A Quick, Totally Spoilery Thought On Maleficent

Maleficent 2014Normally, I try to do my best to write a spoiler-free review of recently-released Disney films. But … that’s just not going to work here. Not only do I not want to write a structured review, but there’s also pretty much no way to write about it without spoiling it. So. You get this:

Three Reasons I Loved Maleficent

1. It makes Sleeping Beauty make sense.I have never loved Sleeping Beauty, and Maleficent does a great job of answering my questions about its inspiration. For example, the three fairies … oh my god, they’re absolutely idiots! How in the hell did they manage to keep Aurora alive for so long? Maleficent‘s response: the dark fairy was taking care of her behind the scenes. A second example: Aurora is so completely, utterly milquetoast. Why, oh, why? Here’s why: those dumb tiny fairies. Their gifts made her that way. There are lots of little things like that, and I unwrapped each one with delight.

2. It is beautiful. Remember how Oz: The Great and Powerful was beautiful? Don’t lie. You know it was. Maleficent is just as beautiful. In its lighter moments, it glows and sparkles. In its darker moments, it shimmers with rage. But it’s not just the sets. The actors are just as magical: all sharp angles and rounded edges and the exact and perfect embodiment of who they’re supposed to be. Say what you will about the plot (I happened to quite enjoy it), but it is a lovely piece of cinema. (Also: dragon.)

Maleficent 2014

3. It has Girl Power. Disney is all about female empowerment (on their terms), and the ending of this film is no different. I always knew that Prince Phillip wasn’t going to wake the sleeping princess, but I thought it was going to be Diaval, the man-crow who helped Maleficent care for Aurora. When Maleficent kissed Aurora, and she opened her eyes, it was a huge aha moment for me. After Brave and Frozen, I never would have guessed this was another lady-love-trumps-all story. But I’m really glad it was.

Okay, I’ll be honest. I didn’t totally love the ending. I’m glad they didn’t leave it open to a sequel, but I do wish it wasn’t so utterly saccharine. Am I glad that Maleficent and Aurora get to live out their days together with Diaval and Prince Phillip (if they must), yes. But did it have to be so … blech. I could have done without the coronation. But at the end of the day, despite all of the negative reviews and the inconsistencies, I really did love the film.

Did you see Maleficent? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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