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YMMV / Maleficent

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Be warned, this page contains some unmarked spoilers, so tread carefully.

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The extent of Stefan's villainy is up for debate.
    • When he clipped Maleficent's wings, did he do it to make sure her life was spared, or did he do it just because he wanted to be crowned king but didn't have the nerve to kill her? Maybe it's a mix of both, but how much each purpose drove him is the driving question in all of this. His hesitance in killing her invites this debate.
    • He's much more evil in the novelization, where he murders King Henry after Henry laughs in his face for thinking that he could become king. However, there are also scenes that describe him feeling incredibly guilty about what he did to Maleficent and says that "he had only done what was necessary", and that if it had been any other man she would have been killed instead. Of course, he promptly subverts this in the final battle when he tells Maleficent he's "always regretted never killing [her] when he had the chance."
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    • The novelization also makes it clear that he was a cold and calculating bastard from the start, going so far as to let Maleficent think he had given back the only jewel he had, when really he was keeping an extra in his pocket.
    • He's shown to be upset when Aurora is asleep. The novelization has Knotgrass ponder if he's genuinely sad his daughter succumbed to her curse, or rather, if he is instead infuriated that Maleficent has won. The latter fuels the idea that he sees Aurora only as a pawn in his conflict.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Aurora seems pretty all right despite having both her parents dead by the film's end. ’May she be happy every day of her life’ might explain that, though, and she hardly knew them.
  • Ass Pull: The idea that fairy wings automatically reattach to their owner's body unless restrained from doing so isn't mentioned until this happens at the film's climax.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The menacing drum beats and vocalizing during Aurora's baptism.
    • The Spindle's Power Fast-paced and loud violins, slower chanting crescendo, heavy drum beats, trombone, cellos, French horn.
  • Critical Dissonance: While critics gave the film mixed reviews (it has a 54% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 56 out of 100 "mixed or average" score on Metacritic), audience reactions have been much more enthusiastic (70% on RT and an A on Cinema Score). It opened #1 at the box office with $69 million, and earned a total of $241 million domestically, and another $517 million overseas (more than double the domestic gross), for a total of $758 million worldwide.
  • Cry for the Devil: This film isn't just a Perspective Flip, it turns Maleficent's own role in the original story on its head and makes her as sympathetic as it can possibly get.
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  • Death of the Author: Linda Woolverton has stated that she still sees Philip and Aurora getting together in the near future. Most people who ship Aurora with someone else tend to ignore that.
  • Don't Shoot the Message: Even detractors of the movie would argue that themes of female empowerment, rape culture, the importance of finding one's own family, and the difference between fantasy and reality are worth exploring. But the film's heavy use of the Woman Scorned trope, Tall Poppy Syndrome for every character except Maleficent and the misaimed deconstructions undermine some of those messages.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Diaval. As seen here, "Only Disney can make you fall in love with a bird!"
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Maleficent was already this before this movie and many would argue that this movie made Maleficent an even sexier villainess than before. Especially with Angelina Jolie portraying her, as fanarts would often cite her as a perfect casting choice even before the movie was announced. Disney executives wanted to capitalize on Angelina Jolie's attractiveness for promoting the film, but she insisted on adhering to the character's menacing look.
    • Maleficent's raven sidekick is given an attractive human form too, though that's as much about giving her someone to have conversations with.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Though Aurora has Maybe Ever After with Phillip (and marries him in the sequel), she's most commonly shipped with Maleficent in fanworks.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Frozen fans, due to how both films have similar themes and are Fractured Fairy Tales. Some fans of Sleeping Beauty also don't mind the film, though they do make a point of stressing that it is an Alternate Continuity. And both have a sizeable LGBT Fanbase.
  • Gotta Ship 'Em All: Given that there are only four characters portrayed with any degree of sympathy, this is inevitable. Fan-favorite pairings include Maleficent/Aurora or Maleficent/Diaval. Either pairing tends to trigger Pair the Spares, leaving either Diaval/Phillip or Aurora/Philip, depending on whether your fancy is for het or slash pairings.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • One of the interviews on the film's Blu-Ray has Jolie mention an argument her kids had over whether or not Maleficent was evil. If anything, it can be seen as a microcosm of the fandom's Broken Base.
