Sunday, November 9, 2014

Charlize Theron's Ravenna vs Angelina Jolie's Maleficent

So my wife and I watched Maleficent the other night, we recently got Sleeping Beauty (the 1959 animated movie) on Blu Ray. I had never seen it before but I was familiar enough with the story and the stories antagonist Maleficent As far as villains go she is definitely up there on the nightmare fuel list! After watching Sleeping Beauty I thought to myself there is one evil bitch! But as an adult I want to know more about her, why is she evil? Has she always been evil? Apparently Disney thought so too after the relative success of Universals 2012 live action fairy tail Snow White and the Huntsman.
I remember seeing the trailer for SWatH and thinking "wow this movie looks promising". And for the most part it was, even with Kristen Stewart's Ctrl. C-Ctrl. V performance SWatH was good. SWatH had up and coming star Chris Hemsworth and A-lister Charlize Theron which IMHO elevated this movie from mediocre to better than bad. In all honesty Charlize Theron owned every scene she was in in this movie and rightfully so....the movie should have been called Ravenna's Quest for the Ancient Chinese Pearl Cream.
So getting back to Maleficent, I understand it's Disney's property and they can do as they please with their characters, but my wife and I were both let down by this revision of the story of Aurora and Maleficent. I do appreciate the alteration of the "true love's kiss will break the curse" much the same way as Frozen  poked fun at one of Disney's infamous tropes, at first sight->marriage-->live happily ever after. I'm glad to see Disney has outgrown the naivety of it's older films and have stayed relevant in our cynical day and age.
But herein lies my conundrum!  I want Maleficent to be that evil bitch I saw in Sleeping Beauty I feel like they neutered one of their most iconic villains! So in this case I think the 21st century version of Snow White's curse breaking kiss worked better, it allows Ravenna to be evil bitch!
Both films have their strengths; incredible actresses that elevate their characters, impressive use CG for the fantasy creatures in both films, and a more truthful/believable explanation of "true love".
But both also have their short comings: weak performances from the title character coughsnowwhitecough, and too drastic a deviation of the primary villain and other key characters.