It could be the best of films.… or it could be the worst. Disney is revisiting one of their scariest characters in this tale of Maleficent, complete with a new back story that re-writes a lot of what they first showed us in 1959 with Sleeping Beauty. Abandoning the original back story is one reason to be scared; having Angelina Jolie re-create this classic character is another.… but should Maleficent really scare us? We have a peak now to make that judgement.
Disney has just released a teaser video from this May 2014 release. While there is a lot to worry about, there is also some reason to be hopeful. The film is produced by Don Hahn and written by Linda Woolverton, both of whom helped create one of Disney’s greatest animated films, Beauty And The Beast. And with Angelina Jolie both starring and exec-producing, you know there is plenty of money in the project.
But Angelina Jolie could also prove to be a negative– she is not at the top (or even on the first page!) of my list of great female actors. Is she really best suited for this role, or is it just an ego project she is personally bankrolling? On my first viewing of the teaser, I think she may yet impress me in this roll. I especially like her last laugh. Let’s she if she can keep up this intensity for a whole film, because Maleficent is nothing if not intense.
Also apparent from a first viewing is that they are definitely taking liberties with the original Sleeping Beauty. As you may recall from Disney’s 1959 animated original, Maleficent spent sixteen years trying to find the young Aurora. It looks to be in this film that Maleficent spent sixteen years watching Aurora the whole time. And, as I look at my original Maleficent cel, I note she was decidedly green in color; Jolie looks pale, but hardly chartreuse.
The heavy hand of CGI everything is very apparent in the trailer, too. Honestly, I am getting a little sick of films that are perfectly exposed in impossible settings. I would be nice to see some practical sets again… Ultimately, I have a lot of faith in Linda Woolverton, and that she will pull something good out of this, despite the rewriting of Sleeping Beauty history.
So give this a look. Let us know what you think– are you looking forward to this film, or does Maleficent really scare you?