The Grammy’s aired last night and yes they were great with Beyonce’s sexy opening number and the Stevie Wonder, Pharrel Williams, Daf Punk mash up and Paul and Ringo reuniting, but want to know what really caught my attention: the trailer for Disney’s “Maleficent” (watch it here.)
If you pay any attention to pop culture, you have probably heard about this film being made. Any movie that Angelina Jolie chooses to do is usually a pretty big deal and this one, though it looks pretty dark, is a bit of a departure from her usual cinematic fare.
Basically, we all know the tale of “Sleeping Beauty” and we especially know the animated 1959 Disney version of it. In summary: Princess is born, angry witch casts spell involving spindling wheels, princess grows up and meets hot prince, fairies flutter around, witch gets angrier and casts sleeping spell, witch turns into dragon, prince kills dragon, prince wakes up narcoleptic princess with rocking kiss. They live happily ever after.
In that version it is very clear that Maleficent is just a bitter old witch with horns who takes not getting an invitation to a christening very seriously. And that is all we understand and we don’t really think any more of it. We cheer when she dies (I think we can agree that of all the Disney villains, there is no contest that she was the scariest. I’d take a road trip with Captain Hook, Cruella and Scar any day over that lady). It is very black and white when it comes to good and evil in that version.
But in this new version, also made by Disney, we are going to get to see the story of Maleficent. You have to give Disney some props for either making fun of themselves and their films (“Enchanted”) as well as letting us see behind the curtain (“Saving Mr. Banks”) and now, letting us see a character in a whole new light. Though in the teaser for the film it looked like we were just going to see how Maleficent came to be super evil (and hopefully how she got those shockingly chiseled cheek bones), but from the trailer last night (which was especially creepy thanks to Lana Del Ray’s cover of “Once Upon A Dream” it looks like we are going to see a more complex relationship with Maleficent and Sleeping Beauty (Elle Fanning).
In certain scenes it looked as if she wanted to protect the young princess. “There is an evil in this world,” the dark fairy declares. “And I cannot keep you from it.” Are we actually going to see a more maternal side of one of the most famous villains ever?
That is why this film is so important. We get to see what makes this woman tick and that maybe she isn’t all bad. I love that there is a new trend of taking these old fairy tales and turning them on their heads in a way and just showing that maybe the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked) wasn’t always so wicked or that Snow White’s stepmother also felt betrayed (Once Upon A Time). Instead of a one-dimensional woman, we are seeing a complex woman and her story.