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photo from screenonline.com
Beware this review has spoilers.
If you've read any if the reviews of this film from Rotten Tomatoes or other sites the majority of them are mixed. I am still in large part utterly confused about this movie. It does not tell an old story anew, it changes the story completely.
I am a huge fan of the 1959 Movie Sleeping Beauty by Walt Disney. In this film, Aurora is doted on by her parents King Stephan and his wife, and they are very much in love with each other and her. They had struggled to have a child, she was their ray of sunshine. She is the dawn in their lives of barrenness. A child that was prayed for and hoped for and deeply wanted!
They were deeply saddened and shocked to see Maleficent at the celebration of their daughter & heartbroken at having to take their blessed child away to try to keep her safe; as the result of a huge curse would come upon her on her 16th Birthday. When Maleficent cursed Aurora, she had Cursed her to die after pricking her finger on a Spinning Wheel. Merry Weather or Fauna, one of the Fairies had said not in death but in sleep this curse you keep. Until true love's kiss the curse break( something like that.) Maleficent is supposed to be one of the most, if not THE MOST ULTIMATE EVIL in Disney's Creation ever! She turns into a Dragon, and fights Prince Phillip who chivalrously and bravely show courage and devotion to Aurora even as she sleeps. My husband was saying that in the new version they were trying to tell an old story anew; (make it like Wicked, where the Witch was just misunderstood)meaning keep the same traditional elements and basis of the story of the same. Beware that is not the case! But, as my husband indicates; hell hath no fury- than a woman scorned!
The Fairies in the original 1959 film; Flora, Fauna and Merryweather were not completely incompetent twits who neglected the child- they loved her and cared for her. They tried to hide their magic and true selves from her, to protect her. They were often bickering in the film, but not so much as to completely neglect and ignore Aurora. Prince Phillip was enchanted by Aurora's singing voice and love for animals and everything living. Her singing was an outward expression of her grace and beauty. My husband said Maleficent did not showAurora having Grace in the way she moved or her mannerisms. I did not notice this as much as he did; this was the fault of the screenplay, director and producers though. Phillip and her were supposed to dance and sing to "I know you I Walked with You Once Upon a Dream". Which was not in Maleficent. Phillip fights the Dragon who IS Maleficent in the 1959 Film with his Sword of Truth and Shield of Virtue. His Gift is one of Courage and bravery. The Fairies help him overcome Maleficent with Magic and concern for Aurora. Aurora was often called Rose, or Briar Rose in the Sleeping Beauty Film in 1959, because of her love of all things living, she cared for the garden and the woodland creatures; and was gentle and kind.
In Maleficent, Stephan is a huge disappointment. He is the pure evil. So Bad becomes Evil, and Evil is more good than the supposed Hero of the Story, Phillip and King Stephan and his Wife. Stephan becomes a senile man. He starts out as a peasant thief and ends up falling in love with Maleficent. Then, in an effort to secure the throne; warns her the King is trying to kill her & betrays her by cutting off her wings ( which according to the 1959 movie she never had). Stephan does not care about his wife or child in Maleficent, the Bad Fairy watches over the Princess and helps to keep her alive, while the 3 fairies seem completely unaware Aurora has been around The Bad Fairy- or even gone from the cottage. Phillip is put in a trances and lifted to the castle by Maleficent after the curse she tries to stop or revoke; but can't, takes effect. She wants Phillip to break the curse. (In the original movie Maleficent takes Prince Phillip to the Dungeon and chains him up, and comes to mock him because he cannot save his Princess. She is utterly evil and her Raven does not turn into a human, or a Dragon)
In Maleficent The 3 Fairies tell Prince Phillip to kiss her and he feels bad about it, that it doesn't feel right but decides to anyway. This is supposed to wake her up! It is true loves kiss, but Malificent thinks it doesn't exist because of how her heart has been broken and blackened by the evil King Stephan. But Phillip's kiss it does not wake Aurora up, and the Fairies say he did it wrong; Malificent apologizes to Aurora and kisses her it breaks the curse- what?
So confused. Then the Raven turns into a Dragon and fights off the knights and Stephan tries to kill Maleficent who gets her wings back because Aurora frees them from their cage. Maleficent tries to spare Stephan's life but he does not stop trying to kill her and he falls and dies on the castle pavement. The 2 kingdoms are united at the end, because of her love for Aurora and their genuine concern for magical creatures and each other; Phillip does not get to do much of anything except flirt! Maleficent combines all his courage and love and just takes over the movie and is the bad and the good, but Stephan is the Ultimate Evil. She becomes Evil Redeemed. Just not a good rewrite of the classic tale. Poor Phillip and King Stephan! Poor King Stephan's Wife the Queen! He has no regard for her int he film! Goodness! I will not buy the film. I prefer the 1959 version.
Walt Disney would not have stood for this rewrite in his lifetime!