Since its first appearance ne The Sleeping Beauty, the character of Maleficent entered the collective pop imagination by right for its great iconicity, arriving in a certain sense to cannibalize the same figure of Aurora, the protagonist of the cartoon, still considered not so deeply characterized compared to many other Disney princesses.
The animated film, however capable of referring to a very marked type of chivalric imagery, as analyzed in our special dedicated to three timeless Disney classics, he found in Maleficent one of his most successful points, giving birth to a well-characterized villain also in terms of his particular aptitude for cruelty in any way mitigated by any form of do-gooders. In this special we will focus on the main distinctive features of the villain, while trying to understand the changes the character has undergone following the 2014 live action reboot starring Angelina Jolie.
Maleficent and the setting sun
The great iconicity of the character passes first of all from his numerous appearances in the most varied media, proving once again how much the villain of Sleeping Beauty has managed to break through in the hearts of the spectators much more than the protagonist, also appearing in various subsequent projects including, for example, the cult video game series Kingdom Hearts.
Perhaps, Aurora's candor did not allow her to stand out among the Disney Princesses, because she was exaggeratedly close to the characterization of her most famous colleagues Snow White and Cinderella.
This particular goodness of mind has however made us soar Undisputed maleficent on the protagonist of the 16th Disney Classic, showing himself from the very first minutes as a character completely devoted to evil, capable of casting a terrible curse on the king's daughter, Aurora in fact, who will be forced to die on her sixteenth birthday.
However, the anathema is mitigated by one of Aurora's protective fairies, a detail that allows us to understand without problems the sometimes perverse soul of Maleficent herself, capable of killing an innocent in cold blood for a simple personal whim.
The treacherous witch, in hindsight hated by everyone, is a character who harbored deep resentment for the whole community, apparently proving benevolent only because of his treacherous and devious personality, coming to disguise the soul as black as pitch through ways of doing close to a sort of royal label that, however, certainly is not enough to totally hide its true intentions.
The character, at least in its classical dimension, is profoundly negative, almost as if Maleficent's penchant for making people suffer with which he interacts was the only way he knows to relate to others.
Despite her evil disposition, which at first could make her appear as a character capable of not caring about the thoughts of others, Maleficent is a villain deeply rooted in the judgment of his fellows, thus coming to feel a huge resentment for that society so hated but of which, in one way or another, it fails to be a part.
Despite his immense magical powers, the villain is also anchored to a certain dose of infantilism, but not in its positive meaning, but rather in a propensity in being caught suddenly by absurd outbursts of anger, going so far as to inveigh against his own henchmen for their ineptitude.
From this point of view, Maleficent's servants are able to make us understand another fundamental aspect of her character, which in some ways also unites her to Scar, namely the desire to dominate everything and everyone by surrounding themselves with individuals who in reality cannot. contradict it in any way, resulting a real queen of evil blinded by an unrivaled thirst for power.
The same curse that is cast on Aurora originates from the king's failure to invite, right in Maleficent, for the baby girl's christening party, perfectly capable of making us understand the character, at times also very unstable, of the villain, capable of deciding who should live or die for a simple whim of selfish matrix.
Appearances are deceiving
Referring to a fantastic / fabulous imaginary of a classic mold, thus enacting through Maleficent the archetype of the evil witch which cannot be redeemed in any way, The Sleeping Beauty he also plays with a whole series of references to the epic, making the character of the witch central for the same resolution of the story.
Maleficent, in fact, in addition to hatching elaborate plans and to use his tremendous magic to embarrass not only his opponents but the whole community, he is also capable of change your appearance by turning into a black dragon, literal personification of his dark, diabolical and tormented soul.
The villain is so insidious both from a dialectical point of view and from a purely physical point of view, given that only thanks to the intervention of Prince Philip (supported by the protective fairies) will it finally be possible to get the better of the perverse and resentful hag.
The only living being who seems to have found some sort of harmony with the witch is his faithful servant Diablo, familiar with the appearance of a raven able to point out how much the villain has decided to isolate himself from the civilized world, basically not having any kind of interpersonal relationship with his own kind.
His own look is truly iconic, in which the black color certainly stands out, capable of referring without problems to a dark and disturbing reality, as well as the characteristic headdress with horns, in which the same otherworldly, diabolical and unnatural dimension is still suggested. once with great force.
With Maleficent instead, a 2014 film directed by Robert Stromberg, somehow tried to carry out a sort of reboot of the character, stripping the villain of his purely negative charge as a function of a much more accommodating version than seen in the classic animated film.
Often, revisiting the backgrounds of such iconic characters risks somehow distorting them, as in the case of Maleficent (played in the film by an excellent Angelina Jolie).
The film, unfortunately, was not able to fully exploit the historic villain who, paradoxically, precisely in the film that had to somehow present him to the new generations, has in fact weakened him.
Despite the move by soften the figure of Maleficent in the round maybe it was useful to intercept the audience of the very young, the first live action film on the character is today more than ever a great opportunity not fully exploited, also by virtue of the sequel Mistress of Evil, which has ferried the witch towards an even more far from its origins compared to what we saw with the first film.
Nobody (or almost) would have expected to see films starring Maleficent in which he does not play the role of the villain but, in reality, of the heroine, since most likely films focusing on the classic version of the character would still have made the happiness of many historical fans.