Maleficent: New Take on an Old Villain

Disney has a new movie coming out on May 30th: Maleficent. Yesterday, io9 had an article about the newest trailer. You can read it here.

I agree with the article on the Fairy Godmothers. They are obvious CGI and cartoon-ish. In fact, they’re kinda creepy. It’s Disney though. They deal in the fantastical. The fairy tail of Sleeping Beauty is supposed to be just that, so why not make the Fairy Godmothers to fit?

I do not, however, agree with him about Maleficent. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. The guy who wrote the article is disappointed with the direction Maleficent’s character arc seems to take according to the trailers and the movie description. That’s fine. He doesn’t have to. But, I’m going to tell you why I’m even more excited about the movie now that I’ve seen the trailer and read the description.

The Bad Guy

First off, as a writers, we are urged to create villains that aren’t cookie-cutter. Evil for the sake of being evil does not a good villain make. For the most part, fairy tale villains are just that. There’s no rhyme or reason to their evil. The stories are meant to teach kids about consequences and morality and sometimes, the best way to do this is with a bad guy that is just the bad guy.

But this movie is taking things further. The writers explored the depths of possibility and came back with a real and relevant story for today’s audience: One person’s villain is another person’s hero.

What is wrong with the idea that a villain might want peace?

The best (and worst) villains in story-telling are the ones who think they are doing the right thing. They are the ones that believe whatever they are doing is not evil but necessary to make things better. It may be twisted and skewed beyond any recognizable good to others, but to them it is the only way.

In the trailers and the description, I see this in Maleficent. She’s going about doing things the wrong way because her forest is in trouble from the humans. Does this make the humans the bad guy of the story? No. In truth, I don’t know that there is a bad guy to the story in any definite sense. There is a moral ambiguity involved that lends itself to both sides. The humans are destroying the forest (bad) and Maleficent curses Aurora (bad) because of it.

It’s still just a trailer

This is all just speculation of course. There’s no way of knowing exactly what the movie entails until it comes out. Maybe the Maleficent movie and direction the writers take the character falls flat. Maybe it’s the best movie of the year.

Either way, I’m excited about the movie and look forward to seeing it. I think I’m gonna like it.

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