Saturday, May 31, 2014

We're Off To See the Wicked (Fairy, That Is...)

I'm taking my family to see Maleficent today and trying to not read too much about it via news outlets and every social media site (all of them!) before we do.

However, so far ratings are showing just under 50% of critics give it thumbs up while, on the other hands, over 75% of audiences are reporting they love it (and a large percentage of those intend to see it again). So all is looking good in the land of the fairy tale film future for Disney at the moment. (The question will be, what kind? We've already got another remake coming in Cinderella. Is there any chance of them looking at other tales? I'm going to guess... no. While there are changes in the air at Disney they're still largely on the safe side.)

Looking forward to:
1) the visuals - it should look amazing
2) seeing my kid love a fairy tale film (and the creatures) in the theater, like I remember doing as a kid (there haven't been many since that era!)
3) the push at the Disney boundaries that we know Ms. Jolie has insisted on to remain part of the movie
4) making this movie-going a whole experience (which is why we've decided to take the trip to downtown Hollywood and the El Capitan Theater)
5) seeing the connection of fairy to protector of the land, rather than just full of... pixie dust. The witch-like qualities of Maleficent hark back to the roots of fairy tale oral tellings and it's been too long since kids have had that exposure of fairy tale
6) use of Spenser's Faery Queene and the forest
7) seeing Angelina Jolie play Maleficent - I haven't heard or read a single criticism of her in the role

1) it's a family movie but I'm not sure that message has been really clear in the attempt to draw in a wider audience for the film
2) it's a DISNEY family movie so I'm concerned that despite darker elements it won't dive into the potential as much as it should to make it a film of real substance (something that might have happened had it been made by a different company)
3) that, despite Ms. Jolie's involvement in almost every detail and an obvious elevation in quality as a result, a risky (and potentially awesome) end choice that might have been resonant will likely be softened in deference to the Disney brand, the requirement of a 'happy ending' and an attempt not to polarize viewers

And I really hope Maleficent changes into a dragon. So does my son. He really likes the concept of a earth-savvy, powerful fairies and creatures that are both fantastic and a little (or a lot) dangerous. Since having him watch the Disney animated classic Sleeping Beauty, he loves that dragon, loves the idea of transformation (which, we've read stories about, of course, but he actually saw it happen in that movie) and keeps peering closely at all the Maleficent movie posters and pics he sees around town to check for dragon parts. I have my fingers crossed for his sake.

Hopefully I will have a report of some type to share with you sometime tomorrow.

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