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Sunday, June 8, 2014
The Disney Company is starting to re-invent its past and famous interpretations of classic fairy tales and it is a little scary to see what they are coming up with. When the animated feature “Sleeping Beauty” was released in 1959, the world was a place full of hope. People could sit through a story about an evil fairy and a princess who had to be awoken from a curse with true love’s first kiss. But that was 1959, and the Walt Disney Company has recognized that times have really changed.

The kind of art a society creates is always indicative of its condition. This re-imaging of “Sleeping Beauty” is a great movie, but its purpose should really terrify anyone who has hope for the future. All of the glorious pretenses that made the first movie a whimsical classic are completely gone and replaced with stark reminders that our society is in trouble and headed in the wrong direction. I won’t include any spoilers here, but you will only recognize parts of the original story in the movie “Maleficent.”

Let’s get a couple of rapidly growing rumors out of the way first, because I cannot believe some of the things I have already read about this movie. There is no rape scene. Please believe me when I tell you that the scene that is being referred to as a “rape scene” is NOTHING even close to what is being described.

The other fallacy about this movie is that it is a kiddie movie. If this is what kiddie movies look like nowadays, then we are all in big trouble. This is an action-packed drama with plenty of violence and terrifying scenes. You can take the kids to see it, but keep a close eye on them as they try to understand how this is a fairy tale.

The strange thing about “Maleficent” is how it is a semi-horror movie that remains deeply rooted in its fairy tale origins. At certain parts of the movie, you just have to tell yourself that it is a fairy tale and that it isn’t supposed to make sense. The story has plot holes big enough to drive a truck through, but you can dismiss them pretty easily if you just sit back and enjoy it.

The two lead actors, Angeline Jolie and Sharlto Copley, are magnificent. Angeline Jolie has spent so many movies shaking her naked ass in front of the camera that people forget that she can really act. It is Jolie’s performance that continually rescues a weak script and keeps the audience interested in what is going on. Copley plays the role of a man deteriorating under the weight of his own success perfectly. Lesser actors would have caused this film to fall apart at several points in the story, but these two keep the movie going and make it a pleasure to watch.

The visual production on this movie is flawless. The effects are done so well that they also help to carry the movie. Angeline Jolie did all of her own stunts, which also helps to make the movie look spectacular.

This movie is not hard to watch, but it can be hard to follow sometimes. Some of the decisions that the characters make are critical to the plot, but they don’t make any sense. At those moments, that is when it is best to tell yourself it is a fairy tale and just let it go. I found myself dismissing a lot to get through the movie, but it was ultimately worth it.

All in all, “Maleficent” is a dark retelling of the story of “Sleeping Beauty.” It is dark because it is being told from the “bad guy’s” side, but it is also dark because that is the world that the Disney Company is marketing the movie to. This is definitely not grandma’s Disney fairy tale, but it is worth the price of admission.

Next up is Disney’s reinterpretation of “Cinderella.” After seeing “Maleficent,” I cannot wait to see what is in store for the evil step-sisters.

Rating: 2 out of 5

George N Root III is a Lockport resident and Disney movie fan. He spends his weekends watching movies at the Sunset Drive-in and invites you to do the same. You can contact him at

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