Film: Maleficent

Evil has a beginning.

Aurora: All the other fairies fly, why don't you?
Maleficent: I had wings once. But they were stolen from me.

Maleficent is a live-action Perspective Flip of Sleeping Beauty that reveals the origin story of its iconic villainess Maleficent (Angelina Jolie), directed by Robert Stromberg and written by Linda Woolverton.

Maleficent, it seems, was once a good, beautiful fairy princess who lived in peace until her kingdom, the Moors, was attacked by humans. She stands up against them and protects her land until a betrayal breaks her heart and turns her into the Mistress of All Evil. She gears up for revenge against the culprit, the invading king's successor Stefan (Sharlto Copely), which culminates in her cursing his newborn daughter Aurora (Elle Fanning). As the princess grows up, though, Maleficent begins to rethink her actions...

The film was released on May 30, 2014. The first trailer was released on the film's Facebook page on November 13, 2013. The second trailer premiered during the Grammy Awards on Jan 27th, 2014, introducing the film's haunting rendition of "Once Upon a Dream" by Lana Del Rey.

This film has a character sheet. Please put all tropes relating to characters there.

There are unmarked spoilers to follow on this page, so tread carefully.

Maleficent provides examples of the following:

  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: The iron equivalent of the wall of thorns just seems to be one of these, since Maleficent, Diaval and the unconscious and floating Prince Phillip get through it (even if she gets slightly injured on the way); in reality, it's part of Stefan's strategy to limit Maleficent's mobility inside the castle and lead her to a trap.
  • Actor IS the Title Character: Used in the teaser trailer.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • Phillip's father has been changed from Hubert to John.
    • The three fairies are renamed Flittle, Knotgrass, and Thistletwit.
    • Aurora's name is always Aurora, as opposed to the Fairies raising her as "Briar Rose".
    • Diaval, the raven, was originally called Diablo.
  • Adaptational Badass: Maleficent's army; instead of the incompetent goblins of the animated film, here she has a legion of Plant People who easily overpower the human army.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Maleficent, who was changed in this movie on the lines of a misunderstood Anti-Hero, rather than the murderous and petty sociopath of the animated version. This is particularly noticeable in the scene where Maleficent, at her lowest, curses baby Aurora; in this version, the curse is only for "a sleep like death", not death itself, even before the curse is softened.
    • Also Diaval, originally the far crueler Diablo.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the original film, King Stefan was a loving, if Bumbling Dad. In this movie, he is the Big Bad.
    • Humans in general can fall under this. Though portrayed as accepting of fairies in the original film (note the fanfare that accompanies the Three Good Fairies' arrival to the Christening), humans in this film are shown to fear The Fair Folk, and their kings actively wage war against them.
  • Adapted Out: Phillip's Sword of Truth and Shield of Virtue, since his role is reduced in the film. Similarly, the Three Good Fairies don't have wands in this continuity.
  • Adult Fear:
    • In a vein similar to Frozen, there's the idea of someone you love betraying/abandoning you as soon as they've gotten what they want.
    • Like the original film, having one's child threatened by another adult.
    • The idea of two friends growing apart due to racial tension is pretty realistic.
    • Regarding Aurora: Finding out your whole life is a lie, and that the people you loved and trusted were willingly concealing the truth from you (for example, the fact that you're essentially doomed to die).
  • Age Cut: During Aurora's growing-up montage, we see her eight-year-old self lying down and laughing during spring, and then the scene shifts to Fall, where she emerges from a pile of leaves as a fifteen-year-old. Doubles as a Match Cut.
  • Allegory: Rape. The scene in which Maleficent's wings are sheared bore a strikingly horrifying similarity to a rape scene, which was confirmed to be intentional. It should also be noted that some interpreted this same scene as an allegory for Jolie's preventative double mastectomy, but the film's cast was confirmed well before her surgery took place. See Rape and Revenge below for more.
  • All There in the Manual: The novelizations greatly expand on some points of the plot and explains more of Maleficent's backstory. Additionally, the companion book Once Upon A Dream (which also covers the original animated film and the history of the fairy tale itself) provides more information on the Moors and the various fairies that inhabit it.
  • All Trolls Are Different: The wallerbogs are trolls who like throwing mud at others, and the larger, bulkier Sentries are designed to have troll-like features.
  • Alternate Continuity: Despite being presented as a Perspective Flip of Sleeping Beauty since Maleficent's POV is the one being shown, it's clear that this movie passes in another continuity.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Some of the Fair Folk are this, particularly the Mushroom Fairies, Rock Fairies, and Water Sprites. It helps highlight their bond with the Moors, and Nature in general. Most obvious with the Sentries, whose bodies are essentially gnarled trees.
  • Arcadia: The Faerie Moors, which contrasts the grim environment of the human kingdom. Also a partial example of the Land of Faerie.
  • Ascended Extra: Aurora's role is expanded considerably and she is fleshed out a bit more as a character. Same with Diaval, who becomes a true confidant and friend to both Maleficent and Aurora. And with King Stefan, as well, who was a minor character in the original animated movie and here he is the main antagonist.
