Angelina Jolie is perfect for the part of Disney’s most iconically evil villainess. If only they’d let her play it for more than one scene. Maleficent: my “Reel Faith” review.
I’m very much open to fairy-tale revisionism in general, and to feminist critiques of classic fairy tales in particular. As a father of three daughters, I chafe at the passiveness of so many traditional fairy-tale princesses waiting for their prince to come and rescue them. Give me princesses like Leia from Star Wars, Merida from Brave or Tiana from The Princess and the Frog any day. But there’s a difference between creative revisionism and simple inversion.
A story like this demands to be seen through the lens of what biblical scholars call “redaction criticism,” which basically means “What was changed, added or deleted in this retelling of the story, and what do those changes tell us about the storyteller’s intentions and outlook?”
It’s fair to say that Disney’s Maleficent plays to an extent as warmed-over Frozen. This is not a good thing, even, I think, if you are a fan of Frozen.
A worthy successor to the early classics Snow White and Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty is the one great fairy-tale adaptation of Disney’s post-war period, outshining Cinderella and unrivaled until 1991’s Best-Picture candidate Beauty and the Beast.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.