Trailer Tuesday: Maleficent

After the mammoth success of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, it was kind of inevitable that Disney would warm to the idea of live-action fantasy prequels and sequels - telling the "untold story" of that particular fairy tale universe. So, following 2010's Alice was last year's Oz the Great and Powerful and, this year, Maleficent.

I've blogged before about Maleficent, but in essence the film is supposed to explain the origins of one of Disney's most iconic animated villains - and why she curses Princess Aurora, as opposed to gifts her like the other fairies. Actually, it turns out it's a bit more complicated than that. In the 2014 film, Maleficent's origin tale is bound up in a retelling of the actual Sleeping Beauty story (well, the Disney version anyway - no coma rape here), though from the antagonist's perspective. Something about revenge and the conflict between the Natural and Human World, blah blah blah...

Although directors chopped and changed for the film - there's now an Oscar winning-special effects artist and art director at the helm - Maleficent has managed to rack up a pretty solid cast. Angelina Jolie is the title character, Elle Fanning Princess Aurora, Sharlto Copley the king, Juno Temple and Imelda Staunton two of the good fairies, and Miranda Richardson Maleficent's cruel aunt.

The film has been a long time in development although Jolie was pretty much always attached (she's a producer as well).

Although Maleficent looks great (and I love the trailer's overlay with the animated film), I personally have very moderated expectations. Of the recent glut of fairy tale releases, not a single one has nailed it. Filmmakers have yet to realise that dazzling visuals do not a good, engaging movie make. To date, I've found this particular sub-genre very meh - oh so pretty to look at, but sadly unimaginative and lazy in terms of story; trotting out the same old tropes without actually doing anything with them. And I can't say that Maleficent looks any different at this stage.

Maleficent releases in 2D and 3D on 30 May in North America. The South African release date has yet to be announced but I would expect it to be around the same time, if not the same day.


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