  • Attack Backfire: Stefan tries to have the thorn barrier burned down, but Maleficent simply animates the now-flaming thorns and turns them on the army.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Maleficent creates or summons a giant dragon/serpent made out of plants to fight the king's army.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Stefan at the beginning, Aurora at the end.
    • Maleficent as well. The creatures of the Moors are terrified when she sits on her throne.
  • Badass Army: The Sentries, who easily defeat King Henry's own men.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Subverted with Maleficent once she becomes Queen of the Moors. Despite becoming rather villainous over the years, she directs her villainy only at the humans — she rules the Moors as a just Queen, and we see that her realm is still a peaceful place, where the inhabitants are happy and go about their lives.
    • Played straight with King Stefan, especially as his paranoia drives him into madness. He works his ironmongers to exhaustion and then wakes them up again in the wee hours to work some more.
  • Backstab Backfire: Stefan.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The final battle, thanks to Diaval torching the throne room as a fire-breathing dragon.
  • Beast and Beauty: Non-romantic, all-female variation. Maleficent is the badass fairy with horns and wings who you don't want to mess with, and Aurora is the sweet All-Loving Hero who restores Maleficent's long-lost faith in love.
  • Black Vikings: At least one of Stefan's knights is of African descent. As detailed on this trope's main page, this is more plausible than most people would immediately assume; additionally, the fact that the setting is a fantasy world opens up a lot of possibilities.
  • Book Ends:
    • In the narration: "And her name was Maleficent."
    • There is one in the cinematography too. One of the earliest scenes we see is of Maleficent flying over the Moors and rising above the sky, feeling the sun on her face, in an extremely unsubtle bit of angelic imagery. The last scene is almost exactly the same.
  • Brave Scot/Violent Glaswegian: Scottish-accented Henry and Stefan, who manage to be both brave warriors and irascible tyrants.
  • Bright Castle: Played with. Henry's (and later Stefan's) castle is fairly impressive, but not really warm-looking. It gets progressively worse as Stefan descends into madness.
  • Broken Pedestal: Aurora towards Maleficent, when she learns of her curse and the truth of who the latter is. She gets better by the end, though.
  • Bullying a Dragon: "Hey, there's a forest full of monsters. Let's go attack them." Curb-Stomp Battle ensues. The novelization explains that King Henry's attacks on the Moors were preemptive strikes against The Fair Folk; as far as he was concerned, leaving a forest full of magic-wielding creatures alone would simply make it more likely that they would someday attack the humans. Never mind that the Fair Folk don't seem interested at all in the human kingdom. The Narrator also explains that Henry's final attack on the Moors was due to rumors spreading about a powerful being (Maleficent) rising up as the fairy realm's protector.
  • Call Back: Maleficent saves Diaval from a net when she first meets him, and during the final battle he returns the favor.
  • Changeling Fantasy: Subverted, as in the original animated film. However, the context is slightly different: In the original film, Aurora was saddened by the fact that she, being royalty, must marry someone who she views as a complete stranger instead of the man she met in the woods, on top of realizing her aunts aren't related to her (or human, for that matter). In this film, Aurora has an emotional breakdown when the Three Good Fairies reveal she's a princess and that she's actually cursed (it was unclear if she was told about the curse in the original). The major difference here, though, is that Aurora is also clearly hurt by the revelation that Maleficent, her godmother, was the fairy who cursed her.
    Aurora: (teary-eyed, while confronting Maleficent) "When were you going to tell me I'm cursed?"
  • Character Development:
    • This story shows how Maleficent undergoes a Face-Heel Turn. And, in the end, a Heel-Face Turn. Also, Aurora has more to say for herself than in the original Sleeping Beauty.
    • Stefan undergoes a Face-Heel Turn as his paranoia gets the better of him.
  • Character Title
  • Close on Title
  • Cold Iron: Iron burns fairies, as we see when Maleficent and Stefan first meet. Stefan later uses this against Maleficent during their final battle.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Maleficent's magic. It's gold when she's working good or benign magic and green when she's using her magic for evil. When she tries to revoke her curse, it's a battle between her gold magic and her green magic. The green wins.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The climax takes place in a pretty small throne room, which is on fire. Not one of the soldiers is bothered by the heat - despite being clad head to toe in iron. They would have been scalded by their armour in minutes.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Both Maleficent and Stefan have been orphaned by the start of the film. The novelization explains that Maleficent's parents were killed in the last war between humans and fairies, while Stefan's were implied to have died from a plague.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: Maleficent talks to an unconscious Aurora after Phillip's kiss doesn't wake her up. However, when she kisses Aurora on the forehead before starting to leave, that ends up being the True Love's Kiss needed to awaken the princess.
  • Corpsing: Averted in the film, but Discussed by Elle Fanning in one of the special features on the Blu-Ray. As it turns out, remaining still in an eternal sleep, while easy to draw on paper, can prove a bit of a challenge when one is a living, flesh-and-blood actress. The final film shows that she managed to pull it off, though.
  • Costume Porn: Many of the costumes are pretty fancy and detailed.
  • The Cover Changes The Meaning: The version of "Once Upon a Dream" that plays over the end credits is more wistful and haunting than the original, and in the context of the events of the film, is implicitly addressed to Maleficent instead of Philip.
