|The new banner poster for Maleficent - click to see much larger image|
You must admit, Disney are really good at these 'world of' teaser banners. They definitely call to mind the epic fantasy paintings from series book covers like The Belgariad (remember those?) and similar. Both the US Alice in Wonderland and the Oz the Great and Powerful banners are gorgeous looking, no matter what you eventually thought of the movies. (You can click on the posters below to view them a bit larger but you get the idea: world = magical). I just hope Maleficent proves to be much better than either, and is better at capturing the imagination - like Labyrinth, Legend and ET were, way back when.
I also really, REALLY hope it's good, because there has been a decided lack of family fantasy movies in general* for the last 30-ish years (other than animation or talking animal movies) and although my son has just reached that wonderful age where I can show him some of the classics (there has been some serious pleading to get a "My other ride is Falkor" license plate for our car), I'd love to have him experience the currently-in-theaters, en-masse-social-excitement for a new fantasy or fairy tale film that I had when I was his age. Not to mention, if Maleficent does well and hits the magical, substantial yet not TOO dark, target for families, we'll get more fairy tale family movies in the near future - that's just about guaranteed.
Seeing fairy tales in the theater when you are still at that age where Santa, The Easter Bunny (and in our house, Baba Yaga's Monster Chicken) comes to visit you every year makes a huge impact on a person and not just as an escape or piece of entertainment. I dearly hope Maleficent is something I can take him to see. And it means we'll get help raising a generation of people who love and are aware of fairy tales again.
For something to compare the foreign fairy tale marketing, here's the Italian poster, which has the added subtitle "The Secret of Sleeping Beauty". What are your thoughts on the different approaches? And does the "world reveal" of the top poster make you look forward to the movie or worry that we're about to be treated to another disOZster?
*Yes, we've had the Harry Potter film franchise but honestly, I can't really show more than the first two to my kid yet. They get darker and darker with every sequel too, so, true family films, notsomuch. We had Narnia (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and the sequels but only the first one really made any sort of social impact. The Golden Compass was epic but rather high concept and difficult for the under-tens to understand and enjoy and Stardust just wasn't little-kid-friendly conceptually (and check the dates on all these movies too - they were quite far apart). There have been smaller films (and a number of more recent foreign films) that have been excellent but not many people seem to know them. Sadly, most of the really big fantasy films have been for teen and older audiences: Pan's Labyrinth, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Huntsman, Jack the Giant Slayer etc or they've been so effects-dependent with subpar writing, eg Oz the Great and Powerful, that the magic and possibility of jump-starting kids' imaginations has been sucked right out. While I adore grown-up fantasy movies, I'd really love my kid to grow up loving fantasy and fairy tales being buzzed about in popular culture as well. It feels a bit like everyone who grew up watching The Neverending Story, ET, The Princess Bride, Jumanji, Legend etc went on to make Lord of the Rings or Doctor Who and forgot to make good quality fantasy their kids could participate in viewing and loving as well. It's about time it came back around to an epic but family friendly fantasy. Hopefully this will fan the flame of good family fantasy and fairy tale movies and perhaps spawn some TV series in the same vein as well. (More Storyteller please!)