Mistress of evil

Tags: Films

Maleficent portrays the journey of a beautiful, pure-hearted young woman into one of the most sinister Disney villains

Mistress of evil
The pretty princess has had her day in the sun; now, it’s the turn of the villain. Disney’s latest cinematic offering is a first — rather than telling the tale from the point of view of the good guys, Maleficent reveals the other side of evil. Toplining Angelina Jolie as the eponymous Disney character, the film is a live-action re-imagining of the 1959 Disney animated film Sleeping Beauty. Maleficent, which marks the directorial debut of production designer Robert Stromberg (Alice in Wonderland and Oz the Great and Powerful) and is scripted by Linda Woolverton, stars Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville.

Only the most die-hard Sleeping Beauty fan will be familiar with Maleficent — the woman who places a curse on Princess Aurora and sentences her to a lifetime of sleep. But Maleficent wasn’t always this way. Called “one of the most sinister Disney villains”, she begins life as a beautiful, pure-hearted young woman. Growing up, she lives in a peaceful forest kingdom and has all that her heart desires. Everything changes the day an invading army threatens the peace in her land. Maleficent makes a mark as the kingdom’s fiercest protector, but ends up suffering a cruel betrayal — the heartless act begins to turn her pure heart into stone. Keen to avenge herself, she readies for an epic battle with the invading king’s successor. Things end with the Mistress of All Evil placing a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora — to “prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die” before the sun sets on her 16th birthday. But as the girl grows up, she is caught in the middle of the raging conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent soon realises that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the kingdom — and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well!

Jolie, who made her keen-ness to play the iconic villain apparent from day one, is seen in her first big role in four years. She makes for a magnificent Maleficent, courtesy the enhanced high cheek bones and headgear with horns. During filming, she admitted that the portrayal of Disney’s most iconic villain had scared her children, who had to be reassured that it was only makeup. That didn’t stop her daughter, Vivienne, 5, from joining her mum on the sets to portray the young Aurora. Her Maleficent, Angelina has said “isn’t the pretty princess. She isn’t a beautiful queen. She’s a very awkward, pointy, slightly scary-looking horned creature who goes through a lot in her life, as we discover. [Maleficent] … is not perfect. She’s far from perfect…it’s a very good message to say, ‘Let’s look at something from the other side’,” she has said.

That seems to be the idea behind Maleficent – showcasing the “other side”. However, rumours are rife that the dark nature of the film has investors worried — they are predicting that the $90million film might not hit bull’s eye at the b-o. But Disney, which is targeting young adults rather than their

traditional fan base of children, doesn’t seem to be worried. And if the studio hits pay dirt, we might well learn the backstories of Cinderella and Snow White’s stepmothers!

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