  • Create Your Own Villain: In a moment of what is seemingly a twisted act of mercy, Stefan doesn't kill Maleficent, instead chopping off her wings. This only serves to create his greatest nemesis for years to come.
  • Creepy Souvenir: Stefan keeps Maleficent's severed wings in a glass case. Aurora later frees them, and they reattach to Maleficent just as Stefan is about to kill her.
  • Cruel Mercy: The curse escape clause of "true love's kiss" is intended to be this, as Maleficent does not believe in such a thing.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The battle at the border of the Kingdom and the Moors. The Moor's sentinels literally crushed the human soldiers. A few minutes after the beginning of the battle, the human army is scattered while the sentinels are all still alive and unharmed.
  • Curse Escape Clause: Maleficent works one into Aurora's curse when Stefan begs her, though she does not believe it to be functional and intends it as a Cruel Mercy.
  • Dark Age Europe: Humans live in fear of The Fair Folk, and live in a grim kingdom ruled by tyrannical monarchs. Best emphasized when a peasant freaks out upon seeing Diaval become a human, believing him to be a demon. Arguably subverted with the Moors, at least until Maleficent embraces her dark side.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the original 1959 animated film. The scene where Maleficent gets her wings cut off is very unsettling to say the least, along with her discovering what happened to them when she wakes up. Prior to that, the war scene between King Henry and Maleficent's tree/goblin army is quite ferocious.
  • Darkest Hour: The climax. And how. Diaval, in his dragon form, has been captured by the royal guard, unable to breathe fire due to being muzzled in the process; Aurora has run off, though this allows her to find and free Maleficent's wings; and Maleficent herself is surrounded by a wall of iron shields while Stefan advances towards her in an iron suit specifically crafted to burn her upon contact, with his sword in hand, and it's very, very clear that he's willing to kill Maleficent, something that his younger self had struggled with. Oh, and the fact that the whole throne room is on fire just adds to the overall hellish imagery of the scene.
  • Dark Fantasy: Disney's take on the genre.
  • Dark Is Evil/Dark Is Not Evil: A pair of Zig Zagged Tropes concerning Maleficent herself, in regards to her motivations and the environment she's in. She ultimately goes with the latter.
    • The latter fits rather well for the Sentries: They have twisted, wooden bodies and demonic faces, but ultimately are just guards who protect the Fair Folk from human invaders. Their last scene shows them accepting Aurora as their Queen, with Balthazar even offering his hand to her, which she accepts.
  • Dark Reprise: The ending credits feature one of "Once Upon A Dream", sung by Lana Del Rey.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Diaval and Maleficent are a fitting pair.
  • Death by Adaptation: Queen Leila (though off-screen) and King Stefan.
  • Death Faked for You: Stefan goes to the Moors to kill Maleficent, but can't go through with it. Instead, he hacks off her wings as proof of her death, which insures no other candidates for Henry's throne would come after her. She is not appreciative, at all.
  • Deconstruction: This movie has a bunch:
    • Fairy Godmother: Send a bunch of low-ranking pixies to take care of a little child, when they have no prior experience with humans whatsoever? Then prepare to have said child almost die in their care. They wouldn't know the first thing about taking care of the baby, or what to feed it. In fact, were it not for Maleficent and Diaval, Aurora would've been dead long before her 16th birthday.
    • The Curse Escape Clause and Exact Words are intertwined in this one. Maleficent's curse was so powerful, that no power on Earth can rend it asunder, not even she who invoked the curse in the first place. However, since the curse itself said that the child would grow with grace and beauty and shall be loved by all, the curse itself has the way to break the enchantment. Years of watching over Aurora leads Maleficent to care for her deeply, enough that Maleficent's kiss would qualify as true love's kiss.
    • True Love's Kiss: While there's a moment between Aurora and Phillip, you can't expect there to be such a deep level of love with a person whom you just met for one afternoon. Phillip himself doesn't expect it to work either, protesting to the fairies that he barely knows Aurora, but they repeatedly insist that he kiss her anyway. This one at least gets reconstructed: Much like Once Upon a Time and Frozen did, this movie shows that romantic love is not the only kind of true love.
    • One of the common modern complaints about Sleeping Beauty is the creepy vibe of the whole "kissing an unconscious woman unable to give you her consent" thing. As mentioned below under Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!, when the fairies pressure him to kiss this unconscious girl he's only met once before for all of 5 minutes, his first reaction is to point out she's asleep and it would be wrong, which greatly averts the Values Dissonance present in the source material.
  • Demoted to Extra: Prince Phillip is barely there compared to the original film, and mostly serves as a vehicle to subvert the True Love's Kiss and Love at First Sight tropes. Similarly, the three fairies, who were practically the driving force of much of the original film's plot, mostly serve as Plucky Comic Relief off in the sidelines here.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Stefan's knights are able to subdue Diaval in his dragon form.
  • Disney Villain Death: King Stefan falls to his death from his castle's ramparts, solely because he tried to attack Maleficent from behind after she declared their battle over. Unlike many examples in Disney movies, we actually see him after he lands. Ironically, Maleficent could have saved him, and probably would have, if he hadn't kitted himself out in a suit of armor designed to prevent her laying a finger on him.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A young woman wakes up, disoriented and confused, and to her horror discovers that the man she befriended and opened her heart and home to has drugged her and violated her while she was unconscious, all just to gain power and prestige among his peers.
