Director: Robert Stromberg
Writers Linda Woolverton
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Juno Temple, Imelda Staunton, Sam Riley and Lesley Manville
Studio: Disney

“Maleficent” is an interesting take that should hopefully put a cap on Disney’s recent “YOU GOT IT ALL WRONG” trend. The rape revenge fantasy aspect of men entering a fairy world dominated by a primarily female presence is thick. Hell, watching Sharlto Copley take Maleficent’s wings and her subsequent feelings of betrayal are palpable. It also casts a cloud over the rest of the film and the Sleeping Beauty mythos. Gone is a girl discovering true love’s kiss and now we have the tale of a molested victim perpetrating the same evil on a young innocent. Suddenly, it just got all “Happiness” up in here.

The push to reinterpret and reimagine classic stories in a stilted fashion is getting old. While it can still be well with a clever hand, the marketplace is getting saturated with retellings of the same tales without any attention paid to the creation of new stories. Then, there’s the shadow of abuse and loss that just permeates every action of the film. Maleficent is an abuser and a victim, which makes it creepier to see how she is placed throughout Aurora’s life as she grows. Whether monitoring a child in the wild or pressing her further along into the Christening curse; the family audience is experiencing a PG movie fantasy about how psycho sexual torment never ends.

I feel that there was a quality film to be had at some point. However, you can’t edit a narrative so heavily without changing the overall tone. I’ve now seen the film twice and that second time just reinforced that creepy feel I got from the first time I experienced Disney’s second bite at the Sleeping Beauty apple. Your kids probably won’t pick up on it, but anyone paying attention to the narrative should be unnerved. While I appreciate that kind of detail, this wasn’t the place for it.

RELEASE DATE: 05/30/2014

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