My Love Hate Relationship with Angela Jolie’s Maleficent

Written by Terri Hardin Jackson. Posted in Terri Hardin

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Published on July 02, 2014 at 3:00 am with 31 Comments

Just last Saturday I had a birthday. I love birthdays. Mentally, I have to say I’m always excited like a 5-year-old child. I still love getting up early and seeing the sunrise as I run my 4 miles per day. Then, coming home after my run and making tea and breakfast for the love of my life, as our little bulldog snores loudly at our feet. Then, playing with the toys that I’ve been given to celebrate my special day.

I also love to coach folks on finding their inner talents and teaching them how they can make money from their skills. Last week was an exceptional week for helping people to do just that and I get a kick from that every time.

FINALLY,  I’m happily preparing to do a book signing and give a talk at Friends Of The Mouse in Orange County this Saturday, June 28th at 12 noon at the Garden Grove Historical Society.

Plus, Disneyland’s Birthday is coming up quickly. I’ll be on hand to meet and greet all who decide to stop by Coke Corner to chat and tell stories as we all enjoy saying Happy Birthday to the greatest Park in the world. I hope to see you there. Whoo Hoo!

Now, on with the show and the real reason for today’s article . . .

My Love Hate Relationship with Angela Jolie’s Maleficent

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article that touched upon the film Maleficent.

I was very excited to see the new film, but I was fearful because I didn’t want her to turn out to be a weenie. Well, to my sorrow, not only did she turn out to be a weenie, but the whole cast turned out to be a bunch of weenies.

Forgive me. Let me start over. When someone criticizes something, they ought to tell what they liked about it first. I mean, that’s only fair.

So what did I love about the film?

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I loved the look of Angela Jolie as Maleficent. This actress looked so fierce it made me shudder with delight as she clinched her teeth together. I also enjoyed Maleficent’s wonderful wardrobe. I think it’s about time that she got one. I just loved her furs, yummy! The idea that the horns were an actual part of her structure and how her outfits incorporated various wraps around the horns to complete the fashion was fabulous.

I know many of you just loved the film and that’s the beauty of having many films to go to and many films to choose from. We all have different tastes and come from different attitudes; therefore, different opinions. Allow me to state mine.

Before I continue, I’d like to warn those who have not yet seen the film to consider before they read on as there are spoilers. Perhaps you would like to go see the film first and then come back and read how I feel if you wish.

What did I not love about the film?

After seeing this film, I felt kinda sick and disappointed; however, I wanted to really think about my feelings. I didn’t come out of the film spitting nails and cursing or anything. Still, I wasn’t happy.

I’ve decided that I most likely would’ve loved the film if they hadn’t titled it Maleficent. It was a decent film about a wronged fairy, but it just wasn’t Maleficent’s story.

It burns me when Hollywood sees something that it likes and then makes too many films that follows in that same pattern. Wicked, the musical comes out on Broadway with a story about a poor, sad, mistreated Wicked Witch. Now it seems like every evil creature is a poor wronged mistreated character. It was a fresh and lovely idea for Wicked.

Maleficent means Evil Doer. This is how she got her name. She is the ultimate villain. It’s just the wrong title for this film.

In Sleeping Beauty, as in many fairy tales, the moral of the story is when you are pure of heart and full of truth, you can overcome evil. True love conquers all in the original Sleeping Beauty. A simple story, but one I love and feel we just don’t have enough of nowadays.

What was the moral of the new film? Was it that the villain was someone bullied and wronged and that if you were bullied when young that your destiny is to grow up and be an angry villain? I was bullied and it wasn’t my destiny?

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In the new film, the 3 fairies are just idiots. You wonder how they ever were trusted to do anything at all, let alone take care of Aurora. In Sleeping Beauty, they were savvy and smart fairies to be reckoned with.

In this new version, the queen was a walk-on never to be seen again and Aurora was bland as dry toast. Beautiful, but with only one facial expression that she used over and over. A lovely girl, but where was the shyness and the beautiful timid sweetness that we have all come to love in the original?

The classic Maleficent is my favorite villain. I just love the way that she is determined to defeat good, but that good is just as determined to defeat her. Great, strong conflict as the prince must ride before it’s too late to save the kingdom, right down to the raven being turned to stone by our kick-butt trio of good fairies.

I even began to be drawn into this new version. I felt hope as Maleficent started to deliver her curse. The wind rose and the robes rustled and she became green and looked very scary. Yea! But my hopes were soon dashed when her lines went something like this:

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The child will grow up in beauty and happiness . . . 16th birthday . . . blah, blah . . . prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel . . . stagger a bit and then pass out. No wait, too harsh . . .fall asleep, but not harshly. . . gently . . . while watching her favorite soap opera . . . and she won’t hurt her head as she falls to the floor as would happen with someone who is suddenly asleep instead.

