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The Benevolent Maleficent

 

I don’t really get excited about promising blockbusters anymore. No, not since I discovered BBC’s Sherlock. My life is now complete.

But then again curiousity always gets the better of me, so when my Facebook newsfeed got flooded with comments on how amazing this new Maleficent film is, I thought I should probably check it out.

I did what I usually do before going to the cinema, and headed to the chemist’s first for some motion sickness pills.

“Take one pill 20 minutes before boarding the plane,” the pharmacist instructed, “They’re also very effective for sea sickness and car sickness.”

“What about 3D sickness?” I asked.

Well, I was about to find out.

Admittedly, I had been looking forward to seeing Angelina Jolie playing the ruthless and vengeful Maleficent. If there’s one thing I’ve always loathed about fairy tales, it’s got to be the pious, fair-haired heroine in almost every story. The film adopts the villain’s point of view, and consequently I expected Maleficent to be as evil as can be.

Halfway through the film my expectations were already crushed. To begin with, Maleficent is a good-natured fairy, but the betrayal and greediness of men bring out her dark side. She becomes vindictive, and we can’t blame her. Yes, we’re on her side. We want to see her destroy King Stefan’s life, even if that means cursing his daughter Aurora to a century-long sleep.

Gradually we see Aurora growing into – guess what? A pious, fair-haired woman. Maleficent keeps a watchful eye on her as the girl spends her days frolicking through the meadows. Then, unexpectedly, the unforgiving Maleficent from our childhood Disney film becomes all lovey-dovey.  She develops a mother-like affection for Aurora,  but unfortunately for the repenting Maleficent, the curse cannot be revoked.

Meanwhile, Prince Philip comes along, but the audience can somehow already guess that he’s not going to be the one who saves Aurora from the curse. Despite the major twist on the original fairy tale, the ending is still predictable.

In this version of the tale, Prince Philip is shallow and clueless. We know, for sure, that he can’t wake Aurora from her deep sleep with a true love’s kiss. However, we’ve all seen Brave and Frozen, so at this point we can already figure out who’s going to save the day.

Of course, it’s a Disney film, so a happy ending is inevitable. Maleficent survives the battle against King Stefan and his men and returns to the magical marshes. Aurora joins her, but the plot gets cheesier than that.

The sublime beauty of the marshes is restored. Aurora marries the shallow Prince Philip with the blessing of her now godmother Maleficent. The trio live happily ever after. Maleficent, whose childhood sweetheart and lover betrayed her to win the King’s daughter’s hand in marriage and accede to the throne, eventually spends the rest of her life alongside the daughter of that same, shameful man. I mean, would Maleficent really do that?

I walked out of the cinema all sulky, but at least the motion sickness pill had worked.

 

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