    • A young girl (Aurora) is wandering the countryside without any adult supervision, all the while being watched by a dark, brooding figure (Maleficent). Just when she least expects it, said figure abducts her and takes her to a realm that is feared/hated by humans. The scenario has some similarities to Hades abducting Persephone.
    • At the climax of the film, two characters are fighting on the very top of the castle: the non-human protagonist, who is viewed as evil, but whom we know to be kind at heart and remorseful of earlier, evil, actions, and who, contrary to popular belief has nothing but the best at heart for our female, human heroine; and the human antagonist, who fills a classically heroic role, despite the fact that he's a self-obsessed prick. Having defeated the antagonist, the protagonist turns to walk away, only to be attacked from behind and dodge, causing the antagonist to fall to his death. Sound familiar?
      • It's almost as if they had the same writer.
    • Aurora's curse, and her reaction to learning about it. On the onset of things, she looks like a perfectly healthy, bright young girl; however, the curse is shown to be in her body, waiting for the appointed day that it will doom her. When Aurora learns she's going to basically die on her sixteenth birthday, she reacts with confusion, sadness, and—- towards Maleficent and the Fairies—- a bit of anger. The curse can easily be seen as a terminal disease, and Aurora herself as an Ill Girl.
    • A confused girl on the cusp of adulthood, wandering aimlessly, stuck between kissing a boy and doing something with her finger.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: Played with. The Moors are actually a nice place, and The Fair Folk are receptive of humans who treat them well (I.e. Aurora). However, it is a very bad idea to mount an assault on the Moors, for the Sentries are more than capable of fending off any human threats.
  • Dramatic Irony: Viewers know for certain that Maleficent is the one who cursed Aurora, and that Aurora is a princess; Aurora herself, however, is not aware of any of this. When she finds out about her curse and who Maleficent is, she's absolutely devastated.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Phillip's exact reaction to the fairies telling him to kiss a sleeping Aurora.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Despite all the trauma and sorrow, Maleficent is able to save Aurora and regain her belief in true love. Aurora, for her part, becomes the ruler of both the Kingdom and the Moors, and lives for many years, if the narration is anything to go by. It can also be inferred that humans and fairies will eventually reach an understanding.
  • Elite Mooks: King Henry's (and later Stefan's) soldiers could be considered this, seeing as how they fight an army of mythical monsters, a wall of giant thorns that is on fire, the most powerful faerie in the Moors, and a dragon, without batting an eye. While they get their butts kicked by Maleficent's army, they pretty quickly get dragon!Diaval tied down. Even if they still die, they're at least very brave and competent.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Stefan's first appearance is as a young boy in the Moors, trying to steal a jewel, revealing his ambitious nature and his greed.
    • The three fairies' establishing shot is them being blown away by Maleficent and expressing their disdain for her, reflecting how she upstages them in parenting Aurora later on.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Aurora, of course. Her mother, too, prior to marrying Stefan.
  • Evil-Detecting Baby: Inverted. As a baby, Aurora only smiles at Maleficent, even when the fairy deliberately tries to scare her. In the context of this trope, this can be taken as foreshadowing that Maleficent still has good in her.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Averted. Her teasing of the pixies is funny.
  • Exact Words: Maleficent really shouldn't have said that "no power on Earth" could revoke her curse, as this meant that even her own power would not be enough. However, this also ends up fixing the whole thing. "All will love her" was part of the invocation, and indeed, Maleficent does eventually begin to love Aurora in spite of herself, enough to provide "true love's kiss" when it's needed. After all, true love comes in more varieties than simple romance.
  • External Retcon: For the original animated film and, by extension, the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Despite the thunder, lightning, and industrial-strength light and magic coming from Aurora's room as Maleficent bellows out that she wants to revoke her curse, Aurora doesn't wake up and none of the three fairies check on her.
  • The Fair Folk: Maleficent is one, and many others are prominently featured. In-Universe, they're referred to as "fair people," particularly by Aurora, while the novelizations do indeed use the term "fair folk."
  • Fairy Godmother: Aurora initially mistakes Maleficent for hers. Given that Aurora continues to call her "Godmother", and doesn't even know her real name until later, Maleficent obviously didn't entirely disabuse her of the notion. On the other hand, her reasoning is actually pretty solid and it holds up in the end.
  • Fantastic Racism: King Henry and his subjects and later King Stefan as well seem to hate the magic folk for being different and try to invade the kingdom for its supposed treasures.
  • Feminist Fantasy: The film is a Perspective Flip retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It reimagines Maleficent as a complex woman who changes from heroic guardian of the Moors, to vengeful Woman Scorned and finally into an antihero over the many years the film covers. She serves as an unwitting mother figure to Aurora, and helps to mold the princess into a wise and strong-willed young woman. Aurora is notably more proactive in this telling of the story, with far more character development and agency than is normally seen in most versions of Sleeping Beauty. She is also not woken from her sleep by Prince Philip, who even points out that he doesn't know her well enough to be in love yet. Instead, it is Maleficent who awakens Aurora with a remorseful kiss to the forehead — having included in her curse that all who met Aurora would come to love her.
  • Flat "What.": We have this gem.
