Once Upon a Nightmare

The heck??? Once again, my brain is sincerely and completely puzzled. Strike that. Puzzled isn't the word I want; I am DUMBFOUNDED. Friday night I went to see Hollywood's latest offering known as Maleficent and a cloud of stupidity surrounded me from start to finish. Right from the get-go I could tell the movie was preposterous...yet I figured it couldn't get much worse right? Wrong. My facial expression rarely changed its "duhFREAK" face of disbelief the whole time. Hhhhhhow did this get made the way it did?? And why are so many people eating it up!? I decided to follow that viewing up by later watching the original itself, and my goodness it doesn't even compare. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not one who can't accept multiple versions of things (Jane Austen adaptations come to mind....sorta.) But this was just...nonsensical. Look you can tell Sleeping Beauty again and again all you want, but when you CHOOSE to focus on a character that only appears in a specific version, I feel like you ought to respect that version. So now for the public's well-being, I present you all a list of five reasons not to bother with this alternate retelling, and to stick with the original. SPOILERS BELOW

1. THE FAIRIES - Okay this may seem like an odd choice to have as number one, but this was a huge problem for me. First and foremost, these fairies just LOOK stupid. Secondly, they're bumbling idiots with no personality or purpose whatsoever. In the animated tale, it's Merriweather's quick thinking that allows for the clause in the curse that eventually saves Aurora. Not so here, instead it's simply a jaded Maleficent who adds the clause because she doesn't believe in true love anymore. Yawn. Also, the fairies are the ones who put everyone to sleep once Aurora's curse begins and track down and save Prince Phillip from Maleficent's clutches. Again, this doesn't happen here. Seemingly their only point is to take Aurora in...but then really was that necessary either when they just show that Maleficent was watching over her the entire time? Every time these fairies were onscreen I just cringed. No wonder Aurora didn't mind the idea of not living with them to instead embrace the fairy world. (Even as I type these words I can't even believe how dumb it all sounds.) 

2. WATERED DOWN MALEFICENT - Maleficent has always been one of Disney's coolest villains (if not THE coolest.) I didn't like it, but it made sense that someone might want to explore her story a bit more. But there's a reason we liked her in the first place, and this film completely removes the character we came to love in favor of a bunch of cliches in an attempt to give her "depth." We don't want to feel sorry for her, we want to FEAR her. This movie made her pathetic. And let's just be honest here, this movie was basically a vanity project for Angelina Jolie where she frequently stares into the camera with her green eyes and red lipstick and we're supposed to marvel at her beauty all movie long. Personally I got bored. Anytime she seems remotely interesting is when she's doing the same scenes the old version did and attempting an impression of the iconic villainess.

3. ALL THE MAGIC IS GONE - In the original film it contains moments of magic that are just absolutely charming. From the fairies and their powers in creating the perfect Birthday party for the princess to Aurora's friendship with cheerful woodland creatures. it's a simple world, but it's magical. Instead in Maleficent we get a CGI mess with weird creatures we're supposed to fawn over. Enchanted was able to nail it...why couldn't Maleficent? But it's not just the way things look, it's the way things sound! The animated film had such a great score. From the unforgettable theme of Once Upon a Dream (that at the least could have been played faintly during Aurora and Phillip's meeting ) to the creepy theme that follows Maleficent, the score of the original was pitch perfect. Oh and she never got a magical dress!

Honestly, this would have sufficed and they could have saved A LOT on budget.

4. NO HUMOR - Well I already mentioned my fondness for the fairies. But they weren't the only ones in the original that came with laughs. What about Prince Phillip's horse Samson and his fondness for carrots? Or the minstrel that's constantly stealing wine? Or Prince Phillip's jovial father? There's not even an inkling of comic relief in Maleficent. Oh other than that we're supposed to find it ADORABLY HEARTWARMING that one of the evilest Disney villains, Maleficent can't help but find room in her heart for the growing princess. MEH.

5. THEMES CHANGED IN FAVOR OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS - Here comes the Avatar effect of world consciousness but this time combined with feminism! The story changes in this film all felt so deliberate, stupid and preachy to me.  Once again instead of just dealing with the idea of evils in the world we don't understand, we change it to the cliched "MAN'S GREED LEADS TO EVIL!" Boring. Heaven forbid we see an evil woman depicted without having a good reason. And of course we can't have any men saving the damsel in distress. No. True love only comes from female bonding. I liked that better the first time when I saw it in Frozen. Honestly, why is old fashioned always considered such a bad thing? Just let it be.

So. If you can't tell already. I hated Maleficent. Emily rating: 3/10!


Brady said...

I had zero desire to see this film and after reading your review I'm glad that I won't be seeing it. Don't you think a back story just about Maleficent and how she came to be would be sufficient? Why do they need to twist the original?

Emily said...

Yes, those were my thoughts exactly. It was simply awful.

Johanna said...

Here's the thing that's funny about it being a vanity project for AJ. It's not really her we are looking at, but rather some hyped up, made up cheekbones. Creepy.

Clayton summed it up....will they next make a movie trying to make us feel sorry for Hitler because, poor guy, he didn't get into art school?

Sarah said...

Wow, it sounds like you were being very, very generous in giving this a 3/10.

It sounds terrible...but I might have to get it from Red Box when it comes out on video just so I can see the train wreck.

Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle said...

HATED IT. I spent the entire movie rolling my eyes and exchanging "are you kidding me" looks with my husband. Let me go ahead and spoil Disney's next flop...Ursula.

Poor misunderstood teen, Ursula was in love with King Triton but she was deformed, having been born with more legs than everyone else. King Triton rejects her because he's too embarrassed to be seen with an over-weight octopus-girl, so she takes revenge and years later she curses his favorite daughter. But, as she see's how Ariel struggles to get the Prince's attention, she is reminded of how cruel young love can be and so she tries to save Ariel from the heartbreak of an evil human by getting the prince to fall in love with Ursula instead.. blah blah blah.

I was SOOO mad that they made Prince Phillip (the most courageous and awesome prince in Disney) a total weenie. And then they made King Stephen a bad guy. What, because he is white and male? I accepted Disney's first and second real attempts at feminism (Brave and Frozen) and thought they weren't bad. But this was just in your face awful.

Johanna said...

Michelle, it's bad enough that King Triton even has a favorite daughter! I would go see your show though...But I'm not seeing this one!

Joey said...

Now I have seen it, I must sum it up as a feminist fairy fantasy. I don't know how it empowers women to blame badness on a man having done them wrong.