Before Disney realized that it could simply churn out live-action remakes of its classic animated movies and still make an obscene amount of money, the studio was going to the effort of reinventing the old stories by putting a new spin on them. Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland traded in the surrealness and nonsense of the original book for some overstuffed mythology and a silly Johnny Depp dance and made a billion dollars at the box office, so for Maleficent Disney decided to play around with the idea that Sleeping Beauty's villain was actually just horribly misunderstood.
Directed by Robert Stromberg, Maleficent starred Angelina Jolie in the title role as a once-happy fairy who turns dark and vengeful after a human boy cuts off her wings. That human boy grows up to be a king, and has a daughter called Princess Aurora. Like in the original story, Maleficent curses the newborn baby to die at the age of 16 by pricking her finger on a spinning wheel. Unlike the original story, however, she eventually has a change of heart and tries to stop the curse from being carried out.
Maleficent ultimately saves the sleeping Aurora by giving her true love's kiss (yes, Disney kind of stole its own plot twist from Frozen), gets her wings back, and defeats the king. Unfortunately, the one thing she doesn't do is get herself a new publicist, because the upcoming sequel is called Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
Why is Maleficent apparently evil again in the new movie? In two words and a hyphen, the answer is in-laws. Aurora plans to marry Prince Phillip (yes, the same Prince Phillip whose kiss wasn't good enough to wake her in the last movie), but Maleficent isn't impressed by Aurora's chosen beau and is even less impressed by his parents, the king and queen of a neighboring kingdom. After an awkward dinner, Aurora ends up in the clutches of Phillip's parents and Maleficent rallies the fairy kingdom to go to war in order to get her back.
Maleficent might have her villainous ways, but as long as there's always someone slightly more evil than her around in these movies, it's probably OK to root for her.