Maleficent is the latest re-imagining of a classic fairytale for the modern era, following on the heels of films like Alice In Wonderland (2010), Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) and to lesser extent, Jack the Giant Slayer (2013). In this case, it is the tale of Sleeping Beauty that is being re-examined, as Disney will do for that story’s antagonist what Wicked (and to lesser extent, OtGaP) did for the bad girl of Wizard of Oz: namely, try to paint her in a fairer light of complexity and perhaps even sympathy.
Previous Maleficent trailers offer more story than what this “Final Trailer” provides; here, the goal is obviously to connect the classic Sleeping Beauty tale with what this new version is selling, That’s not entirely unwise; Maleficent is not the most well-known or readily-recognized evildoer in Disney canon, and to the casual onlooker, this could all look like an Angelina Jolie fantasy flick. Of course, with its clever pop-up book animations, we’re pretty sure this latest trailer effectively spells out the necessary connections for those who are still unaware.
As we’ve managed to surmise from the many domestic and international trailers for the film, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) curses King Stefan’s (Sharlto Copley) newborn daughter Aurora – just like the classic tale – only this time we get to see more of Aurora’s early years leading to her doomed sixteenth birthday. In that time period (presumably seen from Maleficent’s perspective), we’ll come to know more about the dark fairy and how she lost her wings – a story that potentially comes around to explain her vengeance against King Stefan and the curse on Aurora that is ultimately Maleficent’s undoing (as seen in Sleeping Beauty).
These fairy tale re-imaginings have yet to really crack the mold and wow us with something extraordinary (Oz the Great and Powerful has been the most successful so far), but with Jolie leading a talented cast, along with some impressive visual effects, Maleficent could be something worth seeing.
Maleficent opens in U.S. theaters on May 30th, 2014.