Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching the dark fantasy film, Maleficent.
An elderly narrator tells the story of Maleficent, a powerful fairy living in the Moors, a magical realm bordering a human kingdom. As a young girl, she meets and falls in love with a human peasant boy wandering the Moors, named Stefan, whose love for Maleficent is overshadowed by his ambition to become king. As they grow older, Stefan stops seeing Maleficent, leaving her to grow into the role of protector of the Moors. One day, the human king tries to conquer the Moors, having promised to do so when he came to the throne, but is thwarted by a mature Maleficent, forcing him to retreat. The king, fatally wounded in the battle, declares that whoever slew Maleficent would be named his successor. An older Stefan hears this while attending to the king, then goes to see Maleficent in the Moors, lying that he has come to warn her of the king’s plot. Stefan drugs Maleficent and attempts to kill her, but cannot bring himself to do it, so he instead cuts off her wings with iron, a lethal weapon to fairies, and presents them to the king as proof of her death. Maleficent awakens to find herself wingless, and laments. She eventually rescues a raven named Diaval, whom she gives a human form, to serve as her only friend and confidant, who later reports to her that Stefan has been crowned king. Maleficent, devastated by Stefan’s betrayal to seize the throne, declares herself Queen of the Moors, forming a dark oppressive kingdom with Diaval as her one companion.
Some time later, Diaval informs Maleficent that King Stefan is hosting a christening for his newborn daughter, Aurora. Bent on revenge, Maleficent arrives uninvited and curses the infant princess: on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, which will cause her to fall into a deep sleep. After Stefan is forced by Maleficent to beg for his daughter, she offers an antidote: the curse can be broken by true love’s kiss. Paranoid of Maleficent’s vengeance against him, Stefan sends Aurora to live with three pixies until the day after her sixteenth birthday, while he destroys and burns all the spinning wheels in the kingdom and hides them in the deepest dungeon in the castle. He sends out his armies to find and kill Maleficent, but she surrounds the Moors with an impenetrable wall of thorns.
Despite her initial dislike for Princess Aurora, Maleficent begins to care for the girl when the careless pixies fail to do so. After a brief meeting with the young Aurora, Maleficent watches over her from afar. While Aurora is 15, she meets Maleficent for the first time and she calls Maleficent her “fairy godmother”, as Aurora recalls being watched over by her all of her life. Realizing she has grown fond of the princess, Maleficent attempts to revoke the curse, but she cannot. Aurora later meets Prince Phillip, and the two are smitten with each other, but have little opportunity to build a relationship. On the day before Aurora’s 16th birthday, Maleficent, hoping to avoid the curse, allows the girl to move to the Moors. Unfortunately, the pixies inadvertently tell Aurora of her parentage and of Maleficent’s true identity, and a furious Aurora runs away to the castle.
After a brief reunion with Aurora, Stefan locks his daughter away in her room for safety. However, she is suddenly drawn by the curse itself to the dungeon, where it assembles a spinning wheel. Aurora pricks her finger on the spindle and falls into a deep sleep, completing the curse. Intent on saving her, Maleficent abducts Phillip and infiltrates Stefan’s castle to have him kiss Aurora and break the curse, but Philip’s kiss fails. Maleficent apologizes to Aurora and swears no harm will come to her, kissing her forehead, breaking the spell, and Aurora awakens, due to Maleficent’s motherly concern for Aurora constitutes true love. Aurora forgives Maleficent and they attempt to flee the castle, but Maleficent is trapped in an iron net and attacked by Stefan and his guards. Maleficent transforms Diaval into a dragon and he lifts the net off her, but is driven back by the soldiers. Stefan beats Maleficent and taunts her, but before he can kill her, her wings, freed from his chamber by Aurora, fly back to her and reattach themselves. With her wings restored, Maleficent overpowers Stefan and carries him onto a tower, but cannot bring herself to kill him, instead declaring their feud over. Stefan attempts once more to kill her, but plummets off the tower to his death.
Soon after, Aurora is crowned queen of the human and fairy realms by Maleficent, forever unifying the two kingdoms, with Phillip at her side. The narrator then reveals her own identity as an older Princess Aurora.
It was a very entertaining film, and definitely an interesting twist on the tale that we all know and love. The acting was very good from all involved, especially Angelina Jolie, and the plot was certainly interesting. I recommend it for any fan of the original story, it’s certainly worth a watch.
Thanks for reading.