[Movies] Maleficent – Spoilers to the Max.

So let’s talk Maleficent. As previously warned, I’m going to spoil everything for you if you haven’t already seen it.

Photo: Frank Connor/Disney
Photo: Frank Connor/Disney

Before I get into the meat of this rant, I want to say that the costume design for Maleficent deserves prestigious awards, as well as the team that did the character designs and final renderings of Diavil’s many animal transformations: Kudos to always having the raven element to every form.

The main complaint I’ve heard plastered all over my Facebook wall is that she wasn’t pure evil as she was portrayed in the 1954 animated original. Can I say this with the utmost respect?: UHDUH. You really thought Disney was going to make a terrifying movie about the darkest and most sinister of concepts: An unrelentless evil sociopath? Disney would never make that movie. Hell, Tim Burton wouldn’t even make that movie! Whoever did those twisted Saw movies, yeah that guy might do it. The sicko behind The Human Centipede might as well. Is that what you want? Maleficent to just be satan incarnate? I think she deserves a little more than the two dimensions of evil bitch and maniac. In the animated feature, she wasn’t the main character, so the reasons behind her being evil weren’t necessary: We were just expected to understand that she was. And why not? She wasn’t the title character! So here we are, offered a movie to gain insight to her complex past, and we want more. What is that? The lady was drugged, her wings were taken from her by a man she trusted and loved, and we’re not happy that she manages to overcome this? We want her to be tortured forever? REALLY?! How anti-fem is that?!

In the film, we learn that her rage and vengeance was entirely against King Stefan, and baby Aurora was just the vessel to unleash that fury. As young annoying tweens (seriously, I could not wait for that little back-story bit to just be over: It was just so awful. You want me to believe that orphaned Maleficent was not affected by the fact that she was the only human-sized fairy in the land? She’s just bubbly and happy, throwing mud at weird goblin-like frogs? Seriously? Missed character development there, Disney. And seriously, you might have won more people over if you showed how deep her scars ran before some evil man ruined her.) they meet and become friends, then at 16 he offers her a kiss of True Love which obviously doesn’t pan out. Stefan badly wants to become King, and the easiest way to do so is to slay Maleficent, the most powerful being in the realm. Here we go, this is what I want: A man threatened by a powerful woman. BAM. YES. Because that is something that women can relate to! The whole kingdom is in a frenzy because there is a woman, a strong force, they cannot control. This is where you got my interest.

Stefan, being the human embodiment of greed and grossness, goes to “warn her”, which really means to woo her until she feels safe, then he drugs her and rips her wings from her lifeless, drugged body. That is pretty heavy, and for me, it kinda made my stomach twitch. When she awakes, she is in the worst sort of shame/pain/helplessness emotional spiral, shown through tears and heart-aching screams. We’ve just seen Maleficent robbed of her innocence, as represented by her wings. A man came in, took what he wanted, and left her there to deal with the aftermath, alone and broken. Whoa, Disney. Thanks for going there, because this shit happens. The first instinct is of course, vengeance. She will never get back what was taken from her, so she has to take the same measure from him to feel like justice was served. Let’s curse his daughter! Because not only did he take her wings, he then married another woman and got exactly what he always wanted: A happy ending in his stupid effing castle. Hells to the nah – He’s gonna pay.

So obviously the curse happens, and the dumb fairies (loved them in the original, but they are entirely a waste of CG money in this) take Aurora to a cottage to raise, where we learn Maleficent watches her. Long story short, she learns to love again by watching the innocent Aurora grow up into a beautiful and competent young maiden (honestly, she bored me, but I’m not going to judge Maleficent’s taste). She tries to reverse the curse, learning that she took out her anger on the wrong person. But it’s too late. The point is that Aurora is like therapy to Maleficent: She eases her broken heart, she gives her hope, and she is able to see through her own personal darkness by reveling in the light of Aurora’s presence (how’s that for sappy?).