    Aurora: I know who you are.
    Maleficent: (menacingly) Who am I then?
    Aurora: You're my Fairy Godmother!
    (Beat)
    Maleficent: What.
  • Fisher King: Maleficent may not be a bad ruler, limiting her displays of temper and callousness to the humans, but the Moors are quieter and less colorful when she's in charge, and perk up considerably when she abdicates in the finale.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: Traditional Fairy Tale tropes, archetypes, and plot elements get inverted, subverted, and deconstructed.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Maleficent's curse. Even when she decides to revoke it, it overpowers her good magic, and pulls out all the stops to ensure Aurora's doom.
  • Great Offscreen War: As expanded upon in the novelization, humans and fairies had previously fought each other in one of these. At the film's beginning, Knotgrass reacts with fear when Stefan is found in the Moors, worried that another war might happen.
  • Greed: Stefan's desire for power is what makes him betray Maleficent. Slightly subverted, however, in that when he has the chance to kill her, he can't bring himself to do it, so he instead takes her wings. The result is the same; the dying King Henry names Stefan his successor and has him marry his daughter, Princess Leila, to seal the deal.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Maleficent seems to have a moment of this when she learns of Aurora's birth, since her childhood sweetheart has married and had a child with another woman. It's a very brief instance, however.
    • In the novelization it's much more apparent, with Maleficent later becoming jealous of Diaval spending more and more time with Aurora.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: The story starts with two good kingdoms failing to understand one another, with both having to go through several less-than-pleasant measures to ensure peace. Then Stefan becomes king after drugging and maiming the chief defender of the Fairies, whom he had previously claimed to love, in her sleep. Maleficent decides to get revenge by cursing his innocent infant daughter, and Stefan's guilt and impotent rage drive him to become a paranoid despot.
  • Grimmification: Contains tons of creepy imagery typical of non-bowdlerised fairy tales.
  • Heir-In-Law: Stephan becomes king by marrying the former king's daughter. She doesn't rule and barely even has a presence in the story.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The dull humming "VWOOOOOOMMM" sound that iron makes whenever Maleficent is close to it. It's also accompanied by the iron glowing red.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Yes. Most notably, Stefan does wear a helmet in the final battle... but takes it off almost immediately for no practical reason.
  • The High Queen: Aurora becomes one at the end.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: The trio of fairies create this out of carelessness, and are seen leaving Aurora outside, not noticing when she falls off a cliff, and apparently accidentally fed her spiders one time. Of course, it's indicated that she would have died from this kind of thing if Maleficent hadn't been watching over her.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Happens twice to Maleficent. When she curses Aurora, she says the princess will be "beloved by all who meet her" and that "no force on earth" has the power to undo the curse. Naturally, as she observes Aurora, Maleficent come to love the Princess against her will. Once she does, she tries to remove the curse only to find that she cannot.
    • Stefan as well. In the climax, he and Maleficent fall off a tower — as she had her wings back, she could have saved him had he not been wearing a suit of iron armor.
  • Hope Spot: Brought up by Diaval, believing that the Prince could be the one to break the curse.
  • Horns of Villainy: Subverted. The film makes clear that Maleficent has horns, unlike Sleeping Beauty where it was simply implied. However, instead of the outright evil of her original incarnation, here she's angry and vengeful, and ultimately redeemed through her love of Aurora.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Diaval gets transformed into a feathered black horse.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Collectively speaking. Compared to the peaceful denizens of the Moors, the humans are shown to be warlike, treacherous, greedy, ruthless, and uncaring. Individually, it's a different story: Aurora, Phillip, the ironworkers, and Leila (Aurora's mother) are all shown to be good or at least decent people in their own right.
  • Humans Are Ugly: Diaval thinks so.
  • Hypnotize the Princess: Aurora, as per tradition. In an interesting twist, though, Maleficent isn't directly involved; rather the curse itself seizes control of Aurora's body, guiding her to a spindle (which it also repairs, just to fulfill the requirements).
  • If It Swims, It Flies: We see a couple of water elementals (who resemble dolphins crossed with dragons) swimming as Maleficent flies near the beginning; we later see one floating in the air, allowing Aurora to pet it. Said creature may in fact be a Scottish faerie known as a boobrie, which would make sense given that the film is set in a fantastical version of Medieval Scotland.
  • Insult of Endearment: Maleficent dubs infant Aurora "Beastie", initially with the genuine intention of being belittling; by the end of the film, it's become an Affectionate Nickname.
  • Ironic Echo: Gee, Stefan sure looks cute holding on to Maleficent's foot while she flies, doesn't he? How about in the climax?
    • While cursing Aurora, Maleficent has Stefan get on his knees before she decides to add the Curse Escape Clause. Diring the climax, Maleficent ends up on her knees, in the same general direction, completely at Stefan's mercy.
    • Stefan gave Maleficent her her First Kiss which he says he says is true love's. She later curses Aurora and it can only be broken by true love's kiss.
    • "This curse will stand to the end of time! No power on Earth can break it!", Maleficent declares. These words are spoken back to her when she tries lifting the curse.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • Stefan's soldiers try to burn down the wall of thorns, with disastrous consequences for them.
