It’s no grand secret that we’re in an era when the traditional Disney princess is dead. She’s been replaced by parody spinoffs like in Hoodwinked!, strong female role models like Tangled’s Rapunzel, alternative fairytales like Shrek and the newest fad in the realm: the wicked-witch-with-a-side-of-good like Wicked and Maleficent.
This won’t be the first or the last time that comparisons will be made between Wicked and Disney’s newest fairytale. The premises behind both read more than similar, with the evil character being introduced from childhood as a beacon of innocence and good. Numerous wrongdoings are directed at her later, and boom! – good girl turns bad. Then, love weaves itself into the mix and, all that glimmer of a happy ending for the evil witch brightens.
There’s nothing wrong with the formula, but if we’re continuing with comparisons, then Wicked outshines Maleficent by a fairy godmother or two. Where Wicked was an innovative, saucy tale that paid strict consideration to the original, Maleficent plays it safe, delivering a linear, and verily predictable story with too many two-dimensional characters (Prince Phillip, the three fairy godmothers), and not enough musical numbers. It also refuses to be clever; preferring to overcome additions and subtractions to the tale by making the excuse that our childhood books were incorrect,rather than conjuring up an alternate storyline that allows both to exist harmoniously.
Two things pick Maleficent off the ground and fly it high through the skies. One is its god-beautiful graphics. The other is its cast. Undoubtedly, Angelina Jolie was born to play Maleficent, with her high cheekbones, cold white face, evil cackle, and spot-on comic timing. For an actress inclined to dramas and action flicks, it’s refreshing to see this childish, coy side of her. And her emotional devotion to the character that is Maleficent shines because of it. Her sidekick, Diaval (played by Sam Riley), is equally exceptional and brings added depth to the story and its protagonist’s character development.
This Sleeping Beauty ‘spin’ may be nothing groundbreaking or thoroughly challenging, but the kids will like it. And honestly, isn’t Angelina Jolie as Maleficent as good as any reason to watch it?
Maleficent is in cinemas now.