Ultimately (I’m not going to spoil everything), Maleficent redeems herself, and HER CURSE is broken. Technically, Stefan’s curse. She overcomes that trauma he bestowed upon her and decides to move past that dark moment of her life that she’s been brooding over for 16 years. What does this teach little girls? That bad things can happen to you. That there are mean people that can hurt you. BUT despite the pain and the unfairness of it all, you will be loved and you can overcome it. You don’t need to be a victim, you can come out on top. And yet, this awesome gem of hope in a tragically dark time means nothing because Maleficent wasn’t evil enough. Nope. I’m not swayed. I thought it was a great movie and I’m glad someone had the balls to get it made.

/rant

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[Film] First Maleficent Trailer Released

I have been waiting for the release of this trailer since the project was first announced. However, I hate to say, this is not what I was hoping for. When I first heard of Disney making a movie about Maleficent, easily one of the most spectacular villains in all of Disney history, I felt rewarded and pleased. I have found Disney villains to be such great characters, and to really focus on one of the best seemed like such a great concept for a film. As details came to light, such as Paul Dini being a writer on it (He created Harley Quinn, a cosplay favorite, and wrote on the best Batman cartoon series of all time: Batman the Animated Series), I started to get even more excited. But after watching this trailer, I’m a bit worried.

Don’t take my hesitance as a sign of disinterest: I find that I had my hopes held very high for this film, but I may have forgotten it was Disney’s and not my own imagining. And I’d also like to acknowledge that a one and a half-minute trailer isn’t really setting in stone how this movie is going to go. But there were some things that didn’t sit well with me. Number one: The presence of Aurora. She’s pretty much the entire trailer. Why do I give a crap about her? I saw her movie, I love her movie, but I came here for her villain. Though I did like the details of her being an actual 16-year-old, because that animated princess was totally a full-grown woman. Second point: There was so much CG in that trailer that it can’t help but remind me of the disaster that was the 2010 remake of Alice in Wonderland. Did you not learn from your past mistakes, Disney?! Thank fuck they didn’t let Tim Burton near this one, or I would have cried. And since I went there, I’d like to note that it pains me to say that. I grew up thinking Tim Burton would be the only creative director to understand me, but he betrayed me when he stopped creating original content and started speed-casting his wife. Also, I miss Lisa Marie. Not sure why. Anyway, SO much CG and we haven’t even seen the dragon yet! See how this concerns me?

I will say, on the positive and still very enthusiastic side, the design concept for Maleficent’s costume is beautiful and striking, as is the harsh features of Angelina’s face. Gorgeous. I’m glad they decided not to paint her green, though I’m sure they could have and still had an impressively gorgeous creation. From what I’ve read, the concept of the film is Maleficent’s back-story and version of the events that happened in Sleeping Beauty.

[Recap][Cosmetics][Places] I Could Have Done Separate Posts But Shut Up

And I’m back! I guess my physical vacation became an internet vacation as well. I’m sad to report that I didn’t experience any hauntings or spooky happenings aboard the Queen Mary upon my stay. Though I say that with disappointment now, if something supernatural had happened, I’d be reacting with sheer terror and absolutely no excitement.

Spooky, Scary!
The Queen Mary: Spooky, Scary!

 

But enough about awesome and old British ships! Let’s talk Disney.

E.l.f Cosmetics released their Disney Villains Collection exclusively at Walgreen’s recently, and I am fully confident in telling you all that it’s more than worth the $10 for a palette look-book set! I have three of the four (Maleficent, Evil Queen and Ursula… sorry, Cruella), and my favorite thing about the shades is that they’re not too costume-like. I don’t feel like an actual cartoon character when I wear them, but instead like a sophisticated and sultry adult. Well done! And the primer is the best I’ve used since Urban Decay’s! I’m not even exaggerating!

And on the topic of Disney, I leave you with a picture I recently took there with my friend and co-writer on [meepzine],  Peter Girard. I would like to note that I am wearing poison apple Mickey ears that were of a 400 limited quantity from Disneyland’s Friday the 13th celebration. Just sayin’!

Me and my friend Peter at Disneyland. I'm actually thrilled, I promise.
Me and my friend Peter at Disneyland. I’m actually thrilled, I promise.