Friday, June 13, 2014

Maleficent Review: What went wrong?

I was originally going to write about how much Disney messed up with Maleficent compared to the original but after calming down a bit I know what they tried to do with the movie. They wanted to make Maleficent just like the TV show Once Upon a Time, a do a re-imagining of the character, unfortunately though, this didn't work out quite the way they thought. 

In the TV show once Upon a Time, they change all the characters stories, good guys have become bad guys, bad guys to good, and even character stories have merged like the Hunchback of Norte Dame with the Beast.  This works well for the TV show but not for Malevicent.  The reason is that on the TV show, character stories have merged to form a completely new story, making the viewers think they're watching a complexly new show. In Maleficent, all people have to go on is the original story. When you start going off the path to do another version of the story, people can't follow the movie anymore and get frustrated when things don't turn out the way they thought it would. 

Maleficent starts out great.  A little girl Maleficent, enjoying her young life, falls in love, then things change as you get older. Ok no problems here, setting up a nice little story. The king comes along and thinks the fairy folk are getting too powerful and decides to attack. He fails miserably and is mortally wounded in battle. He swears revenge and asks any of his servants if they can avenge him, they'll be king. Maleficent's young boyfriend befriends Maleficent, gives her a drink to knock her out and is going to kill her but decides to chop off her wings instead to show the ailing king that he has defeated her and gains the right to the throne. Maleficent is obviously pissed when she wakes up, has her crow friend (that you see in the animation but can also turn into a man now) spy on the king and tells maleficent that he did this all to become king. This all works great for the prequel to Sleeping Beauty and am highly interested in knowing more at this point. This also shows why she would cast an evil spell on a harmless baby, which you don't really know why in the animation (see my review of Sleeping Beauty here).

The king has his party at the castle to celebrate the birth of his daughter, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), and all kinds of royalty show up. The 3 fairies who bestow their gifts to Aurora (Disney changed their names from the original for some odd reason), do so just like in the cartoon but before the third can, Maleficent shows up and ruins the party. She knocks the fairies away, casts her curse of eternal slumber of a "deadlike state" (huh?), then makes the king bow to her to undo the curse. Then instead of disappearing adds a little more to the curse by saying only loves kiss can break the spell.  Now this is where Disney goes completely off the book here. 

Moe and Curly, Larry not pictured.
The king orders the destruction of all spindles, gives his daughter to the 3 fairies so they can take care of her (in the movie it was the fairies idea), then slowly goes crazy throughout the film trying to find Maleficent. The 3 fairies bring Aurora out to a cabin to raise her until she turns 16 and 1 day, turn themselves big to pretend that they are nurses to the child, but also somehow have turned themselves into Moe, Larry, and Curly from the Three Stooges in the process.  They're so bumbling and foolish that it just goes way over the top to the point of why would a king give his only daughter to these fairies as they clearly can't raise children.  At one point, Aurora is crying and they try to give her a carrot from the ground to eat.  No magic to it like "here baby, I can make it soft for you to eat". Nope, here's a carrot, enjoy stupid baby. 

Emo Crow and Maleficent.
The crow then easily finds Aurora, becomes her friend and starts taking care of her. Huh?  Why would he do that?  He's a henchmen of Malefiecent!  Then, the fairies are so blind to what Aurora does that she actually falls off a cliff at one point because they weren't paying attention to her. WTF?  Luckily though, our hero of the film Maleficent catches her. Umm why?  She put a death spell on her, remember?  There's no reason why she would ever do that. 

Spoiler Alert!!  That's not Maleficent.
There are just so many things wrong with this movie that it takes you completely out of the story. It started out great and had me completely interested in it but then just took a turn for the worse. Malefiencet also somehow becomes the hero of the story at the end and they all live happily ever after like in all Disney films.  Oh, and they also add in that Malefienncent was the actual Sleeping Beauty!  Oh come on Disney!

Our Hero, Maleficent!  Huh?
I'm sorry but it was just too many things changed. The film for me, even if I hadn't seen the original cartoon, wouldn't have liked it because Maleficent is THE Disney Bad Guy!  When you portray someone like that for at least 50 years, it's hard to change the story to show a good side. They should have stuck with the animation story and just showed her viewpoint. -Kevshiro

Just do it and get it done quickly.


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