    • In Sleeping Beauty, Flora and Merryweather argued over whether Aurora's dress should be pink or blue. Most official media for that film portrays Aurora wearing pink. Then comes this film, and Aurora's main dress (the one she wears during the final battle) is blue.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Reviewers negative and positive about the film tend to agree that Angelina Jolie as Maleficent is the best thing about the film, and some viewers watch it only for her.
  • Les Yay: The relationship between Aurora and Maleficent is intended to be akin to a mother/daughter one but some interpret the narrative as a same-sex Mayfly–December Romance.
    • A post here observes that some of Maleficent's scenes (particularly concerning her interacting with Aurora) bear an uncanny resemblance to Phillip's scenes in the original.
    • A lot of people misattribute the film's cover of "Once Upon a Dream" to Angelina Jolie; though it is actually Lana Del Rey singing, the cover still gives the impression that Aurora's original love song about Phillip is now sung by Maleficent to Aurora.
  • LGBT Fanbase: The movie has one in regards to Aurora and Maleficent's relationship.
  • Misattributed Song: A lot of people are under the impression that it's Angelina Jolie singing the film's cover of "Once Upon a Dream". It's actually Lana Del Rey. That it sounds an awful lot like Jolie's Maleficent voice is probably intentional, and perhaps a veiled invocation of Non-Singing Voice, with the idea being that it is indeed Maleficent singing.
  • Moe: Aurora is indeed a darling girl who would guilelessly charm all who meet her. Along with Maleficent, the two form a nice Moe Couplet.
  • Moral Event Horizon: King Stefan's crimes:
    • He betrayed and mutilated Maleficent.
    • He hesitates quite a long time before begging for his daughter's life.
    • The novelization presents Stefan handing Maleficent's severed wings to King Henry, who is on his deathbed. Although Henry is impressed by Stefan's deed, he laughs at the notion of Stefan marrying his daughter and succeeding him (even though that's exactly what he promised to whoever could kill Maleficent) as Stefan is just a mere servant. Stefan's response to this is to calmly pick up a pillow and smother the weakened king. To cap things off, he forges Henry's seal after he dies, to make it seem like Henry actually did appoint him as his successor.
  • Narm: Even when she Used to Be a Sweet Kid, the fairy was named Maleficent - a name which literally means "evildoer".
  • No Yay:
    • The Les Yay between Aurora and Maleficent is squicky for those disturbed by their age gap, Maleficent's initial ill intentions, and implications of Wife Husbandry.
    • Just like the original film, Phillip tries to awaken Aurora with True Love's Kiss. However, at the time of filming, Brenton Thwaites would have been around twenty-three/twenty-four, whereas Elle Fanning would have been fifteen at the most. Makes his "are you freaking kidding me" reaction all the more amusing.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • This article points out that many of the alterations done to the story, while different from the original animated film, are in fact similar to older incarnations of the original fairy tale. It also argues that the film is more of a retelling of the fairy tale than Disney's own adaptation. Another post by the same person also points out how one of the main plot points — Maleficent's wings being stolen — comes off as a twisted version of the "Swan Maiden" stories that have variations all over the world.
    • Some viewers were under the impression that Maleficent was made into a fairy specifically for this film; even Linda Woolverton was under the impression that Maleficent was a simple witch. It was after researching the original fairy tale that she realized it was a fairy, not a witch, who cursed the princess. This did, however, lead to her wondering where Maleficent's wings went...
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: The major ships are Maleval for Maleficent/Diaval, Malora for Maleficent/Aurora, and Diavora for Aurora/Diaval.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Aurora is a very popular princess with Disney fans, but that is mainly because she is a shining example of a Princess Classic even amongst the other Disney Princess characters. Personality-wise, many Disney enthusiasts pass her over for being seen as a "boring" Flat Character. Aurora's depiction in the live-action reboot has much more of a clear personality than she did in the original Sleeping Beauty adaptation, leading to Aurora gaining a lot of fans. In fact, some people who hate the film claim that Aurora's characterization is the best thing about it.
