“Maleficent” – I really liked this movie

 

In a time long ago, on the moors of a far away land, all  manner of fairies, pixies, and magical creatures lived happily together led by a young girl named Maleficent  (Isobel Malloy).  One day she meets a human coming through the hedges. It is Stefan (Jackson Bews). The two young people become friends. When they grow up Stefan assists the king beyond the moors and Maleficent leads her kingdom.

The king tries to attack the fairy kingdom and fails. As he lays dying he promises his crown to the man who can bring back the head of Maleficent (Angelina Jolie). Stefan (Sharlito Copely) gives into his ambition and pretends to still be Maleficent’s friend.  He puts sleeping powder into a drink and when she is asleep he cuts off her wings.

Maleficent is crushed and disappointed by the betrayal and vows vengeance. But she needs help so a crow that can morph into any form, Diaval (Sam Riley), becomes her wings.

Stefan becomes king, marries and he and his wife have a child. Maleficent manages to break into the Christening party and curses the baby girl, Aurora (Elle Fanning). Stefan is so frightened that he destroys all the spindles in the land and sends his daughter off with three fairies to mind her until the day after her 16th birthday when she should be safe from pricking her finger and falling into a deep sleep until true love finds her and gives her a kiss.

Now, this sounds like “Sleeping Beauty,” and it is, but there are many twists and turns in the story that make it fresh, entertaining, and meaningful, even for grown-ups.

Angelina Jolie is wonderful as Maleficent and Elle Fanning is such a natural. If you recall the 2011 film “Super 8″ you’ll remember that her performance was amazing for such a young actress.

You can find themes of friendship, betrayal, revenge, consequences, regret, restitution, motherhood and so much more. A case could also be made about what it means to be a godparent (what it is and what it isn’t) that could enlighten parents who are choosing godparents for their children. It’s interesting that so much starts around the Christening.

It is a little dark here and there and there is some peril. The perennial battles occur because this is how so many stories deal with the conflict created by greed and power . But Aurora is a light, and as her name suggests, she is the dawn of a new beginning for Maleficent, herself, and all the land.

(Most people are saying this is good for kinds 10 + but if your child is movie savvy, and you are with him or her, I think you’ll find much to talk about even if the kids are a little younger.)

 

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