When I was little, all I watched was Disney movies. I loved the animation, I loved the songs, and while I was a fan of the heroes, they weren’t nearly as fascinating as their villains. Jafar, Scar, Shan-Yu, Ursala…they were so classy and controlled, and even when they went crazy you knew they would still be amazing. My absolute favorite Disney villain was always Maleficent. As you can imagine, I am 100% pumped for the live action film to come out.
Reason #1: Maleficent is just plain cool.
This really is the most important reason. Other than the whole cursing-a-baby and burning-up-a-castle bit, Maleficent is pretty much perfect. She’s sophisticated, beautiful, powerful, and she gets what she wants…or else. She relies on no one but herself to fulfill her goals.
On top of all that, she gives no excuses for her behavior. Not only does she not care what people say about her, she revels in it. If she had a cell phone “Born This Way” would be her ringtone. She’s the definition of fierce, and secretly, I think she’s what everybody wants to be.
Reason #2: Disney is finally getting it.
When you watched Sleeping Beauty as a kid, Maleficent just felt different from the rest of the characters. Sure she was a little scary, but she was also charismatic and charming. You wanted to know more about her. Why was everybody so scared of her? How did she get that strong? Why did she have an army of really ugly pig-goblins? Why was she up in that castle? What’s with the raven? One loaded history waited behind that wicked little smile of hers.
She’s also completely different from the scared and impressionistic girls Disney tends to gives us. Now, I’m not saying that the princesses are pathetic; there’s nothing weak about ladies like Belle and Pocahontas. It’s just that Maleficent doesn’t have to consult with anybody. She wants something, she takes it. Plain and simple.
If Frozen taught us anything, it’s that we’re tired of stories where the princess has to rely on somebody else. She’s what my generation of movie watchers has been craving from our heroines…and now that we’re the one making movies, we’re going to be darned sure we get them.
Reason #3: Angelina Jolie is perfect for the role.
Disney is doing everything in their power to get this right. They’re catering to the kids who grew up loving Maleficent, so they’re staying true the original film. I mean, her introduction in the throne room is a word-for-word recreation from the animated version:
And they couldn’t have found anyone better to play the Mistress of All Evil. Angelina Jolie is dark, mysterious, strong, and at least a little bit draconian. Her movements, voice, expressions, they’re all spot-on. She totally gets Maleficent.
It looks like they’re finally giving the rest of the characters full-fledged personalities too, which is a much-appreciated bonus if you’re only coming to watch Maleficent be her devilishly smooth self.
Reason #4: It means that Disney is growing up.
The movie is massively significant to Disney’s legacy. It’s a turning point in a lot of ways, starting with the title.
Their animated movies tend to be named for the heroin or the situation they’re involved in, but this one is called Maleficent. They’re flat-out telling you, “We care more about the evil guy than we do the princess.” They’re switching sides, not only metaphorically but physically as well. Look at the beginning of this trailer:
For the first time the camera is taken off the pretty, glittering castle and turned it around so you can see what the kingdom actually looks like. They’re fleshing out the two-dimensional image they’ve used for years, showing you that there’s a lot more to it than some turrets and sparkles.
You have to consider the talent they’re using too. The theme song for the film is a cover of “Once Upon a Dream” sung by Lana Del Ray. Again, that’s Lana Del Ray, a girl who openly sings about sex, cocaine, weed, drinking, chronic depression, suicide, and imprisonment. For a company that used to refuse to declare people dead until they were out of their theme park, that’s a pretty ground-shaking alliance. And Angelina Jolie is no innocent either. Her personal history is rife with sexual and drug-related controversy, along with some weird business with her brother…oh yeah, and her knife-throwing habit. And that whole “she broke up the golden couple” thing. I love her, but Angelina is hardly the kind of woman Disney usually opts for–which is why she’s perfect for this role.
With the success of movies like Wreck It Ralph and Frozen, Disney is seeing that we’re ready to love the bad guys, even the most ruthless of them. They can finally flex their big, leathery wings and tell the kind of stories they’ve always wanted to tell…stories like Maleficent.
Seriously, I am so, so excited.
This article was contributed by staff writer, Nicole Brooks