Disney's "Maleficent" debuted on Friday and offered up a re-imagination of the of the origins behind the villainous character as seen in "Sleeping Beauty." The story decides to tell the tale of the Maleficent character prior to ever becoming evil. The film brings a revelation of the character's disappointment when one's "true love" is let down. Not unlike Darth Vader's move to "the dark side" upon finding out his "true love" died due to medical complications, one could say Maleficent followed a similar path.
King Stephan, played by Sharlto Copley, was once a childhood lover of Maleficent, played by Angelina Jolie, where they met on the borders between mystical and earthly realms. The creature he fell in love with was a sizable, horned fairy and protector of her realm, but as young Stephan matured, he became more obsessed with material pursuits as he grew weary of living in poverty.
It's the typical, "I just got busy with life" excuse one gives after they've abandoned someone for their selfish desires. Apparently, the current king had the desire to conquer the peaceful bordering kingdom, but was unable to do so as Maleficent's army fended them off with ease.
The special effects among the action sequences, scenery, and Maleficent's magical abilities were rather impressive. The 3D imagery allowed a lot of typically unnoticeable background activity pop out of obscurity and Jolie gave a rather bewitching performance. She even found the scene she played during the Christening of Aurora rather enjoyable to perform. Her facial expressions, haughty laugh, and all around sour grapes attitude of a jilted lover lead her to the curse she laid upon the child. A "sleep like death!" as she put it.
The interesting part of her being so evil, one could see the good in Maleficent. She felt compassion as the king begged her not to cast the curse. But, as a compromise, she gave the child an "out" that it is only by "one's true love's kiss" would release her from the curse. Maleficent romanticized the spell, even though she disappointingly acknowledged that true love doesn't exist. One couldn't really say for sure though.
The twist or re-imagination to this story and what would be considered rather clever was really one of someone's on self-reflection. Aurora, Elle Fanning, was very much representative of the "glass half full" type as she never feared Maleficent when encountering her. The villain was seen, of all things, a fairy godmother of sorts and Maleficent grew quite fond of Aurora, even though she was reluctant to admit it. She could actually see herself as she used to be as a young fairy. One could say she never was really "evil", but just went through a challenging time in her life where she regretted deeply her evil begetting evil. Malefient even warned Aurora of such evils that do exist and to be mindful of those that she may come across that could pose such a threat.
Disney's "Maleficent" is currently running in theaters everywhere so feel free to view with children and other family members. It warms the heart and offers a self-reflection of one's own personal struggles.