Claiming positions on this summer’s absolute must-watch lists, Maleficent hit the big screen with a bang on May 28, grossing $170 million within the first week alone. Recreating a beloved Disney tale, this film is perfect for kids in which an age-old villain adopts a heart of gold.
But disregarding the CGI, all-star casting, and induced feel-good shebang, knowing that people are being paid to rewrite screenplays such as this is highly vexing, especially as a struggling writer myself. It’s slightly infuriating to realize that this screenplay probably afforded someone out there a house — maybe even two.
Shifting the story’s perspective from Princess Aurora’s to Maleficent’s was director Robert Stromberg’s attempt to reinvent the classic fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty. Unfortunately, instead of the 360-degree spin that viewers were hoping for, he only managed to make it to a 90-degree angle. Apart from the added 10 minutes, the overarching binding story was a carbon copy of Disney’s 1959 Sleeping Beauty.
Furthermore, Disney’s recent attempts to shift the focus from a damsel in distress waiting for her prince charming to a story of familial love and independence are simultaneously admirable and overdone. While the back-to-back releases of Frozen and Maleficent scream of girl power, this new fourth wave of feminism is causing extinction within the realm of storytelling.
While Maleficent is an easy film to digest, why try to fix something that isn’t broken? Despite the added fairies, Maleficent did not offer anything new to the classic tale. Aided by a few nuances, the film was predictable and simply became another project to be filed under “They’re Running Out of Film Ideas”.
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