Maleficent

The promise of Maleficent is that it redirects our view on the nasty villain who forced Princess Aurora into an egregiously long nap. Drawing on the legacy of other baddie-contextualizing work like “Grendel” and “Wicked,” it theoretically turns a wicked witch into the central character of the story to provide a meaningful, understandable reason as to why she’s a horrible, terrible beast woman.

But the trailer doesn’t bode well for that promise. Or at least the CGI doesn’t.

Every shot has that copycat sheen from Snow White and the Huntsman, as if it were the second in a series of twisted princess stories. Plus, the sfx work looks surprisingly unfinished for a trailer — from the slapdash wall of thorns to the terrifying faeries that are, for some reason, allowed to float around the faces of newborn babies.

Still, it should be interesting to see how writers Paul Dini, Linda Woolverton and Charles Perrault chose to display the title character played by Angelina Jolie. From the bare bones of the trailer, it looks more like they are reconning her completely than simply providing a window into her dark reasoning. Maybe the curse is more like a medically-induced coma while a great evil is vanquished? Or maybe Aurora comes to Maleficent looking to cure her insomnia? Will watching the animated classic be the same after?

We’ll find out on May 30th.


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