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Opinion

Maleficent: Disney's Most Memorable Villains

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Megan
October 18, 2019

Sleeping Beauty was never my favorite Disney movie growing up. It was slower than Mulan and the songs weren’t as catchy as those in The Little Mermaid. Plus, I was always confused why Maleficent was so cruel.


I understood that the Huns and Ursula wanted power, but Maleficent? Her main purpose seemed to be making life horrible for anyone who came near her. Her motive was cruelty in itself. Was Maleficent really so cruel just because she wasn’t invited to give baby Aurora a blessing at birth?


Even when I was a kid, I could tell that Sleeping Beauty’s characters were not dynamic. It was a simple good versus evil story.


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When Disney released Maleficent in 2014, I was ecstatic. Disney would finally breathe life into their semi-stale characters and give each one a unique backstory. Similar to the novel and hit Broadway musical Wicked, talented writers were able to turn a classic villain into a tragic hero. Maleficent was transformed into a complex character with both love and hate in her heart. She became more than simply the pure evil character we grew up with. She became more human.


I originally thought Maleficent was a stand alone film, but I am glad that Disney decided to produce Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. The second film allows each character to continue to grow and (hopefully) not forget everything they learned in the first film.


The trailers look incredible from stunning imagery of the otherworldly land to the fantastical costumes and creatures. Plus, Angelina Jolie’s acting, as always, will be exciting to watch. From the trailers, we can expect to learn more about Maleficent’s past and can count on Jolie’s subtle expressions to give even more depth to the heroic villain.


My one concern that I have about the film is if it will have a substantial plot. From the trailers, it looks visually appealing. I know that I will like the film for its artistry, acting, remarkable CGI, and ethereal music, but will I enjoy the plot?


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The trailers hint that the film will begin by focusing on Maleficent’s jealousy when faced with Aurora becoming a part of another family. However, the main event seems to be Maleficent fighting to protect her people from those who would do them harm.


Overall, the plot has promise. Yet, I am worried that they have simply replaced Maleficent’s original evil character with yet another pure evil villain. 


The new queen seems truly evil from the trailers. She taunts Maleficent, mimics snapping a mannequin’s neck, and possibly sets a trap for Maleficent. The new queen’s pure evil characteristics seem to negate the very reason why Maleficent was made in the first place. If one character is redeemed and is made more complex, does that also mean another character must become pure evil and caricatured?


I hope that the new evil queen is dynamic enough to not be another tired version of evil, but it is possible that Disney will show no good in her heart. 


I am excited to see Jolie’s reprisal of the newly dynamic role and am optimistic that it will not only be entertaining for the artistry, but it will also be entertaining for the plot and the message it sends.


Are you excited to see Maleficent: Mistress of Evil? Which Disney villain would you like the next backstory movie to be about?


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