There was a time when Disney owned a portion of cinema: animation. Nobody could match Walt Disney and that loveable Mouse. Disney Company had a knack for bringing such timeless classic to the screen such as Bambi, Pinocchio, Snow White, Peter Pan, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Disney went away for a while but made a great comeback with what is known as the Disney Renaissance: Mulan, Lion King, Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, Aladdin, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It seems Disney is desperately trying to recapture that magic that made them so unique, and what better way to do that than to capitalise on old product with the Maleficent trailer, other than inventing something new of course.
The trailer stars Angelina Jolie in the title role of Maleficent. This version instead of focusing on Princess Aurora, centers on the iconic villain as the protagonist. The trailer offers nothing different in terms of storyline from the original Disney classic. Maleficent interrupts Aurora’s birthday claiming that when she becomes of age she will be cursed. There are quick-cut shots of knights fighting trolls, enchanted forests, fairies, and magic dust.
The good thing about the trailers is Angelina Jolie. She absolutely looks and acts the part. Her costumes, her mannerisms, her sceptre, her large cheekbones, all are very reminiscent of the animated villain. The trailer shows Jolie being able to recapture the essence that made the old magic villainess a Disney icon, but also bring in a seductress personality. The one noteworthy scene is Aurora and Maleficent’s first encounter. This scene must have been well received by Youtube audiences because it is in all four trailers.
Hollywood is notorious for getting rid of actresses at the “old” age of 30. By the time an actress is able to hone their acting skill they are forced into retirement or play mums or supporting roles. Angelina Jolie, 38, is by no means old in real-life terms, but for Hollywood she is ancient history. It is commendable to see Disney giving Jolie the title character to a big blockbuster movie.
The bad thing about this trailer is the horrible CGI. It has been 13 years since the first Lord of the Rings movie was released, yet somehow this movie cannot computer animate fairies, armies or trolls without looking like an Xbox video game. Nothing about the special effects can be considered staggering or even acceptable by modern day’s standards. Some trailers lie, sometimes the special effects put on trailers are the prototypes that have not been finished yet. But with the movie’s May 30th screening, they better brush up and quick.
There has been a trend of late to take classic fairy tales and giving them a more dark and sinister atmosphere. Movies such as Alice in Wonderland, Oz: The Great and Powerful, Jack the Giant Killer, Snow White and the Huntsman, have all been reinvented for today’s audiences. Every generation deals with cinema depending on how society saw the world at the time. Snow White (1937) was released soon after the Great Depression left its mark on the world, so audiences wanted a light-hearted adventure to distract them from their worries.
Today, people are more cynical. We understand that the world is not good or evil, right or wrong, black or white, but that society is full of grey areas. This is why nowadays fairytales are re-imagined with a Game of Thrones spin. Sleeping Beauty, which is a simple story, is now implanted with politics, epic wars, realms and kingdoms. That is one of the main problems, ever since The Dark Knight conquered the box-office and became a pop culture phenomenon, nothing can be campy or fun, everything has to be serious.
Does the movie have potential? Does Sleeping Beauty need a remake? What else can be done with Sleeping Beauty other than adding needless adult themes for filler? This will be Robert Stromberg directorial debut. The only noticeable actor is the cast is Angelina Jolie. None of the Maleficent trailers recapture any magic Disney is known for, and perhaps their tricks are starting to get old. This trailer seems to send a “been there, done that” vibe that could put people off. In any case, it will be a hit because it is Disney and dark fantasy is in right now, plus Jolie’s star power will boost sales. Only time can tell if this movie deserves praise or should be put to sleep.
Opinion By Ignacio Gatti