I hadn’t really known what to expect from this film. We all know Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, and remember the iconic villain that is Maleficent. To revisit any fairy tale with the villain as the protagonist is quite the daring thing to do. Fairy tales are stories that teach us about good and evil, pushing us towards good by making it clear and easy for the reader to identify themselves to the hero (see previous posts). Therefore, vouching for the villain is a concept seemingly impossible to adapt to a fairy tale. But I found that the film worked very well, with a protagonist, much more complex than the character we have seen in disney’s 1959 animation. The story, albeit completely different from previous versions of the fairy tale (both Perrault and Disney’s first versions) is original and well-woven. However, I wouldn’t have seen it possible to adapt to anything other than the fantasy genre. It is quite the enchanting movie, with beautiful landscapes and magical characters, all designed meticulously. It follows the trend with a setting similar to that of Oz, The Great and Powerful, or even Alice in Wonderland. And the characters, like in all the recent films, are also modernized with well defined personalities. I would love to see the concept art for this film.
Contrary to what the trailer had led to believe, the story is not a dark twisted version of the tale. It’s a more realistic take with an interesting character study. I guess the heavy use of special effects might be unpopular amongst people who criticize this a lot nowadays, but fantasy is about escapism, and special effects help to reach it. Because the story is completely different from the original, it might also be a problem to some; but as a movie that revisits the tale of Sleeping Beauty, I personally believe it is successful.