    • Later, Maleficent uses fire in a much more effective way by transforming Diaval into a dragon.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Iron is this for fairies. Just touching it burns their flesh and causes great pain, although the burns heal quickly.
  • Lady and Knight: Diaval and Maleficent have this dynamic, though it's platonic.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: When cursing Aurora, Maleficent looks around for inspiration and spots a spinning wheel, probably one of the christening presents.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: Sorta; it's drawing heavily from Disney's Sleeping Beauty, only delving into Maleficent's past.
  • Love at First Sight: Appears to happen between Aurora and Phillip. But subverted. While True Love's Kiss may exist, Love at First Sight apparently does not, at least not true love sufficient to break Maleficent's curse after the couple have known each other a day. Maternal love for a child you've watched over her whole life, on the other hand...
  • Love Redeems: What ultimately redeems Maleficent is the maternal love she grows for Aurora.
  • Logo Joke: The Disney castle is shown in side view instead of the usual front view, fades into Stefan's castle, then the camera zooms over it to reveal the Moors. Very apropos, since the Disney castle is canonically the Sleeping Beauty Castle.
  • Loophole Abuse: Subverted. Since she's been cursed to prick her finger on a spinning wheel before sundown on her sixteenth birthday, King Stefan has all the spinning wheels in the kingdom destroyed and Aurora placed under the care of the three fairies until the day has passed. Not only does Aurora end up at the castle on that day anyway, but the curse magically compels her to find the room where all the broken spinning wheels are kept, unlocks any doors in her way, then repairs one so that she may prick her finger on it.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The film is pretty consistent in its portrayal of iron burning fairies.
  • Magic Staff/Staff of Authority: Played With. Maleficent's staff is used for sorcery, and signifies her rulership over the Moors, but she originally creates it as a glorified walking stick to help her adapt to walking on her feet after her wings are cut off.
  • Match Cut: Occurs during Aurora's growing-up montage. We see her eight-year-old self lying down and laughing during Spring; the scene then shifts to Fall, where she emerges from a pile of leaves as a fifteen-year-old.
  • Maybe Ever After: Aurora and Phillip. Since his attempt at True Love's Kiss doesn't save her, their relationship is left open. Aurora's narration never confirms it, though they do smile at each other during the end scene.
  • Meaningful Echo: Aurora meeting Maleficent for the first time echoes how Maleficent met Stefan when the two were children. In a clothing example, Aurora's hooded cloak during that meeting is meant to evoke Maleficent's robes the night Stefan betrayed her.
  • Meaningful Name: Aurora is, appropriately, Latin for "dawn".
    • Maleficent is Latin for "evildoer," which she only appears to be.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The fairies that aren't Anthropomorphic Personification or human-like appear as this. They even have names like "Butterfly Fairy" and "Hedgehog Fairy."
  • Moe Couplet: Maleficent is made much less threatening through her interactions with Aurora.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: The Sentries follow Maleficent's orders, no matter what. Played with Diaval, who obeys Maleficent, but clearly doesn't agree with everything she does.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • During the opening battle, Maleficent's forces include riders on boars. This is likely an allusion to the pig-goblins under her dominion in the animated film.
    • The ruined castle where Maleficent goes to be alone after Stefan steals her wings is a reference to her fortress on the Forbidden Mountain in the original film.
    • At one point, Maleficent states, "I wonder." The original animated film had a song of the same name.
    • Maleficent's lines as she enters King Stefan's castle are pretty much the same, word-for-word, as in the animated film.
    • The wall of thorns Maleficent creates around the Moors is a reference to the forest of thorns that surrounded Stefan's castle in the animated film.
    • Aurora's dress in the third act is blue like her original 1959 incarnation's. However, while the original film's dress was based on the fashion styles of the late Fifties, Elle Fanning's dress is more medieval-looking (having been modeled after Renaissance-era dresses).
    • Stefan comments that Aurora looks just like her mother. The two did indeed have a Strong Family Resemblance in the original film.
    • One of the novelizations mentions Aurora going out to pick berries, just like in the 1959 film. In reality, however, she's using that as a cover story while she goes further into the woods than her aunts would like her to.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The original animated film never assigned any names to Aurora and Phillip's kingdoms; in this film, however, Phillip identifies his home as "Ulstead."
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Maleficent (Latin for 'evildoer') and Diaval (Russian for 'devil').
  • Narrator All Along: The narrator turns out to be Aurora.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers make the movie come across as being considerably Darker and Edgier than it actually is. It's a Dark Fantasy tale for sure, but it's not rooted in Black and Grey Morality.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: "The princess shall indeed grow in grace and beauty, beloved by all who meet her." That includes Maleficent.
  • No Name Given: Phillip's horse is never named (in the original he was named "Samson").
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • Maleficent is anything but evildoing at the beginning of the film. However, given that she turns to evil later, it may be a very odd case of Prophetic Name.
    • Maleficent's kingdom is called "the Moors", but it contains very little actual moorland. This is actually lampshaded in the companion book.
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently at one point the three fairies fed Aurora spiders.
  • Not His Sled: Like the animated Sleeping Beauty, the climax involves a dragon. Unlike Sleeping Beauty, the entirety of said battle takes place in a very different location, and the dragon is Diaval, not Maleficent.
