I went and saw Maleficent yesterday and I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would. The movie used a very unique telling of a story that everyone is more or less familiar with and I think it brought new light to what makes someone a hero or a villain.
I found the visuals of the movie to be spectacular, specifically those sections dealing with flight and the fairy kingdom. There was one scene in particular that I kind of wish I could buy as a painting or a picture of some sort. It was a night-time scene in the Moors with a beautiful, starlit sky and the different colors of the fairies lighting up the forest. It was visually stunning to me and very moving. I also liked how the dragon was done, but that wasn’t until much, much later.
I’ve discussed multiple times throughout my posts about the differences between a hero and a villain and what creates the perception or motivation for each and I really liked how this movie presented the concept.
Maleficent didn’t start out as an evil villain. She started out filled with joy and wonder and clearly very much in love with life. She started out happy. And then she met someone who she thought was wonderful and their relationship went from friendship to love and then from love to betrayal. That betrayal took from Maleficent the thing she valued the most – her wings. In his greed, Stefan abused his relationship with Maleficent so that he could cut off her wings and present them to the dying king, thus earning himself the crown and the king’s daughter as a wife.
I was actually prepared to not dislike Stefan so much if he had intended to use being king to bring peace to his kingdom, but that’s not what happened. He became so obsessed with Maleficent and the Moors that he intended to conquer them instead of accepting them. He wanted to own and possess them, not just share the world with them. I sometimes think that acts of great good must be preceded by acts of great evil and I really was prepared to not dislike Stefan AS MUCH if he had intended to bring peace. That’s not to say I would like him, just that I would dislike him less. But that wasn’t his motive at all. His whole motivation stemmed from personal greed and the desire to make the world bow to his method of viewing it.
Love is one of the greatest and most tragic emotions that we can feel. It’s also the most powerful. Speaking from very recent experience in love and heartbreak, love is wonderful when it’s shared and incredibly destructive when out of love comes betrayal and rejection.
Stefan took Maleficent’s freedom and her joy. He drugged her and took everything that made her unique and special. And then he abandoned her, broken and torn.
Maleficent had been filled with so much love and joy and thankfulness, but when she lost everything that made her who she was, she cracked and turned into a villain. When she woke up and realized all that she had lost, I really felt her pain. She’d lost her love and her freedom and everything that made her special, all in one night because she trusted Stefan and because she loved him. Everything hurt – her body, her heart, her mind. In some ways, the barriers she enacted around the Moors were to protect the fairies from the damages that humans can cause. But in working to protect them, she became a villain to them. She took their joy and happiness and sunshine. She took their freedom.
I guess one of the key takeaways for me was that Maleficent eventually opened her heart again and remembered the love and joy and wonder she used to find in the world. She didn’t just learn it on her own, though. She had to be shown. She was only able to view the world with awe and wonder once she was able to share it with someone she loved. Once she brought love back into her life, she became the hero again. She fixed all the things that had gone wrong. All the things that had been broken by betrayal, rejection, and heartache. And she made all those choices to change on her own. No one made those decisions for her. Maleficent is a prime example of the cycle of love, how everything starts out great, then things suck for a while, then things will eventually work out the way they are supposed to. She was strong enough to get through it and to come out better than she was and that takes a lot of determination and strength of character.
The movie also had a bit of fun humor in it, especially with the three fairies who went to raise Aurora. I laughed a few times and smiled more than I thought I would.
Overall, Maleficent was a new way to look at an old story and I really enjoyed it, though some parts of it hit a little bit too close to home these days. I would probably rate it as a four on my scale, which means I’m likely to purchase it when it comes out.