Maleficent did mighty well at the box office, resulting in Angelina Jolie’s biggest opening weekend that trumped Tomb Raider and Wanted by millions, but many fans of Disney’s original Sleeping Beauty are calling it disappointing and a little anti-feminist.
The discussion on where Maleficent went wrong seems to always begin with the villain not being nearly as evil as we remember: from her strange, distant interactions with Princess Aurora, the botched story of how she lost her wings and turned
evil goth solely because of a man, and the fact that she never f*cking turns into a dragon.
Via i09’s “How Could Disney Do This To Maleficent“:
She doesn’t really build any sort of personality; instead all we see is a woman who is reacting to a slew of terrible things her former lover inflicts on her. It just seems like she’s running around, coming up with all of these ideas as they hit her. Her go-to move is to zap people into unconscious human balloons, which she then manipulates around in the air.
The article’s author, Meredith Woerner says the film spends way too much time on Aurora and not her wicked fairy godmother, and that the retelling of the story depicts Maleficent as a mentally weak woman who makes rash decisions because Aurora’s father, King Stefan, “drugged and violated her.”
And here’s where things get dark. As in, very possibly too dark for a PG movie: Stefan does not kill Maleficent. Instead, he takes her out, drugs her drink, and cuts off her wings while she’s unconscious, so that he can bring them back to the humans as a trophy. If the obvious allegory here didn’t occur to you the moment you read the phrase “drugs her drink,” trust me, it will: The scene of a drugged Jolie waking up alone, feeling around her own tattered dress, and proceeding to scream and sob hysterically for about one full minute, drives the point home pretty unmistakably.
Woerner and most fans seem more upset about it being stripped of its climax than her actions more closely resembling those of Amy Fisher than our beloved villain.
First Maleficent is stripped her of her wings, then stripped of her grand dragon transformation. What the ever-loving hell, Disney?
In short, the Mistress of All Evil is neither evil nor dragon and the similarities between the new movie and the old begin and end with a name and costume, but many reviewers are still describing it as a “fun” and “empowering” experience, so you’ll have to decide for yourself…