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Monday, June 2, 2014

Maleficent -- spoiler alert

"Sleeping Beauty" was first released in 1959, before I was born. It wasn't re-released until 1970. In the pre-cable tv, pre-VCR/DVD world, if a movie wasn't on TV ("The Wizard of Oz" was an annual event), you had to wait for a movie to be re-released to theaters if you missed it the first time. So I would not have had an opportunity to see the film until I was ten years old.



And yet I have memories of the film that predate its re-release. I'm sure I saw clips on "The Wonderful World of Disney". And I had a record album, with an accompanying picture book, Mary Martin reading the story of Sleeping Beauty, and, of course, it included the songs from the soundtrack. (You can actually find this on YouTube and iTunes!  Here's a link.  http://youtu.be/5vzyAjXsi-o )



Definitely one of my favorites, when it was re-released in 1979 I dragged some college friends to the movie theater across the street from the campus to see it.



Beautiful animation, a lovely princess, humor, an evil villainess and that wondrous Tchaikovsky music! Absolutely divine.



And that villainess. Maleficent. Evil and elegant. Amazing.







When I visited Disneyworld in the 90's I always found interesting things in the Villains shop. I am the proud owner of a long sleeved t shirt bearing Maleficent's image. The "wallpaper" on my cell phone is an image of Maleficent as she appeared in a show in front of Cinderella's Castle.



So you know I had to, simply had to, see the new movie, "Maleficent".



I loved it.



Angelina Jolie not only looks the part, she has turned Maleficent into a real person with a full range of emotions.



King Stefan is the real villain of the story, he ruins his relationship with Maleficent through his own greed and ambition. His fear of her potential revenge ruins his life, he becomes paranoid and obsessed.



When Stefan betrays Maleficent by cutting off her wings, Maleficent's anguish and hatred is overwhelming. She is wickedly charming at Aurora's christening, adding the false hope of redemption through "true love's kiss", when neither she nor Stefan believes that true love exists.



Maleficent is healed and saved through her relationship with Aurora. And Aurora is saved from Maleficent's curse, not by the fumbling first kiss bestowed by Prince Phillip, but by Maleficent herself. Maternal love given to Aurora and daughterly devotion returned by her saves Aurora from endless sleep.



And yes, you will hear "Once Upon A Dream"; it's sung over the credits.



A very different take on the story, but one I thoroughly enjoyed.



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