Almost everyone that’s ever been a child knows the story of Sleeping Beauty. Baby is born, three nice fairies give her gifts but one not so nice one (aptly named Maleficent) provides her with a death sentence. In order to prevent this, the fairies change the curse from death to sleep, thus giving her the name “Sleeping Beauty”.
Unfortunately, Maleficent’s motives for such a horrible present are never really explained. Sure, there’s a cursory nod given, but not being invited to the party is a bit of a minor offense to earn the death of a child. So it’s fortunate that the master of eerie angles and gothic style, Tim Burton, may plan on examining the story from her point of view and finally explaining why she hated the baby so much.
Despite earlier assumptions that Burton’s next project would be an adaptation of “Dark Shadows”, a 1960s tv show, it now seems that the House of Mouse may be too strong to break away from just yet. With the upcoming “Alice in Wonderland” adaptation generating so much positive buzz, its easy to see the attraction for Disney. It’s been proven* that retelling a story from the “villain’s” point of view can work extraordinarily well. Add to that Burton’s talent for dealing with the darker side of stories and there’s the makings of a fairy tale with a totally new vibe and a sympathetic evil character. This could even be Disney’s very own Sweeney Todd! Though probably with a lot less blood.
Of course, as with all Burton movies, the first question in everyone’s mind is “who will Johnny Depp play?” My money’s on the evil raven.
*One of the more recent examples is the success of “Wicked”, the novel adapted into a Broadway musical that retells the story of the Wizard of Oz from the “Wicked” witch’s side. If you haven’t seen or read it, it’s definitely worth taking a look.