Today, I took the girls to see Maleficent. I was not particularly looking forward to it. I am not much into kid movies unless there is a lot of adult-friendly humor and I especially don’t love the whole Princess/Castle/Fairy Tale themed thang. I also never really appreciated the acting talents of Angelina Jolie very much. So, I was going for the popcorn and to make them happy for 90-some minutes.
Well slap my ass and call me Judy…I actually liked the damn thing. It certainly could have used more humor. The acting was kind of forced and over the top (though I suppose the genre calls for it). And there was nothing that really made it wonderful or spectacular. But I absolutely adored the story and messaging.
There are few things more annoying than the whole ‘damsel in distress, a man must save her’ story line. Boring and gross. And while the original fairy tale is written this way, the movie is not. It still had enough of the old version to spark memories of reading those books as a child – the 3 silly pixies were always my favorite even though I had forgotten all about them until today. But it was really a completely fresh narrative.
Without giving too much away – I have to say, I truly appreciated the spin on the kiss element. From the time we are little girls, we are read stories about a man coming to the rescue. In movies, the love of a man is the greatest goal a gal can hold. In the original Sleeping Beauty, Aurora needed to be kissed by a man in order to awaken from her spell coma.
Well, this movie said ‘fuck that’. This movie told us that true love comes in many forms and that the love from a mother, friend, godmother, etc can be just as valid and meaningful as the love from a man. Princesses don’t need a Prince to save them, goddamnit, and I am so glad Hollywood is finally catching on.
Another concept I applaud in this film is the fact that there is good and bad in us all. Some have more villain than hero and vice versa. But we are all flawed and complex and multi-dimensional – again, some more than others. A fairy tale in which the bad guy is the also the good guy – how authentic is that.
Love, forgiveness, anger, fear, jealousy…what a wonderful character, Maleficent. How I envy any actor playing that role. And Jolie wasn’t so bad after all. But it really all came down to the story. Fantastic re-write.