lundi 23 juin 2014

Watch: Maleficent

Good afternoon,

I could not start the blog without making a post about Walt Disney's Maleficent. I had heard good and bad reviews about the movie, and decided to give it a try, because the trailer truely gave me goosebumps. *BEWARE, SPOILERS*

First, here is the plot summary by Walt Disney Pictures, found on IMDB:

A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land's fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal - an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces a battle with the invading king's successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom - and perhaps to Maleficent's true happiness as well.

                  Illustration by Elisabeth Neveux, ink Rohrer and Klinger, nibs Joseph Gillot

Maleficent was a great surprise, I was half expecting to be disappointed, considering some of my previous movie high expectations.
But I can say I truely loved the movie.
Story wise, I like the idea of trying to discover why a villain turned out to be a villain. It is not all black and white. Generally, it's quite easy not to try to understand the reasons, because a villain is made to be hated. But here, you discover the young Maleficent as a pure fairy, living in harmony with the other creatures inhabiting the Moors. She meets Stefan as a child, and as they grow up, they seem to fall in love. A human king tries to invade the moors, in a gripping battle. Maleficent proves to be a strong female character, leading the fight with the creatures of the moors. She is left victorious in this battle. But the greed consuming Stefan's heart makes him commit a terrible crime.
This scene is absolutely heart wrenching and violent, it was utterly surprising for a Disney movie. It clearly is a clever metaphore of rape in all its subtle violence. By ripping off Maleficent's magestic wings, Stefan leaves her crippled. But it just starts her wrath.

This follows up with the usual story, but with a very nice twist on the original story.

The role was clearly made for Angelina Jolie . I could not imagine anyone else impersonate Maleficent. I really loved Diaval, the shapeshifting crow, interpreted by Sam Riley, his character being a kind of eerie Jiminy cricket to Maleficient. Aurora was less my cup of tea, but Dakota Fanning did great, with a character who is always having a big smile on her face. For the three fairies, this is the bit of the special effects which did not work for me, they were looking half cheesy, half creepy, and I reckon I prefeered the three actresses in human size. The fact that these dangerously neglectful fairies are here, allows Maleficent to create a bond with Aurora, and she becomes a godmother to her. The king Stefan is terrifying, all consumed by his greed, living a loveless life and marriage. His obscession for Maleficent is devouring him.

The costumer, Anna B.Sheppard, and all her little hands, made an incredible job. Each piece of costume were giving life to the characters and their emotions. As Maleficent revenge's need grows, her costumes build up like a carapace, little by little concealing her pure and soft appearance.

The make up team also created blade like cheek bones on Maleficent, giving her a subtle but still out of this world appearance.

The sceneries are incredible, there is that mix of splendor in the Moors, which reflect Maleficent's state of mind. I reckon I prefeer the much darker sceneries, with the Brambles growing like a barrier around the moors. The scene where she sits on her throne, and the background turns into a skeletical structure is very clever, and chilling.

There is definitely pagan imagery, with the boar tree creature and its ent like rider.

There is a magestuous, whimsical and eerie beauty in Maleficent. It is much closer to original fairy tales by Charles Perrault and the Grimm Brother's versions in the spirit.
I just can recommend you to go see Maleficent, It might be slightly violent for the younger kids, but it will be definitely enjoyable for adults too!