This year marks the 55th Anniversary of the classic Disney movie many of us grew up watching, Sleeping Beauty. It was a fairy tale about a princess who falls under a spell of eternal sleep caused by the favorite and the most feared character in Disney’s gallery of infamy, Maleficent.
Five decades later, we welcome the story of this iconic villain, portrayed by actress Angelina Jolie, in Maleficent. This film explores the untold story of this character and the elements of her betrayal. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect her land, she places an irrevocable curse on the king’s newborn, Aurora. The child grows in between a forest kingdom she has grown to love and the 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. What the viewer will see is the untold story of Maleficent. We get to see her as a young child and will understand what it is that drove her to the dark side.
With so much imagery in this story adorned by castles, creatures and fairy tale cottages, two time Oscar winner for Production Design, Robert Stromberg (“Avatar”, “Alice in Wonderland”) was the perfect person to bring on board. Except he joined the production as a Director, making Maleficent his directorial debut. When I asked him about the challenges of coming in as a director he answered, “It was actually an excitement. I was really looking forward to being able to use those tools that I had not been able to use and that is performance and emotion through dialogue. It makes me feel that I painted a complete picture for the first time.” In showing us a different side of the original film he said, “I wanted the people to feel that they had seen and remembered the essential elements of “Sleeping Beauty”, but with cool and new stuff. It was interesting to show a different side to this character of Maleficent, her backstory.”
For actress Elle Fanning (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Super 8”) who portrays Aurora, winning this role was a dream come true. “When they handed me the script I felt as if they were handing me the crown. It’s been sort of everything that I dreamed of. It’s been really special to play such an iconic character.” On the biggest lesson she learned from working with Angelina Jolie, she said, “I learned to always pay attention to all the details, such as your costume. Your character is something that will always stay with you throughout your acting career. Angie does that. Also, people can get intimidated by her but it was great seeing the playful side of her, especially when her family was around the set.”
If you have seen the original animated film of Sleeping Beauty or even if you haven’t, Maleficent promises to be a great movie that everyone will enjoy. It gives you ‘the other side of the story’ and although you think you know the end of this movie, you really have no idea on what to expect!
Disney’s Maleficent opens in theaters in 3D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D May 30.
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