And, so you won’t be shocked, she’ll float gently to the ground in slow-mo so that true love’s kiss can wake her up and all will be butterflies and flowers, as we wouldn’t want you to think that life can be a challenge or anything.

What? There is no need to get creative here. The line is very simple. Say it with me.

“She will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and DIE!”

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DIE, DIE, DIE!

Is this so hard? And then, because of this new PC line version, the third fairy looks more like a dolt because she has nothing to dispel. If I were Flora, Fauna and Mary weather, I’d sue for deformation of character.

In this film the prince is just window dressing and really not needed at all. He awkwardly says hello with a horse that just stands there. What’s up with that?

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The fairies are useless and King Stefan is the unbelievable bad guy, so messed up that he doesn’t even like himself.

And, talk about evil, the place this film went with the disfigurement of Maleficent was just this side of sexual assault. So beyond horrible and nasty and more brutal then anything Maleficent did or could do in the original Sleeping Beauty.

Now you know why I make a good storyteller. I’m very passionate.

Just like you when an artist hasn’t created something “on model” for you to collect. Or when someone says something negative about Walt Disney, your passion comes out as well.

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This is my passion coming out about my beloved Villain.

Maybe it’s not fair to compare, but compare we do. It cannot be helped. When you title a film after one of Disney’s finest villains, be prepared to hear from both sides.

Needless to say, this is why I was disappointed. I welcome your comments. If you loved the film, no worries, don’t take my comments personally as they are my opinion and mine alone.

I know that I will ruffle a few feathers here. I apologize ahead of time.

My perfectly loveable artist run had to hit a road bump at some point. I look forward to hearing your opinions.

And next time around, how about we chat a bit about Star Wars? What do you think about Harrison Ford’s unfortunate accident on set when a door fell on him? My goodness!

See you next time.

About Terri Hardin Jackson

Terri Hardin has designed attractions as a Disney Imagineer from 1987-1997. She's also a Jim Henson Puppeteer and has worked on over 42 film and TV projects including Ghostbusters & Captain EO. She currently creates Disney collectables and plays a Foster Farms Chicken.

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  • Joshnyah

    I disagree with a few of the people reviewing this movie. I was judgmental of Angelina playing the part of Maleficent, but walked out of the theater thinking she did brilliantly. I’m glad they changed the story around a little bit and focused more from The main character’s point of view. It was a nice change.

    • glass_slipper

      Agreed! It wasn’t my favorite movie but it was clever and well-executed.

  • Kingofpop123

    Twisted the untold story of a royal vizier by team Starkid did a better job of making a villain a more sympathetic character. Even though it’s a spoof Twisted made me wish that Aladdin really was that (except it would be kid friendly of course so out alot of the songs XD) haven’t seen malefecent and never want to but i would go see it if i had the chance, out of curiosity’s sake. *Earlier paragraph states i add that they made a better job just by the sounds of the reviews)

  • waymire01

    I liked it. It gives a lot more thought to the story to see the other point of view. It’s an easy out to have a character who is just “born evil” with no motivation for their actions. To see the progression of good to evil and back around again, with the regret for those evil actions is a much deeper story. Yes it messes with the original story, and perhaps it would have been more effective if the prince did kill her in the end out of misguided protection of aurora.. but that would have been a much darker story and a bit hard on the kiddos so I can see why they chose the happy ending. I would have preferred that they go all the way and make it more of a film for adults but that was never going to happen, not with Disney.
    A few clarifications: Maleficent did not leave herself an out in the curse, her wording was that “nothing could change the curse” and in fact she could not when she tried. She was stuck with her hastily chosen words. Aurora was always ” as bland as dry toast”, she was basically useless except as a provided target for Maleficent. At least in this movie she had some value and personality. The fact that “true love” did not come about from five seconds of flirting and instead grew from sixteen years of growing to care for her was a refreshing change, as was the fact that it was not a romantic love. One of the other commenters stated that she started off good and it was ridiculous that she was even named Maleficent… I think you missed something. She was obviously not your typical fairy, she was an orphan (not fully explained but she stated that her parents were dead) so we don’t even know if her parents named her, she had to work to earn the trust and faith of the other fairies to get to the position of power she held. They didn’t spend a lot of time on that part of the story but she was obviously a lonely little girl without anyone to care for her at the beginning.

  • RacerGT

    Sleeping Beauty was one of my favorite Disney movies too and I do believe that “Maleficent” will not change anything with Mickey and the Fantasmic show for starters.

    Perhaps, they will just introduce the “child” version of Maleficent greeting guests at the castle… who knows? The POTC films just made it that more fun to go to Disneyland and see if any changes would evolve with the ride and they did a decent job of it in my opinion.

