Maleficent Movie Review

My favorite classic Disney animated movie is Sleeping Beauty. Mock me if you wish, but I think the best scene ever is when Philip slays the dragon (the evil Maleficent), and goes into the castle, kisses Aurora, thus waking her, and the rest of the kingdom as well from its slumber.

I have since, through study and growth in the Christian faith, realized this to be the perfect description for Christ: He slays the dragon in Satan, then raises His bride the Church from a death-like sleep.

So going against my general movie going policy, I was quite eager to see the new Maleficent movie, claiming to be a live action retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty. The fact that the movie was ranked #1 last weekend only heightened my anticipation; as well as the commercials and previews which all featured the song Once Upon a Dream.

Two hours later, I was most disappointed.

Although based on the amount of story that is told, I suppose I should be thankful the movie was not 4 hours long.

Maleficent opens and closes with a narrator saying that you, the viewer, think you know the story of Sleeping Beauty, but the narrator is here to tell you another version.

That different version is nothing like the version I and many others are familiar with. In fact, it would probably not be too much of a stretch to say that the only thing Maleficent and Sleeping Beauty have in common would be the names of the characters.

A brief review of issues with Maleficent would be the absence of any worthwhile positive male characters, as well as the general poor depiction of humans in general; in fact the only character that is given any positive characteristics would be Maleficent herself.

And that brings us back to the opening and closing line: you think you know the story. Well, I know the story, it is the one depicted in a classic Disney movie that I have seen about a dozen times. But the narrator would have me believe that I do not know the story, and therefore I should believe a movie that has a date of 2014 as opposed to one with a date of 1959.

But this is the larger problem in society. Society says you think you know about creation, or marriage, or life, or God, or a host of other things, but instead you should now believe what the polls say, or what the news says, or what the college professor says. Do you believe what 2000 years of Western Civilization has done, what 6000 years of Biblical tradition says, or should you believe what the latest news story says?

In my ignorance, I have not read the book Sleeping Beauty; so I cannot tell you how much of the 1959 version was faithful, and how much was distorted to make an animated movie.

What I can tell you, is that Once Upon a Dream there was a version where Philip slayed the evil dragon, woke Aurora and the kingdom and lived happily ever after; now there is a version where Maleficent is both the villain and the hero, and there is not much redeeming in it at all.

I like the old one a lot better, and that is the one that I will continue to watch; if somebody thinks I am outdated, watching a movie that tells a different ‘wrong’ story as opposed to the ‘corrected’ new one, well it would not be the first time someone said that about me.

About revschmidt

An LCMS Pastor in North-Central Kansas
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