The bad things: Too much happens, too fast, and the end is rushed so much so that it’s not done tastefully. Also, Maleficent is missing for a significant chunk. Strange?
Compared to the first one, this movie has a much different feel to it. It is a more open world, which it expands even more so later on. There is the same tension between humans and fairies, which is explored here whereas in the first movie, they simply show a battle between humans and Maleficent with her tree minions, if I remember correctly. The first Maleficent centered on her, and her change of heart as she watched Aurora grow up. However, at the beginning of this one, she’s a bit held back at the thought of Aurora getting married to Prince Philip. It’s understandable, considering the heartbreak Maleficent went through in her youth, but she tries to get along for Aurora’s sake. Still, we knew going in, someone, in some way, was going to betray Maleficent, we knew there was still tension between humans and fairies, and we knew there would be the classic “misunderstandings” used for plot. What no one expects, is for the plot to explore Maleficent’s history, and for the third act to be an all out war. It’s difficult to describe how it shifts the tone. From tension to a sudden war and battle, you’re not sure if you’re watching Disney or a toned down Middle-Earth story.
Quite honestly, I feel as though the people writing this need to be doing something else, namely something that isn’t holding them back with a PG rating. You can tell that what they wanted to do, the story they wanted to tell, is something that should go beyond the Disney portrayal of “Maleficent learns to be good.” Sure, you could write a novel or story based on this character and go several different directions. After all, the classic Grimm Brothers stories do not belong to Disney. Anyone can write a story that includes the classic fairy tale characters. But I feel as though there was too much too fast, and the end was way too happy…we get the happily ever after, after…a lot of death.
My main question after this is, why Mistress of Evil? Unless you’re referring to Michelle Pfeiffer’s character…
Why in the world of fantasy land did they decide to rush the ending like that? First of all, about 1/3 of the population of the fairies are dead. Second of all, why change Maleficent back to her natural form? A Phoenix rises, sure, but I feel as though they wanted a dark tone (hence all the death), so to have her sort of be this…reborn Phoenix would keep it that tone. Well, they wanted PG, so that’s what they had to do. It’s a real shame.
To go on a little personal rant here, I think Disney has, not so much ruined fairy tales, but sort of made us forget that endings can be sad. The original fairy tales are dark and twisted, and I’m not faulting Disney for making them “kid-friendly.” However, with the long running Once Upon a Time show, which had some darkness but overall Disney-fied some otherwise interesting ideas, we’re sort of forgetting the roots. Make fairy tales dark again. Let there be sad endings. Don’t let Disney hold us back…
I know there are some outlets that do this, but let’s be honest. Disney kind of steps on them.
(I recommend Gail Carson Levine novels, by the way, of some creative retelling of classic fairy tales).
What are your thoughts on this movie? Did you like it, hate it, love it? Please comment!