  • Novelization: It actually has two. The main one sticks to the previous drafts of the script, so it includes such things as Maleficent's parents (named Hermia and Lysander), Diaval being far more active in Aurora's upbringing than Maleficent, and the Unresolved Sexual Tension between Maleficent and Diaval. A second novelization, by the same author, was published as The Curse of Maleifcent and tells the story of the movie from Aurora's perspective.
  • Oh Crap!: The Royal Court collectively shits itself when Maleficent shows up during Aurora's christening.
    • Stefan's reaction when Maleficent gets her wings back is pretty much this.
    • The soldiers who set the thorn walls on fire also have their moment when said walls started to attack them.
    • King Henry and his men have this reaction when Maleficent summons Balthazar and all the other border guards to defend the Moors.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Diaval gets transformed into a huge feathery wyvern.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: The term "fairy" is used to refer to all magical creatures. For example Maleficent is human-sized with horns and angel wings. The trio of Thistlewit, Flittle and Knotgrass are much smaller with insect wings. There are also froglike creatures and entities made of plants. So there are different fairies in-universe too.
  • Painting the Frost on Windows: The novelizations and companion book explain that the Fair Folk all have a purpose in keeping the Moors in good shape. Specifically:
    • The companion book shows artwork for a particular creature called a Leaf Fairy, who along with its brethren are responsible for changing the leaves into different colors every season.
    • The wallerbogs use their saliva to make fresh mud for the bogs.
    • Rock Fairies move rocks around to help the flow of streams and rivers.
    • Butterfly Fairies tend to flowers.
    • Maleficent herself can heal trees. One review even likens her to a Celtic mother goddess.
  • Parental Substitute: Maleficent and Diaval fulfill this role for Aurora far better than the fairies (who, while well-meaning, are bumbling and incompetent) and Stefan (who is a paranoid tyrant). This ends up important, as it is Maleficent's maternal love for Aurora which breaks the curse.
  • Perspective Flip: The premise of the movie is that it's Sleeping Beauty retold and expanded upon, though it eventually establishes itself as being its own continuity in the second half of the film. The other versions are outright dismissed as propaganda by the opening and closing narration.
  • Pillar of Light: When Maleficent discovers the reason for Stephan's betrayal, a pillar of her green-flame magic accompanies her Skyward Scream. The inhabitants of the castle are suitably unnerved.
  • Plant Mooks: The Sentries, tree-people who guard the border between the human kingdom and the Moors. One of them, Balthazar, appears to be friends with Maleficent. The novelization mentions another one named Birchalin, who may be the other Sentry present when Balthazar and Maleficent meet Stefan.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Maleficent and Diaval. There are each other's closest friends, they bicker a lot, and they raise Aurora together.
  • The Power of Love: Keeps the magical power of love from the original fairy tale but subverts the True Love's Kiss.
  • Pretty in Mink: A number of outfits are decorated with fur, from Maleficent's fur-lined winter cloak, the capes the kings wear, and the queen's Pimped Out Dresses.
  • Rape and Revenge: The first act follows this plot exactly, except for Stefan mutilating her rather than raping her once he's betrayed her trust and drugged her.
  • Reality Ensues: So, now that Maleficent has grown fond of Aurora, she can just revoke the curse and let Aurora live, right? Wrong; due to how she specified the curse would last until "the end of time," it's not going anywhere, unless Aurora does indeed receive True Love's Kiss. Can also be viewed as a metaphor for how some things can't be easily fixed when one begins to have a change of heart.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Some viewers' impressions are that that this film's Aurora looks too young. In reality, however, Elle Fanning is pretty close in age to Aurora (the film was released a month after she turned sixteen), whereas Aurora in the 1959 film was modelled after actresses who were in their twenties, while her voice actress was also clearly older.
  • Red Herring: The fairies and Diaval believe that Prince Phillip's Love at First Sight for Aurora will break her curse. It doesn't, because a love that deep cannot exist between two people after just one meeting, and in the film it is rather forced by the The Three Good Fairies, leaving little room for any "true love". This works because it did break her curse in the original film.
  • Rock Monster: Crowd shots of the Moorland Fairies show a couple of small creatures who appear to be made of rock; additional material identifies them as "Rock Fairies." Also a case of Our Gnomes Are Weirder.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Maleficent and Stefan have a brief one, after the former flies out of the throne room, with the latter holding on to her. Maleficent ends up choking Stefan, ignoring the burn from her wrist coming into contact with his armor, but she decides that he's Not Worth Killing.
    Maleficent: "It's over."
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • They might be cruel bastards, but both Henry and Stefan take a very proactive approach to their kingship, personally leading their warriors and trying to strengthen and expand their realm.
    • Maleficent herself. She takes an active role in defending the Moors and is the one who actually cares for Aurora, although at first it's just to keep the pixies from killing her through air-headed neglect.
    • By the end Aurora is said to have united the Moors and the human kingdom and doesn't mention any major problems.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Stefan's throne is destroyed in the final battle, representing the end of his tyranny.
