Ironically, this also ensured Aurora's survival despite her three official guardians' clumsiness; part of the curse indicated that she'd survive to her 16th birthday, and, again, the curse can't get changed or cancelled by any power, not even Maleficent's.
Maleficent's use of a walking stick after losing her wings isn't only because she'd be unused to walking any real distance since she could fly, but also the loss of wings would have severely affected her balance. Also, the sheer pain probably made it difficult to stand when the wounds were fresh, let alone walk.
Why didn't Maleficent bleed out and die when Stefan basically cut off two of her limbs? Because he tied them off with an iron chain and iron burns fairies. The wound was cauterised immediately.
The use of iron is probably also why she was able to heal after they came to her. As shown in the finale, the normal cuts don't heal right away, but all her burns do.
Maleficent used to be friends with Stefan, meaning she had a much better knowledge of humans than the average fairy; this would explain why she knows how to take care of a human child much better than the three good pixies
Why does Maleficent turn Diaval into a dragon instead of taking the form herself, like in the classic film? Maybe it's because her magic can control and change everything except herself. This could also be why her wings don't simply grow back when they're taken—-aside from being sentient and locked in an iron cage, that is. Since they are a part of her, she can't use her magic to make any effect on them.
Maleficent including True Love's Kiss as the Curse Escape Clause wasn't just because she believed it was a condition that could never be met. It was because Stefan was the one who had made her believe that. He told her that the emotions they shared were true love and then he abandoned her for power and ultimately betrayed her outright. What better way to pay him back than to use the very thing he taught her to keep his daughter prisoner forever? This wasn't just Maleficent being a Woman Scorned, it was her version of poetic justice.
Stefan himself declares there's no such thing as true love, much like Maleficent did in an earlier scene.
The change from searching for Aurora to befriending her. First, given that Maleficent is an incredibly powerful sorceress - stronger than most other fairies - and has loyal servants of her own, the idea that she couldn't find a girl that was living next door would seem rather impotent. The second and more subtle thing is, perhaps, that her curse took effect as she was casting it/immediately - hence her dulling the curse was because she had already started to care for Aurora.
Why is it that only Maleficent can break the curse, when the curse explicitly mandates that Aurora will be loved by all who meet her? One would think that anyone could break it, since everyone loves her. But consider that the fairies, though they loved Aurora, were also neglectful and incompetent guardians; Phillip, despite experiencing Love at First Sight, can't break the curse; and Stefan, though ostensibly a Knight Templar Parent, doesn't actually treat Aurora with affection. True love, then, must be deeper than that. It's formed by a long-lasting bond over a period of years, not mere attraction via magnetic heroism. The curse alone wasn't enough to charm Maleficent: there was still enough goodness in her that true love could blossom even when it could not in others.
Alternately, Maleficent may have been the only person in the world who could break the curse by loving Aurora. To qualify as True Love, it presumably can't be the result of faerie magic, and everyone else Aurora met was compelled to love her by the same godmother-magic that empowered the curse. Maleficent, being the author of that curse, was exempt from its influence and free to come to love the girl in a natural manner.
One noticeable deviation from the animated film is that Maleficent herself, not the third fairy, is the one who establishes the Curse Escape Clause. This seems like an unnecessary change, until you remember that the fact that "no power on earth" can change it becomes an extremely important plot point. If the most powerful fairy in the Moors can't lift it, then it's unlikely that one of the bumbling pixies would be able to alter it so drastically.
Diaval has strange markings near the corner of his eyes in his human form. They look like the wrinkles that form there on humans as they age, or as they're more commonly known, "crow's feet".
If you really think about it, Stephan could have cured Aurora immediately, the same way Maleficent did, if he wasn't out of his mind with power. Didn't have to be romantic love. But it almost seems to me that Stephan didn't love Aurora (the only one?), because of the way he barely acknowledges her as a person but rather as symbol of his war with Maleficent, but I'll allow the argument that maybe he loves her in a different way.