  • The Scrappy:
    • The three Fairies aren't very much liked: they've all taken a level in dumbass and are generally careless and obnoxious.
    • Stefan has few fans and is sometimes called the worst aspect of the movie as a whole. Fans of Sleeping Beauty that like this film aren't happy about the character's Adaptational Villainy; some don't believe his change from a good kid with bad influences to an evil villain; some hate him for what he's done to Maleficent; some find Sharlto Copley's performance unsubtle and unpleasant.
  • Ship Mates: Those who ship Maleficent with Diaval usually also pair Aurora with Phillip, removing "maybe" from Maybe Ever After.From the sequel... 
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: There's a very slight one between the three major ships: Aurora/Diaval, Maleficent/Aurora, and Maleficent/Diaval.
  • Special Effects Failure: The Pixies are hit hard by Uncanny Valley, and the various innocent fairy creatures stick out like sore thumbs. Somehow, by contrast, Maleficent's magic, the living trees under her orders and Diaval's various forms have the best special effects.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: The film could be seen as the Disney version of Wicked only set in the Moors Kingdom and with Maleficient as the protagonist in place of Oz and the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: A number of liberties Maleficent takes with the animated classic is not welcome by the audience.
    • Maleficent being written to be an Anti-Villain with a tragic backstory and is eventually redeemed because of her love for Aurora. Some viewers take this as degrading one of the most powerful and independent female characters in the Disney canon by making her villainy a result of a man mistreating her, then making her maternal feelings her saving grace. Then, some argue that Maleficent is too evil to ever make her sympathetic, and some find her not as cool as in Sleeping Beauty. Part of the appeal of Maleficent was that she was petty and vain, so her becoming a Tragic Villain takes away that aspect of her character. Also, her iconic dragon form is given to her raven instead.
    • Maleficent's Adaptational Heroism and Stefan's Adaptational Villainy are decried as a canon version of Draco in Leather Pants and Ron the Death Eater.
    • The three good fairies that are vital in Aurora's salvation and Maleficent's worst nightmare in Sleeping Beauty become bumbling and incompetent here, and their names are changed, too. Some view the name change positively since it furthers the notion that they are not the same characters from the animated film.
    • In the animated film, Aurora is one of four Disney Princessesnote  to have both her parents alive, and they are a Happily Married Ruling Couple; in the adaptation, King Stefan goes insane and dies at the end, and Queen Leila, his trophy wife, dies off-screen.
  • They Copied It, Now It Sucks: Many of the people that dislike this film feel that it took too many liberties from Wicked.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: It could have made for an interesting conflict if Queen Leila found out about Stefan and Maleficent's history or discovered that her daughter has grown close to the very woman who condemned her to death. Instead, she just dies off-screen.
  • Ugly Cute: The mud-throwing trolls in the Moors.
  • Uncanny Valley: The fairies just look off when they aren't using their human forms. At least part of it is that they have childlike proportions in fairy form (large heads with relatively small bodies), but they're also clearly animated.
  • Unfortunate Implications: The film has been criticized as turning one of the most powerful female characters (albeit evil) in the Disney canon into a lesser version whose story arc is mostly centered on Aurora, with the sequel perceived as only making this worse.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: It's got a PG-rating in the US, despite having some genuinely dark imagery (the Battle of the Moors, for example), and some pretty grim themes (rape metaphor, anyone?). It also received merchandise geared to girls, including dolls both before and after getting her wings cut off. Given that this is a Disney film it was a given. Even more it was THIS version of Maleficent that was featured in the Disney Infinity line as a way to tie in to the movie.
  • What the Hell, Costuming Department?:
    • At the climax of the movie, Maleficent loses her iconic black robe and wears a nearly skintight black catsuit. A Spy Catsuit in a medieval Sword & Sorcery film.
    • Phillip's hairstyle looks more like a late 2000s surfer dude than a prince in Medieval Europe.
  • The Woobie: Aurora. An innocent, young girl caught in the crossfire of Maleficent and Stefan's feud. Raised without knowing who she really is, or even about the curse placed on her, and learning about said curse breaks her. Even more so if one reads the novelizations, which add more information about her thoughts as the story progresses.


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