    I definitely knew this film was going to be a completely different story and I was excited at the idea of any kind of re-boot. As a Jolie fan; I was intrigued on how she was going to play such an iconic character; especially with so much going on with her recent medical challenges. It was fascinating to watch her pick up her actual daughter and after “young Aurora” examines her horns; she lets her down stating “I don’t like children… shoo… shoo.. go along…” It was endearing and fun – definitely entertaining! Putting in a bit of humor (even if it was very slapstick at times) was amusing as she refers to Aurora as “Beasty” all the time!

    I am super surprised at how many people compare “Maleficent” to the animated musical Sleeping Beauty film. Why? The minute I heard Lana Del Rey’s “Once upon a dream” in the Maleficent previews – I thought what a “haunting” version… I would really like to see how Disney is going to “evolve” Maleficent. My husband and I agree that Jolie did become Maleficent on screen right before our eyes!

    This movie reminds me that we all have that dark side; where we have done and said things we regret and wish we could “take back”. I thought Jolie’s performance was amazing! I think most agree on that. She clearly met all my expectations on making Malficent show every emotional facet with a maternal twist as the most “powerful fairy” of “the moors”, that is.

    I do agree that the three fairies were a bit of a disappointment to us adults – but we heard the kids laughing during all their silly scenes… so how can that be a bad thing?

    The King Stefan character played by Copley was miscast – period… especially in the scenes where he is opposite Jolie as a “couple”. The chemistry just wasn’t coming out of Copley.

    The christening scene was magnificent and she definitely became the Maleficent that I remember as a kid; she displayed plenty of evil there, still powerful, still menacing.

    Catsuit; yep, helped her swing Stefan around I guess. There were so many perfectly designed costumes on Jolie’s Maleficent…so, she does not turn into a dragon… don’t care. Her companion Deovon becomes the dragon – and there was the opportunity to have her brown dragon looking costume of horns and cape magically appear to match along with her dragon while her wings reattached… no need for a black catsuit – easy fix for DVD.

    Overall, a fun summer movie that makes me love Maleficent even more!! How many Maleficents will be at the castle now, I wonder?

  • mykeedee

    Well I just loved the movie. Angelina Jolie’s performance was flawless and whilst it was completely not what I expected to me it just made sense. You can’t be evil just for the sake of it. Mind you im also a big Once Upon a Time fan;)

    A demanding modern day audience just wants more intelligence in film. Had it been what so many complained and asked for then we probably would have wound up with another OZ the great and powerful. Hmmm makes me wonder that so many nowadays have a pre-conceived idea of what to expect that perhaps the whole reality of the thing is always doomed to disappoint? We do the same with our Park’s. Interesting that the notable exceptions of late are often the one’s not offered by Disney? Perhaps because the likes of Universal are listening to the needs of their Audience and responding with gusto.

    Has the Mouse gotten so arrogant that they have a better idea of what their Audience wants? It would most certainly appear that way

  • Algernon

    So the three fairies are now young and slim, as opposed to older and more motherly in the original. Is it because they’ve joined the Campbell’s Soup kids and Pillsbury Doughboy at Weight-Watchers? Or is Disney hoping to sell fairy outfits to little girls, and they need something they can relate to? Or maybe they just feel they have some sort of duty to “make kids eat right.” I liked the originals better.

  • Tinkbelle

    I agree with this article. This was not the story of Sleeping Beauty. They could have changed the names of the characters and made a few costume changes and you would hardly recognize it as having anything to do with Sleeping Beauty. I don’t mind artistic liberties but I do mind when they change almost everything about the characters and storyline and still try to sell it as the same story. Especially when it is put out by Disney who gave us the classic that we know and love.

    Maleficent is meant to be deliciously evil. Aurora and her prince are meant to fall in love – genuine love – and that love awakes her from her sleep. Without those two elements it is not the same story. They could have really developed the relationship between Aurora and Phillip and had Maleficent watching on in disgust but with smug delight that they will be tragically torn apart by her evil schemes. One of the best parts about Maleficent is the evil mind games she plays with Phillip while he is chained up in her dungeon in the original Disney movie. They could have expounded on that more and had her playing more villainous tricks on the couple and messing with their dreams etc.

    In this movie Maleficent said there was no such thing as true love, and she was referring to romantic love. It would have been great for the movie to send the message at the end that there is indeed true romantic love. Instead it propagates the idea that real love is familial and not romantic. In Frozen and Brave we got similar messages, but those were not remakes of Disney classics that originally espoused the idea of true romantic love. The movie also made every male character either a jerk or a puppet.

    This movie was a missed opportunity to do something great with the Disney classic in live action.