, pub-8087192757053655, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Director Jewels: Disney's MALEFICENT is Now in Theaters!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Disney's MALEFICENT is Now in Theaters!

Disclosure: I received passes to attend an advance screening of MALEFICENT. All opinions expressed are my own.

I'm a sucker for a good origin story and am fairly obsessed with Disney, so I've been looking forward to the release of this summer's MALEFICENT. I love the original Sleeping Beauty story and always find it fascinating to delve into a character's past.

Warning: mild spoilers contained below. Quit reading now if you don't want any surprises revealed!

The story begins with a young Maleficent, a fairy who lives in the moors among creatures who have no need for a king and no evil in their hearts. Maleficent bears magnificent wings that carry her across the land on adventures and (as she grows) to guard their kingdom. As a girl, she is introduced to Stefan, a peasant who dreams of finer things.

The story takes a darker turn as Stefan decides what he finds most important in life is not love, but power. Through a dastardly trick, Stefan becomes king of the land of the humans who are waging war on Maleficent and her fairy people. Maleficent is then compelled to place a terrible curse on King Stefan's newborn baby daughter, Aurora.

After her curse is delivered, the story becomes a little more unfamiliar, as not all elements of the original Sleeping Beauty film have remained. Maleficent is not unaware of Aurora's whereabouts throughout her childhood, in spite of the king and queen's best effort to hide her away in the forest with three fairy "aunties" in charge of her care. These three fairies seem to know very little about caring for a child, and Maleficent herself develops an unmistakeable bond with Aurora.

 The film takes a lot of unexpected twists and turns and the outcome is similar, yet not quite like the original Sleeping Beauty story. I'm not sure how I feel about certain elements being changed, but overall the story was very favorable for Angelina Jolie's Maleficent character. The role of Maleficent seemed perfect for Jolie, as she brought the perhaps-not-so-villainous fairy to life before our eyes. 

I think, perhaps, my favorite scenes were those that most closely resembled parts of Sleeping Beauty: the curse of baby Aurora, and the segment where Aurora first meets Prince Phillip in the woods. Seeing parts of a classic Disney princess tale come to life with live acting held a good bit of Disney magic.

The art design is beautiful and similar to the styles found in Oz: The Great & Powerful and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. There was never a lack of beauty, even in scenes where the mood was dark. The movie's director, Robert Stromberg, has a long history of working in film design, and he left no detail untouched in this tale.

MALEFICENT may be based on Sleeping Beauty, but it will stand on its own since so many elements are new and intriguing. If you're interested in medieval times, fairies, princesses, or the classic movie lore, chances are you'll enjoy this fresh, new look at the story behind one of Disney's most widely-known villains.

The movie is rated PG, but I would suggest parents read more on the content before taking very young children. My oldest child is three years old - I don't think he will be able to understand this film for a few more years. Somewhere in the age range of 8-10 seems appropriate for viewing this film, in my opinion.

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I received passes to attend an advance screening of MALEFICENT. All opinions expressed are my own. For more info, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

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