The new Disney blockbuster is now in cinemas. Here’s what to expect from the highly anticipated fairy tale revamp.
On Tuesday night a few chosen people got to see Angelia Jolie in all her winged glory at the Brisbane premiere of Maleficent, inside the newly decked out Indooroopilly Shopping Centre.
Proving that Brisbane is definitely one of the cool kids now, it was one of the first screenings held in the world. While it didn’t produce the drama that accompanied the USA premiere on Wednesday night, where Brad Pitt was attacked by professional celebrity prankster Vitalii Sediuk, (causing women across the world to cry out ‘not the face’), it wasn’t without style. Maleficent clones stilt-walked their way through the smoke filled entrances, handing out treats to audience members and proving that it’s OK to take chocolate from strangers, provided that it is handed out by a horned women. And that said chocolate is free.
When the 3-D extravaganza finally lit up the big screen I had high hopes that Hollywood’s current obsession with redoing fairy tales was finally going to pay off and not end up as cliche filled mess with token special effects (I’m looking at you, Snow White and the Huntsman.) It’s not enough to slyly wink at your audience with a tried and true ‘this is what really happened…..’ tagline, you actually have to deliver a tale that seamlessly slips beneath the story we already know while also completely flipping it on it’s head. The trick is to expose a story within in story and to do this properly the untold story you’re now asking us to get on board with must be equal to or even better than the original tale (here’s looking at you, Wicked) .
Early on in the film we’re introduced to Jolie’s Maleficent,not as the demonesque women who forced us to hide behind the couch as kids, but as a free spirited fairy entrusted with protecting the magic filled moors from prying humans. It’s during this task that she meets and falls in love with the human boy Stefan, but all turns sour when the love-struck pair are ripped apart by Stefan’s human ambition, greed and murderous desire to be named king (humans,ugh, am I right?). Fast forward a few years and Stefan’s betrayal has sent Maleficent to a dark place, both figuratively and fashionably, and she shows up to his baby daughter Aurora’s christening in fully fledged revenge mode.
It’s here she places the curse upon a sleeping Aurora and basically repeats word for word the dialogue spouted by the animated Maleficent in the original Disney offering. Children of the 80’s who are still suffering PTSD from this particularly horrifying childhood memory may want to turn away at this point, yet it’s easily one of the few scenes in the movie where Jolie is truly deliciously evil.
As Maleficent continues her curse she decides to throw in the little side note about Aurora pricking her finger on a spinning wheel when she spies one casually sitting by the royal thrones in an all too convenient story device. Really? It’s one of the biggest days in the kingdom’s history, a slew of visiting royals have shown up with expensive gifts for the blonde bundle and you want me to believe that no one thought to move the spinning wheel out of the room? Who thought the throne room was a good place to start spinning in the first place? At this point it becomes clear that the real villain of the story is not Maleficent, it’s bad housekeeping.
The story then unfolds over 16 years from here and it’s a relatively light-heated and amusing tale. Jolie’s sarcastic portrayal of a bitter Maleficent contains the best comedic timing she-of-the-perfect-cheek-bones has ever produced, while Elle Fanning’s portrayal of Aurora is perfectly sweet and totally bland. She spends most of her screen time laughing manically at magical creatures (being blessed at birth with eternal happiness by a spazzed out fairy godmother will do that to you) and she appears to have a touch of Stockholm syndrome when it comes to her relationship with Maleficent.
All in all Disney’s newest offering is a bit of fun frivolity, with a small touch of magic that won’t necessarily take you back to childhood but will remind you that fairy tales, in any form, need to be told.
Maleficent is in cinemas now.
Will you be seeing Maleficent in cinemas? What are the best new movies you’ve seen recently?