(All this really means for you readers, is that you'll get another post of all the other Maleficent stuff that's been released this week very soon too.)
At the head of the post if one of the new character posters, featuring most of his favorite things about the movie (although I do believe he secretly finds Maleficent pretty awesome, what with her powerful wings and then showing serious magical clout).
The rest of the images are a whole lot of newly released concept art, all of which he's asked if they can come and live with us. I kind of wish they could too. About the only things missing merchandise-wise to date are creature sculpts/dolls/toys of these little critters, but more on that in part two...
The other thing my son is fascinated by? The best-buddy raven Diaval, and that he gets transformed into many different creatures (see the wolf above, although I don't know if there's a Diaval-wolf in the final movie), all keeping some of his bird aspects. I think he particularly likes that Diaval is annoyed at getting turned into a human, because he completely relates to that.
Why am I sharing this personal stuff? Because my son, despite having as balanced an upbringing regarding girls and boys things and fairy tales as I can manage (and it's been a priority of mine), he still has a very strong sense of "that's for girls" vs "that's for boys". What this movie is showing him, unlike much fairy tale marketing these days, is that there are aspects of fantasy and fairy tale stories (that aren't mainly focused on wars and knights) that are very appealing to boys. The creatures, the transformations, talking/communicating animals, the danger and the strength - he loves it all. He loves beautiful things too (most little boys I've met love beauty, especially natural/nature beauty), so has no problem with the pretty stuff, as long as there's balance. For example, in Adventure Time, he doesn't mind spending time with Princess Bubblegum story lines because, in his eyes, the candy kingdom is more a boys' idea of candy than the typical girl's representation of all-sugar-and-sweetness and Beemo, who is a very cute girl character, is awesome to him because she's tech savvy, creative, and rocks at video games.
@MildlyAmused on Twitter & currently blogging at HitFix HERE) I'm going to quote a ton of because the sentiments are so very similar in our house here (emphasis in bold, and underlined and yelled, politely, in Disney's direction, is mine):
Ignore the right side of the banner. Pretend it isn't there. Yes yes, dark and gloomy. Spiky thorns. Spooky rocks. We've seen it all before. Instead, look at these super cute sentient woodland species! with their little spines and big noses and rock chins and floppy ears. Who are these tiny, cuddly people? A type of fairy perhaps? Or just more mythological creatures? Doesn't matter, I'm sure they play a part in the big battle sequence implied in the trailers.
Don't they look as if they'd be right at home in a remake of 'Labyrinth' or 'The Dark Crystal?' that those need to be remade, Hollywood. Back off. Seriously. Even the little malformed ones are so cute and fluffy, which is no easy trick when you don't even have fur!. Look at those sweet doe eyes and weird but precious boomerang noses! And are those noble treants wearing loincloths? How thoughtful to remember the PG-13 rating.
And then there's these little fellas. The one in the middle is probably grumpy because he got stuck with the two nudists. But maybe the lack of clothes means they're pets and not people? I want an elephant nosed, web-handed amorphous blob pet!. If Disney doesn't turn these two into stuffed animals, their marketing department is missing a huge squishable opportunity.
Ah marketing. Disney would totally be taking ALL-MA-MONEH if these creatures were considered toyable. The begging and the big, giant anime eyes a kid of seven can aim in your direction, along with the double whammy of "..it's about fairy tales Mama!" is a recipe for "buy all the toys even though it means we're eating noodles for the next 3 months...". It's bad enough he's already begging me for this pricey little sweatshirt:
The media and advertising are so very powerful and loom large in influencing our kid's ideas of how they see the world. While my son's experience may be more unique because he's already had fairy tales in his life (thanks to me), it still takes the "outside world" to show him a glimpse of the same before he'll truly take it on board. It's taken something like the Maleficent trailers for him to realize that "Adventure Time is kind of like a bunch of fairy tale stuff mixed up with weird and crazy fun stuff.." and that "Star Wars would be kind of like a fairy tale if it had trolls and castles instead of aliens and space ships and light sabers and stuff..."Now he'll even catch sight of some of the images I scroll through on Pinterest, eg a guy with antlers, and spontaneously say, "Maybe that's one of those don't-mess-with-me fairies, like Maleficent is friends with".
I am so happy he is at a "wonder-ous" age for tales and can experience all this social buzz on a fairy tale in his formative years, especially in a way that opens the road to looking back on what he's already been exposed to with delight and the way forward to even more.
*Gosh I hope he's right and she really IS a dragon and it's not just Diaval.
** These reasons, more than any others, have me crossing my fingers and toes that Maleficent will be good.