I went to watch Maleficent with my sister the other day, and left completely stunned at the turn of events. Maleficent (as we grew up knowing it) is evil incarnate, responsible for all misfortune in King Stefan's kingdom. Disney effectively thwarted the 'Evil Witch' concept by subverting the stereotypes associated with that title. Maleficent was neither good nor bad, neither was she exceedingly smart or talented. It showcased a gifted woman who's been scorned by lost love and mangled by the disappointment of life and trust. Maleficent prompted me to team it with the likes of Frozen and Brave, into a group I like to call 'New Age Disney'
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I grew up reading fairytales such as Snow White, Cinderella and the Frog Prince. It wasn't until my Drama GCSE that I was enlightened to the origins of such romantic classics; The Brothers Grimm. By then, I was disenfranchised to the concept of romance or 'love at first sight', as most 'Ugly Duckling' tween/teens may be. But watching New Age Disney has revived this as I am assured that my feelings are well-founded. New Age Disney disproves some of it's prior notions of fickle lust masked as love, and introduces the confident, independent girl as the protagonist. Gone are the helpless, lost damsels, trapped in towers or lost in enchanted forests. These new age flicks welcome camaraderie amongst woman and dispel the thesis of the one-dimensional woman (good when dependent but evil if independent).
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Maleficent's wings. Elsa's magical freezing powers (Frozen). Merida's archery skills (Brave). There is a recurring theme here, of a threat to the protagonist's USP, and the need to embrace that quirk in order to truly soar as a unique, powerful and independent woman. In all 3 flicks, it is a man who poses a threat to this USP, and it is a fellow woman who engineers the protagonist to a journey of self-discovery where she learns that her USP is no curse, neither is it a tool to be used to intimidate others. Rather, a lesson of modesty, feminism and moderation is reminiscent through all these new age flicks, and it's evident that's a message that's here to stay.
This last bit, I abstained from including in my vlog, but a powerful thought that struck me especially in the climax (wing-snatcher scene...endeavouring to avoid a spoiler). A woman's virginity is sometimes described as a precious flower, a beautiful fragile piece of nature that can either flourish or wilt dependent on the level of care. I saw this beautiful flower as Maleficent's wings; her true beauty was symbolised by her ability to soar through the skies, effortlessly gliding above her peers. Its what she was most proud of and what defined her. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" immediately popped to mind when she howled and the image reconciled with that of rape. Deep for a kiddie flick, but I felt my heart break for her at the loss of her innocence & couldn't blame her for the madness that ensued as a result.
Onyxsta says...BLEURGH!! Revel in the beauty of womanhood, accept your weaknesses, embrace what makes you unique & put aside your past differences in order to truly embody the WOMAN you were created to be; Maleficent. X