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Angelina Jolie’s evil queen MALEFICENT gets an official release date

Rachel Fox

by:
April 10th, 2012

Angelina Jolie is going to do some serious damage to her sainted status when she (finally) unleashes her villainous side in the role of evil Queen Maleficent in Disney's live-action re-telling of classic fairytale "Sleeping Beauty" on March 14, 2014.

According to The Walt Disney Studios, the film "explores the origins of the evil fairy Maleficent and what led her to curse Princess Aurora" as a chronic narcoleptic whose only reliable cure involves a Prince (charming, I'm sure) on a white horse, tasked with overcoming demonic obstacles before fulfilling his mission of waking her up. Besides the hand-wringing, anticipatory glee felt by many at the mere thought of Jolie getting nasty as a vengeful queen, the film boasts noted production designer Robert Stromberg (AVATAR, ALICE IN WONDERLAND), directing a script by Linda Woolverton (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE LION KING).

Like Julia Robert's recent turn as an evil (vain) queen in MIRROR MIRROR and Charlize Theron's upcoming take on the same character in SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMEN, there is a serious trend here of accomplished, beautiful (and Oscar-winning) women getting cruel for kicks in "updated" fairytale re-tellings.

It's also important to note the undercurrent of some kind of "feminist" approach with these classic tales. Catherine Hardwicke's RED RIDING HOOD tried desperately to incorporate a female-positive take in a film that, though beautiful to look at, was nothing short of a bitter disappointment. Both MIRROR MIRROR and the upcoming SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMEN offer Princess-y heroines (Lily Collins, Kristen Stewart) who reclaim their autonomy over their respective, oppressive queens themselves; Princess Aurora is rendered impotent as a sleeping beauty, her freedom dependent upon He Who Will Save Her. In this particular fairy story the "battle" is squarely, inescapably between the Queen and the Prince. Exploring Maleficent's origins as more than just purely "evil" may prove enlightening inasmuch as an explanation of those personal demons may render her sympathetic to an audience looking to feel a heretofore unexplored, nuanced level of compassion. A big-screen fresh take on the classic caricature of "evil queen" as something deeper ("complex, tortured soul") is, perhaps, its own kind of empowerment.

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