Destroying the pixie-boy dream, shifting cultural conventions and…assault?
Synopsis: The beloved fairy tale is being narrated from the point of view of the evil fairy who starts it all…
At first glance, this movie seems to be a very original way of story-telling the fairy tales but Disney has managed to go way deeper than that-whether intended or not.
The most obvious is the straying from the pixie-boy dream and that all girls have to be rescued by the “one”. I always celebrate these kind of messages to the world, especially in this day and age. My heart swelled with pride for Disney (as I have stuck with their movies despite a few minor hiccups) when Maleficent was the one to break the sleeping curse and not the Prince. This is proof, that our culture is changing and for the good; that true love within families can be even more powerful that true love with someone else. Finally, the kids of this generation do not have go through being brainwashed like we were.
Now, I’m not saying don’t fall in love with someone because your family love you more. No, I’m not saying that all. But what I am saying, you don’t have to be with someone to feel loved, because you have others that love you just as much and more. This thought process is empowering; it helps us girls- and even guys probably- be independent and do what we want, without having to sit around and wait for the “one” to show up at our door.
The scene that some people call “assault” or even “rape”. To be honest, I agree with these statements whole-heartedly. When Stefan drugged Maleficent to cut off her wings- sure it was the basis to her revenge- but Disney on purpose or accidentally started a buzz with it. In modern days, women have to walk in fear and be extremely conscious when approached by men. The scene I’m referring to in Maleficent instantly triggered vivid imagery of her being given Rohyphenol or Roofies or Date-Rape drug– whatever you want to call it, but you know the one I’m talking about; the one that comes with the saying “Don’t keep your eye off the drink”. True, he stole her “wings”. But what do wings represent? Freedom, angelic innocence and power. A women that was stolen of these attributes by a man? Now where have we heard that before? And it is only women facing these problems, men do, too. Some can say that the scene is reinforcing the assault culture- but I think it’s just pointing out that it exists; to help us become more aware of it, which is just what women might need. And before people get crazy on me for stereotyping men, I’m not. Thank you, to the guys that do something about it.
The story has an incredible theme of redemption and forgiveness- that evil is never born but rather made in a person and they can change. The turning point for Maleficent to realize her mistake was when Aurora called her “fairy godmother”. The child’s innocence and unassuming nature showed Maleficent that all humans are not the same and all should not suffer because of it. This was her trigger and ultimately came to love Aurora enough to break the curse which she had bestowed in the beginning. Origin stories like this are crucial because it teaches us to never take things, especially people, at face value. Everyone has a past, everyone has something that made them into the person they are today. When some evil “villain” like Maleficent appears or the Evil Queen in Snow White or even the Green Goblin in Spider-Man, everybody asks “How could you?” not “Why would you?”, which is the question we should be asking.
This does not only come with a theme of absolution but also a very basic form of stopping stereotypes. In a world where people of different races, religions, classes and even gender face stereotyping all the time, it is evident that this issue must come to an end for true harmony and balance to be restored.
The Moor’s represent the forests in our world with all the beautiful thousands of species present and the kingdom represents, well, us. This war between us humans conquering and taking the forests with nature trying to protect itself from us (although in real life, nature does not have a Maleficent to protect it, but they do have organisations devoted to protecting such places). Iron burning fairies in the movie is symbolic of what the industrial revolution and the development of technology is doing to the earth. It weakens it.
There is also much to learn about the world and ourselves as fairy tales are ways of expressing psychological processes. If you would like to learn more, click here.
Maleficent is a much-needed film in our society, to restore the mindset of the children and reflects deeper issues present in our world. I am very pleased with this movie, as with Frozen, and I hope Disney continues to break the chain of some more fairy tale beliefs that have been circulating in society for far too long.
Verdict: 9 of 10 kicks
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