10th February 2014

Preview: Maleficent

Parizad Mangi looks ahead to the release of Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ spin-off

This summer’s cinema season will kick off with what may be one of Disney’s most ambitious and challenging projects yet. Hollywood’s leading production house, who has since long occupied everyone’s childhood with their tales of love and benevolence, seems to have taken a rather sinister shift with their latest, Maleficent.

You may recognise the name from Disney’s iconic Sleeping Beauty, where Maleficent is the nefarious nemesis of the royal family that casts a curse on the princess Aurora as revenge for being shunned out of the kingdom’s celebrations. So naturally, a part prequel and part live-action retelling of the beloved animation is very intriguing. A-lister Angelina Jolie portrays the eponymous villainess in the venture, donning horns and fake cheekbones to boot. We can also expect to see Jolie and Pitt’s daughter, Vivienne in a small role as toddler Aurora, who we hear had to be kept away from her mother while she was in her Maleficent getup so the little one wouldn’t get scared, aww!

Another big name we can expect to see in the movie is that of rising talent Elle Fanning, who has previously proved her acting mettle in flicks like Ginger and Rosa and J.J Abram’s Super 8 and will be second lead, portraying the character of the young and spellbound princess Aurora. Imelda Staunton, Miranda Richardson, Juno Temple and even the latest Doctor, Peter Capaldi, feature in supporting roles.

Maleficent shows promise thanks to the big names that appear behind the camera, too. Two-time Oscar winning production designer Robert Stromberg makes his directorial debut with this venture, who has been responsible for blockbusters such as Avatar, Alice In Wonderland and Oz: The Great & Powerful, ensuring breathtaking ominous visuals for the audience. The script, meanwhile, is helmed by Paul Dini and Linda Woolverton, the latter having previously written for Disney for The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. James Newton Howard (The Hunger Games, Blood Diamond) will be contributing the background score. Disney released a haunting rendition of the classic Once Upon A Dream sung by Lana Del Rey alongside a new sneak peak of the film that was shown during the 56th Annual Grammys this year.

The film will explore the untold side of the fairytale, uncovering the truth of the events that led to Maleficent’s descent into evil. Unfamiliar aspects such as a war between the human kingdom and forest kingdom will be seen, while re-imaginings of old favourite scenes will also be included.

Whether or not the movie will take a sympathetic stance for this eminent vixen remains to be seen, but we can’t wait to experience Disney’s sinfully sombre outing.

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