  • Sadly Mythtaken. The film's plot was conceived when Linda Woolverton wondered why Maleficent, a fairy, didn't have any wings. Anyone who knows anything about fairy lore—- or simply read the Analysis section on Tv Trope's own page on The Fair Folk—- would know that having wings is not a prerequisite to being a fairy, and such an idea was added later during the late 19th/earlier 20th century (which, fittingly enough, Disney helped popularize). That being said, the film does show that research was done in regards to actual Celtic fairies (such as their aversion to iron), and the film does sort of address this; particularly, Aurora's conversation with Maleficent (from which the page quote is from) does indeed have Maleficent say that most fairies have wings. This is also immediately demonstrated at the film's start, when the various Fair Folk are shown going about their daily business in the Moors.
  • Save the Villain: Maleficent tries but fails with Stefan.
  • Scaled Up: Maleficent turns Diaval into a dragon when she is trapped in a wrought iron net.
  • Scenery Porn: All of the sets look great.
  • Scotland: The film's setting. Surprisingly downplayed, though. See Setting Update for more.
  • Setting Update: The original film was designed with France in mind; for this film, the filmmakers envisioned Maleficent and Aurora's kingdom as a fantasy version of Scotland, due to the greater emphasis on fairies. The Moors were even designed to have a Celtic feel.
  • Shout-Out: One of the sentries has downward facing horns and roars at the camera in the same way as Durin's Bane does.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Maleficent curses Aurora because of Stefan's betrayal and the destruction it causes.
  • Slasher Smile: Some of Stefan's knights have this when they attack Maleficent while she's under the iron net. Maleficent herself shows off a brilliant one when she arrives at the christening.
  • Slave to PR: King Stefan, and King Henry before him. They're obsessed with conquering the Moors because it will net them prestige and power, and Stefan thinks really hard before begging for his daughter's life because he doesn't want to look weak in front of his nobles.
  • Soft Glass: During the final battle, Maleficent flies through a glass window, breaking it in the process, with Stefan holding on to her (his iron chain flail having grappled her ankle and his arm). Maleficent herself is unharmed, likely due to her Healing Factor. Averted with the glass case that had held her wings; the wings only break out after Aurora pushes the case over, shattering it in the process.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Maleficent and Diaval.
  • Start of Darkness: Both Maleficent and Stefan have this. Maleficent's is Stefan betraying her trust and cutting off her wings. Stefan's is more subtle; initially, it's his ambition to gain the throne which leads him to betray Maleficent, and the curse she puts on Aurora for revenge gradually drives him mad in his attempts to defy it.
  • Stripping the Scarecrow: After Diaval is transformed from a raven into a human, his first suit of clothes are taken from a scarecrow in the field.
  • Take a Third Option: According to the ancient legends, the human kingdom and the fairy kingdom could only be united by a "great hero" or a "terrible villain"; in the end, Maleficent accomplished this by being both.
  • Tempting Fate: Just as he's about to finish off Maleficent, Stefan smugly asks her what it's like to be a wingless fairy. A few seconds later, Maleficent's wings reattach to her, thanks to Aurora.
  • They Should Have Sent A Poet: When Aurora wakes up in the Moors and becomes awed by its natural beauty and inhabitants.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: Invoked during the climax: While some of Stefan's knights work on subduing Diaval, a few more arrive with riot shields made of iron, and promptly make a formation around Maleficent, boxing her in and limiting her mobility. Then one of them steps aside, allowing Stefan—- now equipped with a suit of iron armor and iron chain flails—- to step in and face off against Maleficent.
  • Third-Act Misunderstanding: When Aurora learns who Maleficent really is. She ends up riding off to Stefan's castle.
  • True Love's Kiss: The escape clause to Maleficent's curse on Aurora. Maleficent adds it specifically because she believes there is no such thing, her experience with Stefan having left her disillusioned. Maleficent herself is the one to give Aurora the waking kiss, though it is a maternal love, not Les Yay.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Maleficent, as a child, was kind, carefree, and happy, as well as having a merciful streak. Stefan, aside from wanting to take the fairy stone, appears to be the same way, judging by he and she developing a friendship that lasted for years.
  • Voice of the Legion: The curse occasionally appears to talk with this, alternating between calling Aurora's name and describing what it's going to do to her.
  • Wham Shot: One scene has Stefan appearing to talk to someone, his mind clearly not all there. One of the servants then walks in to inform him that Leila is dying from an illness, but he silences him, saying he's in the middle of a conversation. The servant then leaves, and it's revealed that Stefan is talking to Maleficent's severed wings, now held in a glass case.
  • When Trees Attack: Maleficent's forces are comprised of Plant People.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Justified example. Stefan's knights capture Maleficent, but instead of killing her only try to incapicitate her with blunt weapons and Cold Iron. Considering how elaborate their trap for her was, it seems the intention was only to weaken her, thus allowing Stefan to strike the killing blow. Notably, when Maleficent gets her wings back, Stefan orders them to kill her with whatever they have.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: As a child, Maleficent was this; the novelization explains that she shared her parents' hope that humans and fairies could get along. Unfortunately, Stefan's betrayal made her lose that belief. Aurora, however, seems to restore her faith in the two races uniting someday.
  • You Monster!: A tragic example: Aurora's reaction to finding out how Maleficent cursed her as an infant is her invoking this trope towards the latter. She's not angry, per se, but the revelation does leave her feeling sad/hurt.
    Aurora: "You're the evil that's in the world. It's you!"