Alternately, his brusque dismissal of Aurora when she arrived at the castle may have been his deliberate refusal to "meet" her at all, because he'd already written off any hope of salvation for her and thus, didn't want to let himself be subject to the "beloved by all who meet her" clause. Indeed, Stefan had evidently ordered his men ("those three idiots") to take his daughter directly to her room, not even letting her see him in person. He's lasted sixteen years not letting himself give a damn about Aurora; he's not going to let himself start caring if she lives, dies, or sleeps forever now.
After losing her wings, Maleficent makes a throne on the fairy mound at the center of the Moors. Aside from using it to enforce her rule over the Fair Folk, there's also the fact that, without her wings, flying back to her rowan tree isn't much of an option.
The color of Aurora's dresses appear to significantly change throughout the film. When we first meet her as a teen, her primary color is yellow, matching her sunny personality. In the scenes surrounding her sixteenth birthday and her fall-out with Maleficent, proceeding to her falling asleep and the final battle, her dress is blue, which can be taken to represent her emotions (being sad, hurt, and upset). When her and Maleficent are happy once more, she has a golden dress for her coronation. Not So Different from how Maleficent's clothing changes throughout the film.
During the scene in which young Maleficent and Stefan play with each other, Maleficent flies above a pond with Stefan playfully holding onto her ankle, hoisting him up in the air until he drops himself into the pond. What happens during the final battle? Stefan grapples onto Maleficent's ankle during her flight, but she ends up crashing through the window and flying through the outside of the castle, with Stefan still in tow.
One may notice that Aurora is a bit naive and overly trusting throughout the film. Now think back to the magical gifts given from Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. Flora gave beauty, Fauna gave song, and Merryweather's gift of smarts...was interrupted and changed.
Unlike the animated film, Aurora finds out about her curse, and becomes emotionally devastated by the revelation. The curse itself is portrayed as inhabiting her body, best shown when it materializes from her to block Maleficent's good magic; additionally, its main purpose is to put Aurora into an eternal sleep. The film basically interprets the curse as a terminal disease, with Aurora being an Ill Girl.
Why is Phillip still lost in the woods after Aurora gives him directions to Stefan's castle? Because he asked Aurora, a girl who at that point has only seen the castle from far away, not to mention she was a bit distracted.
The novelizations explain that the Fair Folk all have dominion over various aspects of nature, and it is they that keep the Moors beautiful. Because of this, it's easy to see why the human kingdom is gloomy and depressing: Humans hate fairies, so of course they wouldn't use their magic there! No wonder the kingdom seems to be stagnating...
Where did the knights get all those chains to overtake Diaval as a dragon? Well, it's possible those chains were meant to hold Maleficent in place so she would be easier to kill. The dragon was just an unexpected surprise, but fortunately for them they still had their riot shields to box her in. Also, considering how they had her under an iron net at the onset of the battle, it's possible the chains and shields were made as backup. The only thing no one took into account was Maleficent getting her wings back.
When Aurora finds out that Maleficent is the fairy who cursed her, she starts to cry. Given that one of her gifts was that she would never be unhappy, and since we never saw her being anything but sweet and cheerful for the rest of the movie, one can only assume that that's the first time she's ever felt sad in her entire life.
Stefan is The Sociopath alright, but you never truly get how much until A) he can't show any affection when meeting his daughter after 16 years and then B) when he declares there's no such thing as true love. Then you realize he might have been a sociopath his whole life, and he managed to fool a freaking fairy, and the strongest at that, her whole life. He's more concerned with his survival and power than with his daughter. That puts him on the same level as Prince Hans, who himself is on the same level as bad characters from Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire. Disney's getting really good at portraying realistic sociopaths.
Stefan doesn't necessarily have to be cold and calculating all his life for this to be a realistic depiction of human downfall. There's no reason to think his friendship as a boy with Maleficent isn't genuine, even if the affection between two hormonal 16-year-olds isn't necessarily True Love. But by his willingness to sacrifice love for ambition, he becomes cruel, cold, and increasingly paranoid. He doesn't have to be a merciless sociopath to embrace ruthlessness. (He obviously thinks he's being merciful by "only" robbing Maleficent of her wings, but not merciful enough to spare her and lose his chance of gaining royal favor.) In the end, his being as cold and consumed by cruelty as Hans, without even the ability to fake external warmth, is all the worse because he wasn't always this way. This also makes Maleficent's eventually coming to cast off her own ruthlessness even more meaningful.
