The new Disney movie, Maleficent, is not your classically animated Disney musical fairy tale, as it explores a very dark side to an old princess-happily-ever-after narrative. Maleficent delves into the story of how a sweet and unquestioning girl journeys down a path to become a dark, vengeful woman - the one who curses an innocent baby in Disney’s original 1959 film, Sleeping Beauty. There’s always a reason or series of events that leads someone to be so cruel, and for Maleficent, her journey down that road begins when she’s both emotionally and physically damaged. She starts off incredibly trusting, but once betrayed by love (probably the worst kind of betrayal), it explains why she seeks out revenge and doesn’t care who is involved. You never know what you might get from a scorned woman! Read on for my full Maleficent movie review and thoughts on whether Maleficent is good for kids.
We all know that Maleficent curses Princess Aurora to fall into a deep sleep on her 16th birthday, after she pricks her finger. The classic fairy tale theme that only true love’s kiss can awaken her is the only way to break the spell. Conflicted by good and evil, Maleficent struggles between the two forces. This holds especially true when Maleficent becomes aware that the Princess may be the answer to the struggle between the two feuding kingdoms - hers of the enchanted forest and that of the humans.
My friend and I had the opportunity to view an advance screening of Maleficent, and while we both liked it and were intrigued by the action in the film, I left feeling like there could have been more to the story. The actors put on wonderful performances (Angelina Jolie is stunning!) and at one point I was even moved to watery eyes, but the encompassing story seemed to be missing a dash of information. One of the things I personally would’ve liked to see are additional details on the background of Maleficent’s life with answers to questions, such as: Was she the only one of her kind in the enchanted forest (and why)? What happened to her parents? It seemed like there was slightly more storytelling happening with some of the characters’ facial expressions rather than with the script. And even then, something was just, well, missing.
Although the film has a very dark premise, it doesn’t miss out on the child-like innocence of so many Disney films, which does help lighten up the mood. Maleficent is rated PG, but the 3D experience might not be for everyone, especially very young children. The scenes of the mystical world of the Moors can be appreciated in 3D, some of the special effects being comparable with those in The Lord of the Rings movies, but many of the other scenes didn’t feel as alive with 3D glasses. Several scenes are a bit intense and I can’t help imagine how my two-year-old son would react - it wouldn’t be good! Even on DVD, I imagine he wouldn’t enjoy the style of this film at his age, so it’s probably best to consider your children’s age before you head out to see Maleficent!
Maleficent is out in theaters nationwide today, May 30th so be sure to check it out this weekend and let us know what you think!
Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary advance screening of Maleficent in order to facilitate this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.