Well, it’s started.
On May 30, 2014, Disney Pictures will release ”Maleficent” in Canadian theatres. The preternaturally beautiful Angelina Jolie will play the title character, based on the Mistress of All Evil from the 1959 animated Disney film, “Sleeping Beauty”. Apparently, according to IMDB, the roots of Maleficent’s hatred and viciousness will be explored and explained as she is brought to life in the new feature also starring Ellie Fanning.
It’s not like I’ve seen the film. It’s not released yet. I have no idea if Jolie is amazing, the plot riveting, the directing second to none. In all honesty, I don’t really care.
Disney is screwing with my kidhood, and that irritates me.
I like what I saw on the VHS tape in 1987. A cartoon Aurora with pointy elbows, a few stereotypically wacky fairies, some random singing, and a Big Bad who was just, well, bad. She turns into a freakin’ dragon and tries to roast the prince, for Gods’ sake, and seems to relish every minute of it. There’s no backstory. No excuses. Just menace. I didn’t need reasons why, and I still don’t.
Trying to make Maleficent a sympathetic villain is a mistake, as far as I’m concerned. In giving her too many layers, Disney is effectively neutering her malice; she becomes more like Old Yeller to be pitied in her lashing out instead of something to be feared in her relentless pursuit of vengeance. I see where giving her actual character development contributes to her appeal with the adult audience who may be excited to get further insight into her dark little heart. But the kids don’t care, do they? I know I don’t care. Can’t they just let Maleficent be bad just for the sake of being bad? Does her nastiness really need to be explained? Isn’t she far more frightening when you don’t know why she does what she does? When her anger seems random and nebulous and you cannot anchor it to anything?
What do you think? Is this just another money grab by Disney, recycling old characters with new motivations, just to keep butts in the seats and cash coming in? Will it alienate child audiences (partially because it will not be like the animated film, but also because the live action may be too scary for them)? Am I overreacting and just need to calm the hell down? LOL
…Don’t think I’ll be in line for this one. Which is a shame, because Maleficent is, hands down, my fave Disney bad-ass.