'Maleficent' trailer shows Angelina Jolie as the 'Sleeping Beauty' villain(Read article summary)
'Maleficent' shows another side of the 'Sleeping Beauty' fairy tale, focusing on the fairy often thought of as evil. 'Maleficent' also stars Elle Fanning and Ella Purnell.
Maleficent is the next installment in Walt Disney Picturesâ€™ digital era live-action fairy tale movie series, which began with Tim Burtonâ€™s Alice in Wonderland and continued to enjoy success (though not as much $ucce$$) with Sam Raimiâ€™s Oz the Great and Powerful earlier this year. However, the Mouse Houseâ€™s Sleeping Beauty film doesnâ€™t have an A-list director; itâ€™s banking on the name of its leading lady, Oscar-winner Angelina Jolie.
Jolie stars as the eponymous malevolent fairy in the film, which introduces us to Maleficent as a teenager (played by Kick-Ass 2 costar Ella Purnell) and examines her experiences growing up. That includes, the events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse the innocent Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning), as retribution for the wrongful acts that she had suffered over the years.
Basically, Maleficent is Disneyâ€™s revisionist take on the classic Sleeping Beauty story, as told from the perspective of its villainess; itâ€™s what Wicked is to The Wizard of Oz. The screenplay was penned by Linda Woolverton â€“ writer of Disneyâ€™s animated Beauty and the Beast, Mulan and Burtonâ€™s Alice retelling â€“ with additional material provided by John Lee Hancock (co-writer of Snow White and the Huntsman and director of Saving Mr. Banks).
Maleficent is the directorial debut for Oscar-winning production designer and visual effects artist, Robert Stromberg (Avatar, Alice in Wonderland). Indeed, the filmâ€™s teaser trailer footage is as lush and gorgeously dark as one might imagine, based on its directorâ€™s background. Moreover, the scenery appears to be a healthy blend of practical sets and stylized digital elements, creating the impression of a world that is all too real and fantastical at once.
Based on what little is shown here, Jolie seems to be channeling the vocal mannerisms of Eleanor Audley, who voiced Maleficent in Disneyâ€™s animated Sleeping Beauty feature; a fine decision, if thatâ€™s the case. Similarly, Fanning looks to be wise casting too, as far as her playing a princess for the 21st-century (read: more grounded version of Aurora). And this teaser doesnâ€™t even feature the other members of the filmâ€™s reputable cast, which includes Sharlto Copley (Oldboy), Miranda Richardson (Harry Potter), Imelda Staunton (Another Year), Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who) and Juno Temple (Horns).
Of course, whether Maleficent will have the narrative substance to go along with the eye candy and excellent cast, is another matter. Painting villains in a more sympathetic light is in fashion right now, as the popularity of characters such as Loki in the Thor movies is a testament to. Thereâ€™s certainly potential for Jolieâ€™s evil fairy to wind up being a compelling Shakespearean tragedy case study, but as always weâ€™ll have to wait and seeâ€¦
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.