Maleficent silently declared herself queen of the Moors when she made herself a dark throne. It was shown that people were too afraid to say anything, and one assumes that they just got used to it eventually. At the end of the movie Aurora is crowned queen of both kingdoms, and all the fey folk rejoice. However, the initial voice-over states that the Moors needed no ruler, because the people there trusted each other. Now that Maleficent's good again, that should be the way of things again. Instead this shining example of peace and general goodness has been replaced by autocratic monarchy. No one complains because at least now the queen isn't an embittered fairy, but it's still a deep step down. (It should be noted that this wasn't the case in the original script; the Moors were already shown to have a King and Queen before Maleficent and Aurora. Part of the conflict was that it wasn't Maleficent's right to rule, and there was the implication that her declaring herself Queen was going against the wishes of the Moors itself. This was why she abdicated in the end.)
Food for thought: how much ruling did Maleficent really actually do as 'queen'? She was already leading the defense effort by virtue of being the strongest fairy there, and as seen during Aurora's scenes in the Moors, the other fairies were still going about their usual business all the same. The only real change that occured was crafting a throne, and that can be justified by the fact that her home in her tree at the cliff is not exactly practical without wings.
Meanwhile, as far as Aurora's crowning is concerned, she is already heir to the throne of the human kingdom, so the coronation in the Moors is largely just a way of saying "this is who we're dealing with now, instead of the mad king Stefan" where the fairies can see them. Additionally, although the two kingdoms are no longer at war, that does not automatically mean that men and fairies now trust one another; a queen to the Moors would help to avert any disasters, until such time as the two peoples do trust one another.
Also, I would call it Maleficent's way of symbolically making Aurora one of the Fae. Declaring her Queen of the Moors is her way of saying that "This girl is as a daughter to me, and is, from this day forward, one of our own."
Stefan's actions likely caused a huge blow to the kingdom's economy. Upon learning of the curse, he gathered, burned, and stored away every spinning wheel that could be found, and likely continued this practice to eliminate any new spinning wheels that popped up in the following sixteen years. That's one massive blow to the textile industry, which probably lead to significant imports to compensate. On top of that, it seems like he spared no expense in the acquisition and forging of iron, especially given the elaborate setup at the front gate. Even if the royal coffers covered the costs, that's both a blow to the treasury and a loss of valuable materials that could be used for other industries.
Helping this is the implication that Stefan used the We Have Reserves strategy when attacking the Moors. So...where was he pulling the reserves from? Most likely, farmers and other civilians who had no experience fighting. So not only was their textile production down, so was their food.
In which case, the increasingly gloomy atmosphere of the castle might not just be signs of Stefan's mental deterioration. After all, it's not as if he oversees the housekeeping staff himself! Instead, reduced revenues, combined with his obsessive spending on anti-Maleficent projects, could have resulted in an urgent need for more people to be diverted to other labor functions, and only minimal effort was going into the castle's general upkeep. Insane as he was, Stefan would scarcely notice, and the queen had died.
Aurora's curse. The original film had Maleficent curse her to die, only for Merryweather to soften it by changing the spell to eternal sleep (which True Love's Kiss would break). In this film, Maleficent curses Aurora to "a sleep like death," which is essentially the magical equivalent of a coma. But then consider this: Maleficent specified the curse would last until the end of time, so if Aurora was never awoken, what would happen to her? Would she stay in an ageless sleep like in the original, or would she sleep forever until her body finally started to decay? Note that the original fairy tale used the former option, but the film doesn't explicitly say what would happen to her, outside of sleeping forever.
The narrator (Aurora) referred to her aunties as pixies, then fairies the rest of the film. Well, what are they really?
The film appears to take "fairy" to mean any magical creature. This is pretty common in folklore, and similar examples exist all over the world (i.e. Scandinavian creatures are all classified under "troll," all Japanese creatures are called Youkai, etc.). Maleficent herself is referred to as a "winged elf" in a throwaway line. It's possible Aurora's aunts are pixies in the sense that that is the type of fairy they fall under (their small stature compared to Maleficent's human-sized proportions would be an indicator).