Disney’s Maleficent Teaches That True Love Comes in Many Forms. Like many young girls, I grew up watching the Disney classics like Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty was always one of my favorites because Aurora was such a joyful girl and I loved the premise that she faced adversity from the very beginning, subjected to circumstances far beyond her control.
I always wondered WHY Maleficent hated Aurora so much and cursed her; in most Disney movies, we get a little back story about why the villain goes after the princess, but Sleeping Beauty always had that air of mystery. When I heard that Disney was making a new version of Sleeping Beauty, told from the perspective of Maleficent, I almost peed my pants.
A Disney movie not about the princess, but the Villain who sets out to destroy her?
The official synopsis got me excited way back:
Maleficent explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic Sleeping Beauty and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.
Now, like most movie synopses, that left a lot to the imagination. What did they mean, revenge? What happened? What kingdom? The original Sleeping Beauty didn’t talk about any of that stuff! Every time a new trailer came out, I was giddy with anticipation.
I wanted to know Maleficent’s story.
WARNING: LOTS AND LOTS OF SPOILERS AHEAD!
Maleficent begins with showing us a young Maleficent, who happens to be an orphaned fairy living in a magical forest called the Moors. One day, a young man is caught trying to steal a gem from the stream in the forest and Maleficent confronts him, makes him give it back – and the end up becoming friends.
Over the years, Maleficent grows into a very strong fairy – the strongest of all of them! – and she falls in love with young Stefan, though he eventually grows apart from her as they grow into adults.
That’s where things fall apart. Stefan works for the King and of course, the King wants to dominate the Moors and starts a fight with Maleficent. Obviously, he loses. On his deathbed, he offers the throne and his daughter’s hand in marriage to whomever can kill Maleficent. Stefan goes to the Moors to warn Maleficent, and they have a wonderful reunion.
Despite their history and the feelings they shared for so long, Stefan betrays Maleficent and steals her wings so that he can win the throne.
It was a heartbreaking scene and in the moment that Maleficent wakes up and finds that Stefan, her one true love, has stolen the very thing that makes her HER, the entire story of Sleeping Beauty made sense.
Of course the story doesn’t stop there. Maleficent, without her wings, turns dark. This is when she becomes “evil” – though one can hardly blame her!
Maleficent comes to Aurora’s christening once she hears about it in the Moors and decides to give her own gift to the little princess…
The classic curse that Aurora will prick her finger on her 16th birthday, and fall into an eternal sleep unless she receives a kiss from her one true love.
Finally, Maleficent’s curse involving one true love makes senses – she was betrayed by her one true love and it is a delicious twist of revenge that she makes it so that the very thing that hurt her so deeply would be the thing to set Aurora free. She does this because she does not believe in true love – so essentially, there really is NO cure for the eternal sleep that Aurora will fall into.
I cried like a baby during this scene. It was so rich with emotion, Angelina Jolie is such a powerful actress, and the scene was ripe with hurt, betrayal and hopelessness. Have you ever rooted for a villain? I think that Maleficent might make you want to…
Maleficent follows the story of Sleeping Beauty, where the three fairies take young Aurora into the forest to hide from Maleficent and stay away from the needles, in hopes that they prevent her from ever pricking her finger.
Unfortunately, the fairies are really, really vapid creatures and Maleficent ends up stalking Aurora just in order to keep her alive so that she can actually get her revenge. It’s really quite funny!
One day in the forest, Aurora speaks to Maleficent as she is stalking her and Maleficent realizes that Aurora has always known that she was there – she actually thought that she was her fairy godmother. Oh, the irony!! After that point, Maleficent brings Aurora into the Moors with her every day and they become friends.
It is such a different angle than Sleeping Beauty and once this began happening, I realized where Disney was going with the story of Maleficent.
Maleficent begins to care for Aurora, and one night realizes what a grave mistake she made in cursing the young baby all those years ago. She tries to undo the curse but is unsuccessful. Staying true to the original Sleeping Beauty, at this time, right before her 16th birthday, Aurora meets a young prince in the forest and it seems that they are taken with each other before he goes on his merry way.
Her birthday approaches and when she finds out the truth, she sets off to her father’s castle to confront him.
You can’t undo a curse, remember? Despite Stefan’s trying to lock Aurora up in the castle to ensure her safety, she finds her way to a needle and the curse is fulfilled.
Maleficent sets out to find the young prince who they think may be in love with Aurora and bring her to the castle. He kisses the sleeping beauty and…nothing happens. Maleficent sits on the bed next to Aurora and reflects on the fact that true love does not exist, and kisses her.
It is such a powerful moment, I was sobbing in the theater!
And then we see Aurora’s eyes open.
As it turns out, true love’s kiss? It doesn’t have to be between a prince and a princess.
Maleficent tells the story of Sleeping Beauty, but it tells it from a different angle. One that teaches us about love, betrayal and how one can be lost and redeemed…it is a beautiful, heart warming story and one that I hope you will enjoy just as much as I did!
Is Maleficent okay for young kids?
Now, Angeline is 16 so sometimes it’s a bit difficult for me to remember how she processed movies when she was younger. It’s been a long time!
But I can tell you, Maleficent is not SCARY. There are a few battle scenes that can be jolting for young viewers, like the initial battle scene between Maleficent and the King’s army, and I would think that children under the age of 7 might be scared by this scene, as the effects are done so well that when the forest comes alive to help fight with Maleficent, it seems very realistic.
There is also a battle scene involving a dragon towards the end of the movie that might startle young viewers, but I think that each parent knows their children and their sensitivity level.
If you’ve seen Oz The Great and Powerful with your children, and they were okay with the fight scenes in it, then they will probably be okay with seeing Maleficent because they are along the same lines. There isn’t any blood and guts, even in the intense battle scenes.
Maleficent is rated PG and releases in theaters everywhere TODAY!!